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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Critical Mass:
'BradCast' 10/12/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler discusses the tragic, U.S. gun epidemic with author Cliff Schecter and the 'Populist Candidate Scorecard' with CAF's Robert Borosage...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Feeling Safer' Edition
This week's collection of the week's best toons is grim and often gruesome...From the new outbreaks of gun violence to disaster's in Syria, Afghanistan and the U.S. House...
GOP's U.S. House Soap Opera & Enough w/ the Shootings!: 'BradCast' 10/9/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler welcomes Huffington Post's Ryan Grim and Australia's former Dep. Prime Minister Tim Fischer...
Caught on Tape: FL GOP's Race-Based Scheme To Dilute Minority Representation
State Rep is heard revealing plot to oust black U.S. Congresswoman with gerrymandering scheme, as a somewhat related landmark U.S. Supreme Court hearing looms...
Speaker Interrupted: 'BradCast' 10/8/15
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) joins guest host Nicole Sandler to discuss stunning turns of events in GOP plan to replace Boehner; Also: Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler on U.S. bombing of hospitcal in Afghanistan...
'Green News Report' 10/8/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Sen. Graham wants aid for SC flooding, voted against it for Hurricane Sandy!; Enviros slam TPP; New pesticide rules; Fracking waste; PLUS: Obama creates new sanctuaries...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 10/6/15 - Archives...
Shredding the NRA's 'Good Guy With a Gun' Myth:
'BradCast' 10/7/15
The Nation's Joshua Holland explains why combat vets laugh at the ridiculous lie. Also: GOP Rep. who defunded gun research regrets it; Boehner could stay Speaker; and more!...
Electric BUG-Aloo: How VW Can Save Itself and the World: 'BradCast' 10/6/15
Author Steve LaVine on e-cars and our battery-powered near-future; ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham's short memory; GOP bum fight for U.S. House Speaker; and Jeb's 'death rattle'...
'Green News Report' 10/6/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record rain, flooding in South Carolina -- is this the new normal?; India will cut its carbon emissions; PLUS: EPA announces new ozone rules to cut dangerous air pollution...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 9/29/15 - Archives...
'New Normal': Climate Change and SC's '1000-Year Flood': 'BradCast' 10/5/15
Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann joins us to discuss that and much more. Plus: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Making Sense' Edition
A grim week in the Toons, though 'PDiddie' manages to find a few laughs in his latest curated collection of the week's best...
AL Shuts Down Photo ID Offices; IA Blocks Former Felons: 'BradCast' 10/1/15
With ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein; PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
'Green News Report' 10/1/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jeb wants more oil and gas in US; Alberta, home of tar sands oil, wants to phase it out; New standards for refineries; PLUS: Tesla unveils world's first all-electric SUV...
Previous GNRs: 9/29/15 - 9/24/15 - Archives...
Hand-Counting Paper Ballots in Columbia County, NY: 'BradCast' 9/29/15
Guests: Both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners of Columbia County! Plus: Rush on Mars; MSNBC snubs Bernie...
'Green News Report' 9/29/15
China to launch cap and trade system; Pope calls for UN climate treaty; Report: World can move to 100% renewables in just 35 years; PLUS: Shell quits the Arctic...
Exxon Knew All Along: 'BradCast' 9/28/15
Neela Banerjee on Exxon's long knowledge of global warming and their efforts to obscure it. Also: Shell quits the Arctic; NASA's big discovery; Obama, Putin at U.N....
Sunday Toons: 'Political Climate Change'
PDiddie's latest curated collection of an explosive week in political toonery...
Bye, Bye, Boehner; Hello (Again), Florida Vote Suppression: 'BradCast' 9/25/15
And many other breaking world affairs at the end of an insanely busy news week...
Sanders' Three-Phase 'Political Revolution'
Ernest Canning on Bernie's battle for the 2016 Dem nomination, what happens if he receives it, and how he'd be able to govern as President of the United States...
The Pope & the Dopes - Francis Goes to Congress: 'BradCast' 9/24/15
Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network...
'Green News Report' 9/24/15
Pope delivers climate change message in D.C.; 11 House GOPers call for climate action; Big biz pledges to go renewable; PLUS: Hillary finally announces KXL position...
Pope Francis and the GOP! VW and the Voting Scam!: 'BradCast' 9/23/15
Plus a bunch of callers on all of the above (some quite amusing) and much more!...
Walker's Failed Campaign; Fuller's Serial Spousal Abuse: 'BradCast' 9/22/15
Guest: WI native John Nichols of The Nation. PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position Keystone XL!...
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
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

Killing of Women and Children Spurs Anti-American Protests
By David Edwards on 1/14/2006 9:43am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

A U.S. air strike in Pakistan targeted the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. The attack destroyed 3 houses in small village near the Pakistan border. 18 people, including women and children were also killed.

Pakistan officials and other sources are reporting that al-Zawahri was not killed in the attack as previously thought.

Pakistan condemned the air strike because of the loss of civilian lives. Today, hundreds of people in Pakistan protested the U.S. action.

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Voting Machine Company Betrays Agreement with Election Director Ion Sancho Just Days Prior to Jan 1 HAVA Deadline!
Is ES&S Paying Back for Their Evil Twin Company, Diebold? Are They Afraid of the Same Scrutiny Those Machine Received in Leon County? Another Sunshine State Mystery Unfolds...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2006 6:26pm PT  

Additional Reporting by John Gideon

Are the voting machine vendors now teaming up against an election official who dared reveal the vulnerabilities of their voting machines?

As you'll recall, Ion Sancho, Leon County, Florida's courageous Supervisor of Elections stood up against both the state and Diebold and said that he would never again use Diebold's voting equipment after he allowed for a test which demonstrated their election equipment was easily hackable. The results revealed an electronic optical-scan election on Diebold equipment could be flipped without a trace being left behind.

After dumping Diebold, Sancho made a deal to buy machines instead from Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) on the promise that they would supply their optical scan machines for use along with the AutoMARK system which prints a countable paper ballot. AutoMARK has an agreement to allow ES&S exclusive marketing rights for their machines.

But a strange thing happened after Sancho's agreement with ES&S and just prior to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) deadline on January 1, 2006. As reported by Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition, a voice-mail message was left on Sancho's cell-phone on December 29, 2005 by Gary Crump, ES&S Chief Operating Officer. Crump was calling to inform Sancho that the company had decided to deal only with long-time customers due to equipment deadline considerations. Pynchon says that statement is "patently untrue, since ES&S went ahead and contracted with Volusia County, Florida after agreeing to sell to Leon County."

Pynchon goes on to offer some possible reasons for this odd betrayal and what the Leon County Manager had to say about it:

Since the reason given by ES&S for refusing to do business with Sancho is not valid, what could the real reason be? Is it retribution for exposing the vulnerabilities of the Diebold optical scan system. Is it collusion on the part of Diebold and ES&S? Or is ES&S simply afraid that Sancho might authorize similar "tests" on its equipment, exposing vulnerabilities in the ES&S voting system?

When Sancho explained to the Leon County Manager about the events that had transpired, the county manager responded that he is 100% supportive of Sancho's efforts to fight for paper-based verified voting systems, and urged Sancho not to succumb to intimidation by voting system vendors.

So what the hell is going on here? Black Box Voting has still more details in the bizarre on the story, though we're still left wondering what the real skinny is on this one!

If we can learn anything more, you'll be the first to know.

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By John Gideon on 1/13/2006 5:15pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of and VoteTrustUSA.Org

In Arizona there has been a quiet (media nearly silent) battle about the Precinct 20 vote in last November's election. There may have been election fraud, machine mistakes, procedure mistakes, or no problems at all. Doug Jones, UofIowa, was asked by a state senator and a local newspaper to look at everything that he could look at and then report back. His report is an amazing read. In New Mexico Governor Richardson and the SoS are now fully in favor of a vvpat. It's amazing what a lawsuit can do to frame your thinking. And in Florida, ES&S has turned on Leon County and refuses to sell their equipment to the county. Those of you who have responded to the Action Alert from VoteTrustUSA have sent 15,372 emails to the EAC along with 1890 letters demanding the ITA be made to do their job....

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By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2006 1:17pm PT  

We're shocked --- shocked! --- to learn that Bush was actually using illegal wiretaps on American citizens prior to 9/11.

Jason Liepold has the skinny at TruthOut:

The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.

The NSA's vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.

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Who is PRI? Are They the Latest Incarnation of the ACVR? And Just Who Do They Think They're Messing with by Attacking the Pro-Democracy Movement with Easily Discredited Info-ganda?
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2006 12:46pm PT  

It looks like the Rightwing may have found a replacement for the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), the GOP front group set up to smokescreen against true election reform and transparent democracy. The ACVR has been mighty quiet of late, which we might like to attribute to their having been thoroughly discredited and rendered mostly impotent due to some longterm, airtight, crack reporting here by The BRAD BLOG about their attempted democracy-hating scam.

But now, a West Coast "non-partisan" conservative think-tank called Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRI) may be stepping in to fill at least part of the void in the person of TechNews World columnist and PRI Director of Technology Studies, Sonia Arrison. Arrison has been op/ed'ing and releasing "white papers" lately rallying against voter-verified paper ballots for electronic voting machines. Her reasons for being against transparent democracy are both bizarre and seem freshly pulled out of her hind quarters (or out of those of Diebold's).

We'll look at some of her already-discredited charges in a moment, but let's take a look at this PRI group. Their staff seems to be a who's-who of Canadians, staffers of former-California Governor Pete Wilson, former staffers of Tom DeLay ally Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), and other "conservative" "thinkers".

PRI seems to be little more than yet another dirty dot in the massive now-metastasized matrix of "conservative" think-tanks, phony trade-associations, lobbying firms, consultants, columnists, politicians, "reporters" and other media pimps who are part of a wickedly tentacled network of people and organizations meant to prop up wingnut causes in the press while firing up the unquestioning, lockstep "grass-roots" believers...

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'The Exterminator' Successfully Squashes TV Spots Charging Corruption That Apparently Bugged Him
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2006 6:57pm PT  

As we reported yesterday, indicted former House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R-TX) had threatened television stations with litigation if they dared to air a 30-second spot exposing his corruption and calling for him to resign.

According to House Chronicle today, it looks like at least four Houston stations (DeLay's home district), have rolled over for the once-powerful (and apparently still powerful) Republican pol:

The four Houston television stations that sold airtime for a commercial criticizing U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay refused to air it Wednesday after objections from a DeLay lawyer, but the ad was accessible on cable channels and the Internet.

The stations offered little or no rationale for their decisions, nor would they comment on whether the letter from DeLay campaign lawyer Don McGahn influenced them.

The ads, one for TV concerning DeLay, another for radio about the soon-to-be-indicted Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) were created by Campaign for America's Future. They can be seen and heard right here.

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By John Gideon on 1/12/2006 5:15pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Today has been a very busy day as you can see from the length of this list. It was announced that the lawsuit in New Mexico is being joined by 6 more plaintiffs and then the Governor announced that he wants to do away with all of the paperless DREs and move to optical-scan only. Boulder Co., Colorado decided to scrap their plans to purchase new voting machines because there is nothing out there that can be trusted to do as advertised. The Montgomery Co., PA lawsuit has been sent to state court. The DoJ has announced that they may be filing a suit against the state of New York for not complying with HAVA. And the Georgia House passed, in a heated floor debate, another voter ID bill. Those of you who have responded to the Action Alert from VoteTrustUSA have sent 15,242 emails to the EAC along with 1875 letters demanding the ITA be made to do their job....

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

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Even While the Feds Own Inability to Meet HAVA Reqiurements Continues
EXCLUSIVE: Complete Letter from DoJ's Civil Rights Division to NY AG Elliot Spitzer
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2006 4:46pm PT  

Additional Reporting by John Gideon

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened in a letter to sue New York state over its failure to modernize its voting system in compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of the complete letter sent from Asst. Attorney General Wan J. Kim, of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division, to NY's Attorney General Elliot Spitzer and General Counsel Todd Valentine.

In the letter, Kim informs the state that he has received authorization to file "a lawsuit on behalf of the United States against the State of New York as well as the New York State Board of Elections, et al."

That, despite the Federal Government's own egregious failures to fully comply with HAVA requirments. The lawsuit against the "blue state" would be the first attempted action taken against any state by DoJ for failing to meet the requirements of HAVA since one of its major deadlines passed on January 1 of this year.

The complete letter from the DoJ is posted at the bottom of this article.

As reported by the New York Times today the DoJ has accused New York of being further behind than every other state in complying with new guidelines laid out by HAVA:

The state has yet to decide what kind of new voting machines it will certify, leaving many local elections boards in uncertainty as they try to modernize their voting systems in time for next fall's primary elections. The state missed the Jan. 1 deadline for creating a statewide database of registered voters, as required by the federal Help America Vote Act.

New York is behind all other states and territories in deciding how to spend its share of $2.3 billion in federal aid to modernize voting machines and other elections technology. So far the state has received $220 million to replace its 20,000 aging voting machines, train local election officials to use the new machines, and create the voter database. The money is unspent and collecting interest, officials say.

A Justice Department letter told state officials this week that it had authorized a lawsuit against New York for failing to comply with the law. The letter said that the department hoped to settle the matter by negotiating a court order with the state instead going to court, but that "we are prepared to file a complaint if the matter is not resolved expeditiously."

Wan J. Kim, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division, wrote in the letter that "it is clear that New York is not close to approaching full H.A.V.A. compliance and, in our view, is further behind in that regard than any other state in the country." A copy of the letter was given to The New York Times by someone who believes the state has been too slow to overhaul its system.

The question now, for Election Reform advocates, is whether Elliott Spitzer, the aggressive New York State Attorney General, will stand up to this threat and point out to the DoJ the extraordinarily lax execution of HAVA by the federal government themselves! Given the Feds' own lack of compliance of the disastrous "Election Reform" bill hastily created in the wake of the 2000 Florida Election Debacle, the ironies here are many. The legislation itself, as revealed in a recent BRAD BLOG exposé, was apparently financed by voting machine vendors such as Diebold, and other shady characters named in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

In a report titled Is HAVA Being Abused? Part II; Good for the Goose; Why Not for the Gander?, written by Ellen Theisen in 2005, the then Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org exmined the Feds' own failures in implementing the flawed bill, including George W. Bush's own apparent violation of the law...

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Citing Bush Statement that Such Hearings are 'Good for Democracy', Ranking Minority Member of House Judiciary Extends Invitation
Former Deputy AG, Ardent Administration Defender, Architect of Torture Memos, John Yoo Also Called to Testify
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2006 12:51pm PT  

In response to George W. Bush's statement yesterday that hearings on the NSA program are "good for democracy," Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), on behalf of the minority members of the U.S. House Judiciary committee, has today sent invitations to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo to testify at planned hearings next Friday on the matter of warrentless NSA spying on United States citizens.

In the letter to Gonzales, obtained by The BRAD BLOG, Conyers quotes from Bush's comments yesterday at a Town Hall Forum in Kentucky in apparent support of such hearings (full letters to both Gonzales and Yoo posted at bottom of this article):

I would note that, just this past Wednesday, the President stated his support for this type of congressional review of the National Security Agency program. He stated, “There will be a lot of hearings and talk about that, but that's good for democracy – just so long as the hearings, as they explore whether or not I have the prerogative to make the decision I made doesn't tell the enemy what we're doing.” The purpose of our inquiry is precisely that, to explore whether the President possesses the constitutional or statutory power to authorize the surveillance he did.

Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California, Berkley has been an ardent defender of the Bush Administration's unrestrained exercise of Executive power in secretly monitoring United States citizens via warrantless NSA wiretaps. He is also reportedly the architect, along with Gonzales, of several controversial Administration positions concerning their right to torture and the notion that prisoners of war in Afghanistan and elsewhere did not fall under the protections of the Geneva Convention.

The congressional hearings are scheduled for next Friday by Democratic members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

In a statement to The BRAD BLOG, Conyers discussed his strong belief in Congressional oversight of the Executive branch despite unwillingness of members of Bush's own party to do so.

"It is imperative that we do everything we can to investigate abuses by the Bush Administration, whether the Majority is willing to or not," he told us. "Last time we held hearings on the Downing Street Documents, we were forced to the basement, but that didn't stop our message and the message for more than 500,000 Americans from getting out."

Conyers and other Democrats held hearings last June on the so-called "Downing Street Documents", which revealed the Bush Administration had planned to use military power in Iraq long before they had admitted as much to either Congress or the American people.

Those hearings, carried live on CSPAN, were followed by Conyers' hand-delivery of more than 500,000 signatures from Americans, demanding answers about those top-secret British memos from the White House.

The Democrats have once again requested a Capital Building Hearing room from the Republicans, who control scheduling of such rooms. They have yet to hear back as to wether they will be granted one or not for next Friday's hearings.

Scheduled to testify at the hearings so far are: Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General under Reagan, Jonathon Turley, Professor of law, George Washington Univ. Law School, Jeffrey H. Smith, former CIA General Counsel and Caroline Frederickson of the ACLU.

Smith, it was revealed by an ABC News report hours ago, has sent a 14-page memo to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence countering the notion that Bush had legal authority to order warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens. Smith avers that "it is not credible that the 2001 authorization to use force provides authority for the president to ignore the requirements of FISA."

That memo, not previously released with ABC's report, can be downloaded here [PDF].

The complete letters to Gonzales and Yoo follow...

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The Part of the Ney Corruption Story the MSM Hasn't Noticed Yet!
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 9:07pm PT  

Gonna keep this friendly link to the Bob Ney Exposé from Tuesday up on top until it gets the MSM notice that it deserves (or until I need to remove it for something else again). Read it! Then spread the word now!

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Can Bob Ney be Far Behind?
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 4:49pm PT  

Well, we weren't going to run it at all, but now that DeLay is threatening to sue anybody who does, we guess we just can't help ourselves!

Campaign for America's Future launched a radio and tv ad campaign against the corrupt, indicted former House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and the corrupt, soon-to-be-indicted Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) yesterday.

Click here to check out both the 30-second DeLay video spot and the 60-second Ney audio spot.

For good measure, here's a graphic of the billboard now running above the east bound lanes of Rte. I-70 at exit 126 in Ney's home district back in Ohio.

We just couldn't help ourselves. So, sue us.

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By John Gideon on 1/10/2006 5:54pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Surprise! I was able to find someone to help me out and to put together articles for DVN so we will continue chugging along for the time being. There is rumor from good sources that the DoJ has decided to take action against the state of New York for non-compliance to the Help America Vote Act. Those of you who have responded to the Action Alert from VoteTrustUSA have sent 14,747 emails to the EAC along with 1840 letters demanding the ITA be made to do their job....

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Refuses to Answer Question or Comment on 'Judicial Activism' of Supreme Court in the Landmark Case...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2006 3:17pm PT  

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By David Edwards on 1/10/2006 8:03am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Fresh from the holiday break, Stephen Colbert uses his classic sarcastic style to highlight the corruption scandal that has erupted around Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Stephen Colbert: "There is no story here."

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By David Edwards on 1/10/2006 6:43am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

On Saturday, January 7th, American journalist Jill Carroll was kidnapped in Iraq. At the same time, her translator was also killed. Associate Press, Reuters, AFP and UPI almost immediately reported the story. Editor & Publisher compiled one of the most complete reports within hours of the kidnapping.

According to Samir Najim, a guard at al-Dulaimi's office, three armed men in a red Opel four-sedan intercepted the journalist's car and shot the translator before taking her in their car and driving away. The kidnapping took place about 100 yards from al-Dulaimi's office.

UPI, however, adds this somewhat conflicting detail: "They said the driver of the bus in which the journalist and translator were riding managed to escape the incident when he fled and sought the help of a police patrol that happened to be in the same area at the time."

While the BBC provided some details of the kidnapping during their broadcasts, American network and cable news outlets virtually blacked out the news. Jane Hamsher finds a possible explanation from comments in a Kos thread:

The first 24-48 hours are critical, and American news organizations tend to not want publicity, at least during that period. It can make it much more dangerous for her and difficult to secure her release.

European news organizations often approach this issue differently, however, and will make an annoucement earlier, especially if they feel that the nationality of the reporter is likely to decrease the threat to his or her life. That is not the case here.

Yesterday afternoon, AP released additional details including the name of the kidnapped journalist. Jill Carroll had recently lost her job at a newspaper and decided to follow her dream of covering conflicts in the Middle East. While in Iraq, Jill Carroll had done freelance work for The Christian Science Monitor, AJR, U.S. News & World Report and other foreign outlets.

Organizations like Reporters Without Borders have become increasingly concerned with the number of journalists killed in Iraq. 76 reporters and media staff are known to have been killed since the beginning of the Iraq war. In comparison, 63 reporters were killed within the 33 year Vietnam conflict. Some reports even suggest that the U.S. Military has targeted journalist in Iraq. Secret memos leaked in the U.K. suggest that President Bush wanted to bomb the headquarters of the Al Jazeera news network. In fact, Al Jazeera pulled all journalists out of Iraq after their Baghdad studio was "accidentally" hit by U.S. missles.

This morning, 3 days after the kidnapping was originally reported, CNN finally reported details of the Jill Carroll kidnapping.

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