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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 19, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...

By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2013 10:05am PT  

Wow. As recorded on board the International Space Station by Commander Chris Hadfield who is scheduled to return to earth later today in a Soyuz capsule. Totally worth a view. It's only Monday, but I suspect this may be the best thing that happens all week...Maybe all year...

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Not that Republicans or, especially, Democrats seem to care...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2013 7:35am PT  

The BRAD BLOG has long detailed the dangers of Vote-by-Mail and absentee balloting, describing the practice as "terrible for democracy," for a number of reasons. Among those reasons are the ease by which absentee ballots can be undetectably gamed, bought or sold, used for intimidation ("Show me that you voted this particular way or you will be fired/beaten, etc.") or otherwise lost in the mail, never added to the optically-scanned computer tally, etc., just to name a few.

Usually when we point these matters out, we'll get some amount of push back, most notably from someone from Oregon, where many voters love their all Vote-by-Mail elections (despite all the dangers, as demonstrated once again by the recent stories out of the state where, in one, a man was convicted of fraud after offering $20 for blank, unvoted ballots prior to the 2012 election, and another where an election official was charged with fraud after it was discovered she was filling in unvoted races in favor of Republicans while processing incoming mailed ballots.)

We'll also get push back, in such cases, from partisans (usually Democrats in heavily "blue" jurisdictions, but also, occasionally from Republicans in heavily "red" jurisdictions) who argue that Vote-by-Mail increases turnout, therefore it is good for democracy, despite all of those dangers which they marginalize as being greatly exaggerated.

We most recently saw this dynamic play out in Colorado, where, as we reported in some detail last week, a sweeping election reform bill is moving through the Democratically-controlled legislature and is likely to land on the Democratic Governor's desk very soon. The ambitious bill does a number of very good things, such as allow voter registration up until the day of the election, and offers other reasonable improvements to elections in the state and voters' accessibility to them. On the other hand, the legislation also would send an absentee/Vote-by-Mail ballot to every single registered voter in the state, whether they actually wanted one or not.

In opposing the bill, Colorado Republicans foolishly focused on the possibility of "voter fraud" via the enhanced voter registration provisions in the bill, which --- though it was crafted in part by the state election clerks' association (which has a majority Republican representation) --- was passed in the legislature along party lines.

What the Republicans failed to highlight --- but certainly should have --- in their attempts to try and defeat the bill, is the massive fraud capacity presented by the insane idea of sending a blank, unvoted absentee ballot to every single voter in the state.

The following news out of Los Angeles this week underscores, yet again, how that sort of thing is an absolute recipe for election fraud disaster...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2013 6:05am PT  

From William Happer and Harrison Schmitt at the once-but-no-longer respectable newspaper known as the Wall Street Journal...

Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.
...
For most plants, and for the animals and humans that use them, more carbon dioxide, far from being a "pollutant" in need of reduction, would be a benefit.
...
Nowadays, in an age of rising population and scarcities of food and water in some regions, it's a wonder that humanitarians aren't clamoring for more atmospheric carbon dioxide. Instead, some are denouncing it.

If you have no idea why the nonsense above --- beloved by the fossil-fuel industry, assuredly, but embarrassingly shameful when offered in an op-ed by the WSJ --- is "dangerously wrong," as Phil Plait at Slate describes it, see his response to it, which begins like this...

I see a lot of pretty amazingly bad global warming denial online. It ranges from mildly cherry-picked data to such baldly transparent garbage that you have to wonder if the person who wrote it can possibly, actually believe what they are saying is true.

After reading dozens, hundreds, of such mind-numbing articles, I think we’ve found a winner. One that is so sweepingly wrong and based on such a ridiculous premise that it’s weapons-grade denial.

Plait's response is worth reading in full if you are unclear on any aspect of the issues here about which the WSJ --- now owned by Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp --- is hoping to hoax you in support of doing nothing to fight climate change. But this particular passage of his is particularly on point: "They claim that CO2 is just a natural and 'harmless byproduct of nature', which is bonkers; try living on Venus to see why."

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By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2013 8:48pm PT  

As posted by NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, which explains the above as follows:

What are these humans doing? Dancing. Many humans on Earth exhibit periods of happiness, and one method of displaying happiness is dancing. Happiness and dancing transcend political boundaries and occur in practically every human society. Above, Matt Harding traveled through many nations on Earth, planned on dancing, and filmed the result. The above video, the latest in a series of similar videos, is perhaps a dramatic example that humans from all over planet Earth feel a common bond as part of a single species. Happiness is frequently contagious --- few people are able to watch the above video without smiling.

[Hat-tip and Happy Mothers Day to BRAD BLOG reader CA.]

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By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2013 4:29pm PT  

Earlier this year, The BRAD BLOG offered an exclusive exposé on how one Registrar of Voters in Fresno County, CA almost single-handedly put a stop to the attempted statewide post-election hand-count of last November's failed Prop 37 (the ballot initiative which, if it had prevailed, would have required Genetically Modified Foods to be labeled as such when sold on store shelves.)

The count was stopped by the outrageous, seemingly arbitrary, and almost certainly illegal cost being charged for the hand-count, as solely determined by Fresno County's Registrar Brandi Orth. (She was attempting to charge some $4,000/day to hand count ballots in her county, versus $600/day in Orange County and $500/day in Sierra County, where the Prop 37 proponents had already been able to successfully hand-count ballots in their attempt to authenticate the computer-reported results in those counties.)

At the time, we pointed out the need for standardized pricing for such post-election counts in California (and anywhere else where that is not already the practice) in order to keep Registrar's from inappropriately using, or appearing to use, their extraordinary power to block such post-election initiatives with the arbitrary pricing for "recounts".

A few weeks later, we highlighted another case where a post-election contest in California was called off, this time a race for Mayor in Stanislaus County's town of Riverbank, when the Registrar there had been charging what amounted to some $2,000 an hour to the candidate who was reported by the computer count to have lost her election by just 53 votes.

Now, Bev Harris of Black Box Voting offers an interesting, amusing, and maddening short tale that dovetails with both of those stories: An election itself that seems to have been blocked --- one that would have determined the balance of power on the Riverbank City Council (the very same city where the Mayoral hand-count was recently called off) --- because the price being charged to the City Council by the Stanislaus County Registrar (the very same Registrar who was charging the candidate $2,000/hour for the Mayoral "recount" there), was exorbitant, and, once accepted anyway, was a day late for the state deadline, according to the County.

"Stanislaus County first quoted the ridiculous fee to hold the election," Harris told me, "and when Riverbank agreed to move ahead, Stanislaus County then said it was too late to do so, by one day." In this case, keeping the City Council from holding their election at all, had they not found a workaround (in this case, contracting a private firm to hold the election, rather than relying on the County, and hand-counting the single race election, rather than computer-tallying it), would have had serious political repercussions for the town.

See Bev's story for the full details, on what the City Council in the 4 square mile town has decided to do in order to fill their vacant seat to end an existing 2-2 deadlock on the Council --- and how the entire matter might well be blamed on the town's White boys...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2013 6:17pm PT  

This pretend "scandal" is still going on, still makes no sense, and is still no less stupid now than it was last year when the Republican Party foolishly thought it would somehow be their key to winning the White House.

If you've been trying to make sense of this still pretend "scandal", this is just about the best explanation of it that I've seen to date. Please proceed, Mr. Stewart...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2013 10:34pm PT  

It might be funny, but for the fact that beating back the Internet Voting virus --- even here in California, where it is Democrats who are being dumb enough to push for it, despite warnings from virtually every world-class computer scientist and security expert in the world that it's an insane, non-solvable idea --- but it appears that voting for NBC's show The Voice may have been hacked this week.

According to a statement from NBC tonight:

On this week’s episodes of The Voice, we encountered issues with the systems used for online and SMS [text] voting. We are addressing both issues, and in an abundance of caution are not counting the votes that may have been affected. Telescope, the independent company that administers voting for the show, has certified that removing those votes does not affect the outcome for any team.

Here is how Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org just described what happened at the top of tonight's show in an email to a group of Election Integrity folks...

The host for TV show "The Voice" began the show tonight with "in the interest of full disclosure..." and explained that due to "irregularities" in the online vote this week, all Internet and text votes had to be discarded. "But it didn't affect the result," he assures us.

In other words: Hacked.

Can we really afford to discard millions of votes in a presidential election if there are "irregularities"?

Whenever there is an e-voting failure, corporate mainstream media tends to downplay it as little more than a "glitch", "hiccup", "snag", or "snafu". So far tonight, they haven't disappointed in their gentle descriptions of the failure that seems to have struck The Voice's voting procedures...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2013 9:23pm PT  

Today on the KPFK/Pacifica BradCast:

My take on what happened in the 100% unverifiable Mark Sanford "victory" over Elizabeth Colbert Busch in South Carolina's Special Election for the U.S. House on Tuesday; How the media are pulling "an Iraq" all over again on the supposed use of chemical weapons in Syria; a bunch of great callers (including one who completely disagrees with me on Internet Voting); Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report; and all of the Jodi Arias and Benghazi news you will ever need!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2013 6:05am PT  

Not for nothing, but this article is number 10,000 at The BRAD BLOG. That's right, we've now filed some 10,000 items on these pages since January of 2004, as our 10th year of investigative journalism, blogging, trouble-making and muckraking continues. (I say "some 10,000" because there are certainly several score or more over the years that never got published for one reason or another.)

I had been planning to run another mini-fundraiser of late, to try and add some fumes to our bone dry gas tank, so today's 10k landmark seems as good a reason as any.

My plan: if we can just raise $2 for each blog item we've run over the past ten years, that should keep us in pretty good stead through the end of the year! Given our history of fundraisers, however, I suspect we'll be able to raise the tiniest fraction of that at best, and I'll have to bother you all again in the near future. That's what happens without corporate money, foundational money or political partisan money. I hope you understand.

So, for now, if you're able to spare $2 or $20 or $200 for the tip-jar, to help support what we've done during almost 10 years and 10,000 articles, I would very much welcome it!

You can contribute with either a credit card or PayPal at the link above (and below). Alternately, snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" is always very welcome and much-need too.





Alternately, if you are able, monthly sustaining subscriptions of any amount are very much appreciated and quick and easy to create, via credit card or PayPal, as you prefer, to help keep us alive year round! (For amounts other than those in the drop-down box below, please see the form in the light blue box mid-way down our right sidebar where you can specify any number you wish!)


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My thanks for whatever support you can offer. And now on to 10,001...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2013 6:54pm PT  

Just after the March primaries for the U.S. House Special Election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, the race between Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch (Stephen Colbert's sister) and disgraced former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford was said to be "a toss-up", according to surveys by Public Policy Polling (PPP), one of the most accurate polling firms across the entire country during the 2012 President Election cycle. They had Colbert Busch up by 2 points over Sanford in that early pre-election poll.

Just over two weeks ago, as news broke that Sanford was due to appear in court after his ex-wife claimed he had been caught trespassing at her home, PPP found that Colbert Busch's lead had expanded to 9 points in the race.

Over the weekend, in their final polling, PPP found the gap had closed, and Sanford was leading by 1 point in a race they described, one again, as "a toss-up".

Tonight, South Carolina's same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems that declared the unknown, unemployed, never-once-campaigned-anywhere Alvin Green to have somehow defeated four-term state legislator and circuit court judge Vic Rawl to win the 2010 Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, declared Mark Sanford the winner over Elizabeth Colbert Busch by a 9 point landslide...

The unverified and unverifiable computer-reported results tonight led PPP's Tom Jensen to tweet: "I feel bad about our SC-1 polling, I'd feel worse if there had been any indication from any other polling that Sanford landslide was coming".

Neither Jensen nor PPP should feel bad. There was no more indication that a "landslide was coming", than there is proof tonight that it actually came.

We explained last month, in detail, why the votes cast in this race on SC's oft-failed, easily-manipulated ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system would be 100% unverifiable. As Vic Rawl, a Colbert Busch supporter and the man who inexplicably "lost" to Alvin Green told us at the time, no matter what the results would be tonight, no matter how inexplicable they might be, "the fact is, there's not a darn thing that anybody can do about it."

While it's completely possible that PPP's pre-election numbers were entirely wrong, or that the disgraced Sanford legitimately, somehow, achieved an 18 point turnaround in just two weeks, the voters of SC will never know one way or another if he did or didn't. Once again, we have another 100% unverifiable faith-based election in the world's once-greatest democracy.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Computers, not voters, to determine results of 'toss up' race...
By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2013 3:32pm PT  

At the beginning of last month, The BRAD BLOG explained in detail why it was that, no matter who South Carolina's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems declare to be the winner of tomorrow's special election for the U.S. House, there is virtually nothing that either supporters of Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) or of former Gov. Mark Sanford (R), can do about it.

If there are questions about the results, too bad. The state of SC doesn't care. They don't want citizens to be able to oversee their own elections. The results will be 100% unverifiable as determined in secret by computers --- at least for those votes cast on election day at the polls, versus those cast on paper via absentee ballots.

The voting systems in use on Tuesday, as we noted in our previous article, will be the same ones which inexplicably declared the unknown, unemployed, non-campaigning Alvin Greene to be the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate over the veteran state legislator and former circuit court judge Vic Rawl back in 2010. That race shouldn't have even been close. It was thought to be Rawl's in a rout, prior to the results being announced by the computer voting systems, which had a different idea.

Tomorrow's election, however, despite the 1st Congressional District having gone for Romney over Obama in a big way in 2012, is believed to be very close, according to pre-election polls.

When we wrote our April article, Colbert Busch (Stephen Colbert's sister) was seen to be barely leading the disgraced Sanford, in what was described by Public Policy Polling (PPP) as "a toss up" at the time...

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

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UPDATES: U.N. Commission urges caution on findings; 42 Syrian troops reportedly dead, 100+ missing after weekend air strikes by Israel; U.S. media urge intervention...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2013 7:33pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

So, wait. It wasn't the Syrian regime, but rather the Syrian rebels who used sarin nerve gas recently? That's the story being reported tonight by Reuters, from actually named sources among U.N. investigators. But will anybody notice? Or, with Israeli airstrikes already under way, and the neo-cons already demanding another new war, is the news too little, too late...again?

The week before last, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, reading from a letter sent by the White House to Congress, announced that the Administration believes that the Syrian government recently used chemical weapons against its own people. If true, it would be a move which President Obama had previously described as a "red line" and a "game changer" in the Administration's policy on the two-year old civil war still raging in that country.

Hagel's statement was somewhat measured [emphasis added]: "Our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin."

A few days later, during a Presidential press conference, Obama himself was also measured, even back-tracking somewhat on the claim that it was "the Syrian regime" which used the chemical weapon, as Hagel had initially announced, setting off "Breaking News!" tweets around the globe.

"What we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them. We don't have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened," the President said, seemingly responsibly. "And when I am making decisions about America’s national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts."

He went on to decry "rushing to judgement without hard, effective evidence," that he planned to work with "neighboring countries to...establish a clear baseline of facts", and that he had "called on the United Nations to investigate."

But the war genie was already out of the bottle. At least for many in both the corporate media and the neo-con Right...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2013 11:55am PT  

These guys recently called me "a gatekeeper". That's not fair. I run these messages because they are important, not because The Empire tells me to. That part is just incidental.

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GOP right to be concerned, just not for the reasons they claim
Wrong and Wronger: Bill pits former, currrent GOP Sec of State's against each other...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2013 4:41pm PT  

An ambitious election reform bill supported by state Democrats and the Colorado County Clerks Association, which is largely made up of Republicans, will soon land on the desk of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, despite the objections of Republican lawmakers and the state's extraordinarily partisan Republican Sec. of State.

The bill has now been approved by both chambers of the Colorado legislature --- along party lines in each --- but must be approved again in the House due to "technical" amendments from the Senate. But while it may be too late, partisans and lawmakers would have been wise to look carefully before leaping in support of this bill which offers both excellent reforms and reasons to be very concerned about one of its central provisions.

John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent offered a detailed report earlier this week on the major concerns and somewhat confusing partisan divides on both sides of this particular piece of legislation.

There's a lot of good, long-overdue provisions in the sweeping, 126-page bill [PDF] (mercifully summarized on pages 2 through 4). The key provisions --- and main points of contention --- are summarized this way by Tomasic:

House Bill 1303 seeks to expand voter participation mainly by establishing a system that includes same-day registration up to Election Day and that mails ballots to all eligible voters in the state. Under the proposed law, voters would choose whether to mail their ballots back to the clerks, drop them off at early voting centers or fill them out at the polls on Election Day.

Tomasic goes on to explain that the bill, dubbed "The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act", is sponsored by Democrats in both the CO House and Senate, but it's "based on a plan approved by a large bipartisan majority of clerks who run the state’s elections county to county. The Colorado County Clerks Association reports that 75 percent of the 64 clerks in the state support the bill. The Association is anything but a left-wing cabal: At least 44 of the clerks, some 70 percent, are Republican officeholders."

The politics on this one may be understandably confusing to some --- particularly with a former Republican Sec. of State favoring the bill, and the current Republican Sec. of State ardently opposing it --- but the professed concerns of the latter (that the expanded registration provisions will lead to "voter fraud") are largely nonsense. While the advocacy of the former (pushing broad expansion of vote-by-mail ballots to every voter in the state) ignores very real fraud concerns...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2013 4:55pm PT  

As we noted last week was likely to be the case, when the entire Republican state Senate GOP caucus came on board in support, today marriage equality became the law of the land in Rhode Island.

We'll let Fox "News" tell you about it, since it surely pains them to do so.

RI becomes the 10th state in the union to allow gay couples to enjoy the same constitutionally-protected equal rights to marriage as everyone else.

Our condolences to all of the straight couples in those states who have had their marriages destroyed because of it.

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