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By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2010 2:01pm PT  

I'm prepping for tonight's Mike Malloy Show which I will be, once again, guest hosting this evening (9-Mid ET / 6-9p PT, with listen links and live chat right here at BradBlog.com later), but took a short break to chat with Shannyn Moore on Alaska's KUDO about the state of the state's elections right now as the Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski campaign's duke it out in regard to counting (or not counting) write-in ballots from the U.S. Senate race.

As we discussed, there is, of course, every reason to be concerned about Alaska's horrible, error-prone Diebold system. Here's just one such reason that we discussed. As well, after Murkowski announced her write-in bid last August I wrote about how the race is likely to test the oft-failed system they use up there.

As predicted, the fight for oversight and reconciliation of the results is on right now, and the Miller camp has brought in one of the great Rightwing extremists, Floyd Brown (he of the Willie Horton ads, Obama "birtherism" and much more) to take the lead in the campaign's fight for oversight.

Where Brown is inappropriately suggesting "voter fraud" without evidence to back it up, he is exactly right in calling for the right for the campaign to be allowed to reconcile the poll rosters to determine if the lower-than-expected number of ballots so far tabulated are, indeed, accurate. To that, I'm more than happy to support his efforts or any other citizens who want to fight to try to ensure their elections are being counted accurately and transparently.

Shannyn and I discussed all of the above and more for about 30 mins or so. Here's that discussion:

Download MP3, or listen online below...

* * *

UPDATE 11/13/10: Jeanne "AKMuckraker" Devon has more on the developing sitch up there, all the strange bedfellows tucking themselves in, and this hilarious admission: "So, it is with a whiplash-addled heart that I commend…. (pauses for a shot of vodka)… that I say kudos to (mops brow)… that I agree with (deep breath)… Joe Miller."

UPDATE 11/17/10: Joe Miller now suggests his campaign may call for a complete 'hand count' of all ballots. A detailed analysis of Alaska's recent history of impossible election results and it's oft-failed Diebold tabulators suggest Miller would be performing a service to all voters with such a full, transparent reconciliation. Details now here...

* * *
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UPDATE: Late-night stay issued by AK Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2010 2:28pm PT  

[The AK Supreme Court has put a stay on the Superior Court Judge's order. For now. See important update at bottom of article.]

As we've been suggesting in our two previous articles on the issue, the Alaska Division of Election's unprecedented move to supply printed lists of write-in candidates to polling places, purportedly to "assist" voters seeking help, violates state election procedures.

A judge today ruled in favor of the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP), as well as the state Republicans who joined the suit, by issuing a temporary restraining order finding the DoE's practice a "clear violation of Alaska administrative regulation."

We covered the issue over the weekend when it first came up, as letters went back and forth between the ADP, who charged the procedure amounted to "electioneering" inside the polling place, and the DoE, who claimed they were required by state and federal law to provide such assistance to voters.

We covered it again last night, when the DoE responded to our public records request for previous lists of printed write-in candidates by denying the request, since, as DoE Director Gail Fenumiai wrote, "The requested records do not exist."

State Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner agreed that the state's argument "rings hollow", noting, "If it were important 'assistance' for the division to provide voters with lists of write-in candidates, then the division has been asleep at the switch for the past 50 years. The division first developed the need for a write-in candidate list 12 days ago."

The ruling comes as a blow to incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who tossed her hat into the ring as a write-in candidate after her primary loss to the GOP's Joe Miller. Along with Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, a fierce three-way battle has ensued for the open U.S. Senate seat from Alaska. Although it's unclear what leg they have to stand on, the state has said they will appeal Pfiffner's decision ordering the immediate removal of the printed list of "certified" write-in candidates from polling places across the state. The judge also ruled that pollworkers may not mention Murkowski's, or any write-in candidate's name, to voters.

As reported by Erika Bolstad in today's Anchorage Daily News...

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

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In response to our records request in for previous printed lists, DoE concedes they 'do not exist'
First time such 'assistance' provided to voters in U.S. Senate race...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2010 2:47pm PT  

Over the weekend we covered the dispute between Alaska's Division of Elections (DoE), who has been handing out printed lists of write-in candidates to early voting sites, and the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP) who says doing so amounts to inappropriate electioneering at the polling place for write-in U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Murkowski in support of her challenge against GOP nominee Joe Miller and the Democrat's Scott McAdams.

The ADP went to court yesterday to file for an injunction, an official told The BRAD BLOG late today. The judge will issue his finding on Wednesday morning. But an admission we received today from Gail Fenumiai, Director of the DoE, may make it more difficult for the state to make their case.

As we detailed Saturday, in letters back and forth between the parties, the Fenumiai has been arguing that the list of candidates --- which reminds voters that Murkowski is running, and shows how to spell her name (a potential matter of dispute when determining which write-ballots should be counted or thrown out) --- is required by state and federal law in order to "to provide assistance to voters in the polling place upon request." She claims "The list of write-in candidates is the best way for poll workers to provide consistent information and assistance to voters if requested, regarding write-in candidates."

In response, ADP attorneys argued "There is no statutory or other legal basis for generating and making available to voters a list of write-in candidates and we are unaware, in the fifty-year history of the state, that such a list has ever previously been generated or used."

Indeed, as other names may be written in on ballots, in addition to those on the list, and the deadline is still open for write-in candidates to file a declaration of intent (giving them certain post-election privileges), the procedure seems legally dubious as well as historically unprecedented as ADP attorneys have charged.

To get to the bottom of it, and to find out if, in fact, the DoE has ever taken such action to "provide assistance" in previous elections, as Fenumiai claims is required by both state and federal law, The BRAD BLOG dashed off a public records request for any similar printed lists of write-in candidate provided to polling places during any previous elections.

This afternoon we received our reply from the DoE's Director, denying our public records request because, as she explains, the DoE has never supplied such a list prior to these 2010 general elections, so there are no records to send in response to our request.

Here's the pertinent part of her response [which is linked in full below]...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2010 12:25pm PT  

As you may know, the U.S. Senate race in Alaska between GOP nominee Joe Miller and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, Mayor of Sitka, has been thrown into what's quickly turning into a potential three-way toss-up with Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in bid for the seat.

She and her father have long been insider fixtures within Alaska's political establishment, and so now both the state Democrats' supporter McAdams and Miller's campaign are accusing the Department of Elections, run by the state's Republican Gubernatorial administration, of taking sides to help Murkowski by inappropriately making a printed list of those write-in candidates who have filed a declaration of intent (under AS 15.25.105) available to voters who ask for help at the polling place.

A series of letters back and forth between the Alaska Democratic Party (ADL)'s attorney Joe McKinnon and the Director of the state's Division of Election (DoE)'s Gail Fenumiai highlight a questionable-at-best assertion that the printed list of write-in candidate names should be shown to voters if/when they ask questions about how to cast a write-in vote.

Fenumiai argues that the best way to provide assistance when it's requested, as required by both state and federal law, is by showing voters the list. McKinnon disputes the argument, and offers specific citations of law, demonstrating that the statutes are very specific about what sort of help may or may not be provided to voters at the polling place. He argues that offering the name of a write-in candidate to voters constitutes "electioneering," as specifically barred inside or within 200 ft. of the polling place...

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

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UPDATE: Dramatic video just after 'arrest' as Joe Miller's goons threaten other reporters as well...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2010 11:23pm PT  

No, seriously. Via Anchorage Daily News tonight...

The editor of the Alaska Dispatch website was arrested by U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's private security guards Sunday as the editor attempted to interview Miller on camera at the end of a public event in an Anchorage school.

Tony Hopfinger was handcuffed by the guards and detained in a hallway at Central Middle School until Anchorage police came and told the guards to release him.

Hopfinger has not been charged but the owner of the Drop Zone, private security firm that's been providing Miller's security, accused Hopfinger of trespassing at the public event, a "town hall" meeting sponsored by the Miller campaign. The owner, William Fulton, also said Hopfinger assaulted a man by shoving him.

Josh Marshall of TPM's brilliantly understated headline for his coverage: "Didn't Know You Could Do That."

Alaska blogger/radio host Shannyn Moore tweets late tonight: "The Drop Zone has a picture of Obama as the joker in their window."

Miller's Democratic opponent Scott McAdams tweets: "@JoeWMiller - in case you were unaware, the Constitution also applies to reporters."

Alaska's incumbent Senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, is also running in the race as a write-in candidate this year after having lost to Miller in the GOP primary which, as we detailed some weeks ago, could seriously test the state's lousy Diebold optical-scan voting system.

Finally, there's Miller's most famous endorser, celebrity organizer Sarah Palin who loves to shout "Do you love your freedom?!" at her rallies. Perhaps she means that as a threat at this point? Good lord.

* * *

UPDATE 10/18/10: Wow. Miller's goons, thugs --- apparently Secret Service wannabes --- threatened to handcuff another reporter or two after the incident with Hopfinger, as seen in this rather dramatic video courtesy of Salon/Anchorage Daily News [hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter AzDesertRat]. Amazing...

News reports have noted that the incident took place after Miller had left the building, leading Media Matters' Eric Boehlert to ask via Twitter: "Why did Miller's rent-a-cops 'arrest' blogger if Miller had left the building? Who were they protecting/what were they afraid of?" Good question.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2010 3:49pm PT  

Over the weekend, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced she would run as a write-in candidate this November after reportedly losing a close GOP primary race to far Rightwing "Tea Party" candidate Joe Miller.

The three-way race, along with Democratic candidate and Mayor of Sitka Scott McAdams, could prove to be a serious challenge for Alaska's historically-dicey optical-scan voting system made by Diebold. Given the shortcomings of the system which otherwise employs the concealed vote-counting of centrally tabulated ballots, the need to hand-review write-in votes this November could present a unique opportunity for citizens of the 49th state to oversee at least some of their own electoral system --- for a welcome change.

Statistical polling analyst Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight blog is now hosted by The New York Times, has been suggesting that Murkowski's seemingly-Quixotic bid, while still a long shot, may actually prove to be "viable" as a write-in campaign. But whether or not Alaska's voting system is up to task may be a different matter, and an additional hurtle for Murkowski to overcome...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2010 12:38pm PT  

We were on the road all day long yesterday, after getting the morning's Green News Report. We finally got off the road and back on the grid as the sun was setting here in the Midwest, and as "results" began coming in from some of the five different states (Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont) holding primary elections last night.

It seemed a good moment to ask a question on Twitter about what we'd missed so far. In the bargain, we received some interesting Twitter replies from NBC's Chief White House Correspondent and election results guy Chuck Todd, in regard to counting ballots and the fact that he (and others) were busy reporting "results" to the world, even as not one single ballot had yet to be counted by any human being in all of the United States by that point.

Here's how some of that conversation on Twitter went...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2010 4:35pm PT  

We usually don't like to take the wingnut bait, preferring instead to focus on issues that actually matter, but this one is just too gobsmackingly stupid for even us to look the other way.

Last night Ernie Canning noted Dr. Laura's cutting and running from her 30-year career in radio after an ill-advised rant in which she used the "n-word" repeatedly and made even far more offensive comments to boot. He didn't, however, flag the fact that her post-rant self-victimization included the absurd-on-a-billion levels notion that she claimed to be quitting in order to "regain [her] First Amendment rights."

We'd have otherwise left that alone, were it not for fellow-quitter Sarah Palin --- who some, incredibly, still believe to qualified to be President of the United States for Chrissakes --- who Tweeted this in response yesterday...

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

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Competing ads, a rare instance of investigative journalism and a hard-right embrace of AZ's Apartheid 'Pass Law,' helps close Poizner's gap against front-runner Whitman...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/16/2010 10:31pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In "Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit,'" we noted:

Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism.

Now comes a SurveyUSA poll, conducted May 6-9, revealing that Whitman's once commanding lead over CA Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has all but evaporated. Where she led Poizner by 22% on April 22, Whitman is now said to hold a meager 2% lead. One suspects that, in the wake of a hard-hitting, front page May 12 Los Angeles Times article, "Whitman's words put spotlight on deeds," Whitman's once-commanding lead may soon become a deficit.

The Los Angeles Times followed up on May 13 with a separate piece, "Companies challenged Poizner business claims," which revealed that a major portion of Poizner's wealth was acquired when SnapTrack Inc., the company Poizner founded, was sold to Qualcomm. Poizner claims SnapTrack invented mobile-phone GPS technology. In pending lawsuits, other companies accused SnapTrack of infringing intellectual property rights, and, the Times reports, "as SnapTrack developed its GPS technology, Poizner faced another test of his entrepreneurial skills, as a special interest trying to bend the Washington regulatory process his way."

The drastic change in the recent public opinion polls is tied not only to the fact that her fellow billionaire Poizner unleashed his own paid-for propaganda (ad) blitz, deconstructing Whitman's one-sided narrative. Nor is the change tied only to hard-hitting, if overdue, front page newspaper exposés on the facts behind how these two rapacious "business people" amassed their fortunes.

Disturbingly, Poizner's late gain in the polls may be attributed to his open embrace of Arizona's version of apartheid South Africa's infamous "pass laws." Poizner's is a cynically calculated effort to scapegoat immigrants while deflecting attention from the true source of California's fiscal woes: the very same billionaire sociopath economics in which both he and Whitman amassed their fortunes...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/7/2010 6:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this short ad from Friends of the Earth says it all about the obscenity that is the Republican slogan, "Drill baby, drill!" The ad was released almost contemporaneously to Sarah Palin's insistence on "drill here, drill now" despite knowledge of the devastation unfolding in the Gulf states as a result of the BP disaster...


I wonder if that one is "too confusing" for Fox "News"?

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PLUS: I'm back...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2010 11:42am PT  

After hearing the lazy corporate media meme over the last several days asking whether the BP oil spill catastrophe was "Obama's Katrina," it was nice to see the meme properly re-aligned last night on Twitter by @OTOOLEFAN who announced: "This oil spill is Sarah Palin's Katrina."

Apparently he wasn't the first, however, to do so, as the ubiquitous @Shoq gave credit to @yrustupid's first invocation.

And with those attributions out of the way, I'll take the opportunity to note that after two long weeks on the road and often off the grid (when I wasn't doing Russian TV from NV or guest hosting for Malloy from San Fran) for largely unrelated work, I'm finally back in the 'hood today with much to get caught up on this week. Thanks for your patience during my mostly-absence over the last coupla weeks and (possibly) in the coming days as I get caught up. My thanks to both The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning and Brilliant at Breakfast's Jill C. for filling occasional gaps as they were able to find time while I was gone!

Feel free to use the comment section on this item to let me know about anything you think I may have missed over last week or two but still need to know about!

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Health insurance mandator Romney wins at hard Right Southern Republican conference
Tea Bagger Palin trails again...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2010 3:13pm PT  

This must drive the Neo-Cons even crazier than they are already. From the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC)'s straw poll over the weekend:

NEW ORLEANS --- In the presidential-preference straw poll here at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Mitt Romney won by ONE vote over Ron Paul --- out of 1,806 cast.

Romney received 24% of the vote (439 votes) to Paul's 24% (438 votes).

Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin received 18% --- followed by Mike Huckabee at 4%, Tim Pawlenty at 3%, Mike Pence at 3%, Rick Santorum at 2%, and Gary Johnson at 1%.

Yes, Ron Paul lost to Mitt Romney, the man who signed legislation into law mandating health insurance policies for all Massachusetts citizens, by just one vote. That, after Paul easily won the straw poll at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in D.C. in February.

Paul's positions, however, are actually conservative, and thus run antithetical to most of the Neo-Con, Big Government, Bush/Cheney-era Republicanists who now call themselves Tea Baggers, as RAW STORY notes today here. How many more "Democrats in Disarray" articles will we have to read before the "Republicans in Disarray" articles finally begin in the corporate media?

One other related thought: When Palin came in a distant fourth at CPAC's straw poll, the Republican and Republican-enabling and TeaBag-promoting Chattering Class instructed us via the corporate media that she would have done better had she actually showed up and spoken at the event. Well, she showed up and spoke at the SRLC, received a larger percentage of the vote, but still managed to do no better than third place among the dyed-in-the-wool, hard Right Southern Republicanists at the conference. Go figure.

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Opening 'Tea Party Nation' speaker, former U.S. House Rep & GOP Presidential candidate, misses the good old days...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2010 5:53pm PT  

From John Byrne at RAW STORY...

The opening night speaker at the Tea Party convention suggested a return to a "literacy test" to protect America from presidents like Obama --- a segregation-era method employed by southern US states to keep blacks from voting.

In his speech Thursday to attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."

Southern states used literacy tests as part of an effort to deny suffrage to African American voters prior to Johnson-era civil rights laws.

"Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern (and some Western) states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures whose primary purpose was to deny the vote to those who were not white," a website for civil rights veterans explains. "In the South, this process was often called the 'literacy test.' In fact, it was much more than a simple test, it was an entire complex system devoted to denying African-Americans (and in some regions, Latinos) the right to vote."

Gosh, and sure is unfair to paint any of these Tea Baggers as racist, isn't it?

Among the questions on one of those old Alabama literacy tests [PDF], as highlighted in Byrne coverage, are these questions which we wonder if Tancredo himself would be able to answer (not that it would matter, because he's white):

"If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"

"If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"

"If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."

After it was revealed that the sponsor of the "National Tea Party Convention" in Nashville, TN, was a for-profit corporation charging some $500 for admission, previously confirmed Tea Bag speakers Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) dropped out.

None of that was a problem for Tancredo, apparently. Nor for Sarah Palin (R-FOX), who is still scheduled to be the weekend's keynoter for a reported speaking fee of $100,000. Perhaps she'll up Tancredo's racist ante and call for a repeal of that pesky 13th Amendment.

And speaking of literacy, below the fold is a photo of TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson, taken at a Tea Bagger event in February of 2009. Plenty of literacy, no racism there...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2010 10:05pm PT  

Seriously, the Republican Party wasn't always this whacked out, crazy and utterly misinformed, were they? Were they?!

The Daily Kos has enlisted the "non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000" to survey "over 2,000 self-identified Republicans." The results of which, I'll have to agree with Kos here, are "nothing short of startling."

Writes Kos: "Ultimately, these results explain why it is impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country. Their base are conspiracy mongers who don't believe Obama was born in the United States, that he is the second coming of Lenin, and that he is racist against white people."

Just one case in point likely to be of interest to readers of The BRAD BLOG (and there are many others, far more extreme), one in five (21%) of self-identified Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election. Another 55% are "not sure" if they did or not. Still waiting for any one of them to present even a shred of evidence to suggest that even a single vote was cast fraudulently via ACORN in some way, of course. For the record, Obama reportedly won by about 10 million of them nationally. You think we'd have some kind of evidence by now from the "Fox 'News' Voter Fraud Unit."

Also, according to the poll, a majority of Republicans, 53%, believe "Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama." Sigh...

How many elected Democrats will have to lose their jobs in 2010 and 2012 before they figure out who/what they're dealing with in this once-Grand, now just utterly insane (actually, just successfully and expensively disinformed) Old Party?

Poll "high"lights are here...

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2010 11:29am PT  

The editors at the UK's Guardian asked me to ring in yesterday on "mavricky maverick" Sarah Palin's new gig at Fox "News". And so I did. A sample...

On Fox, if you say it, it's true. Even if it's made up out of thin air. So "fair and balanced news" it is! Let the Tea Bagging of Sarah Palin by Bill O'Reilly begin!

Among the nice things about about writing for the Guardian is the exceptionally dry English wit in the comments section --- at least when I'm lucky enough that a piece of mine gets posted in British primetime before the ugly American wingnuts show up to start hitting the comments button a few hours later.

As of now the piece has some 224 comments. The first hundred or so, before the Fox "News" trolls awoke across the pond are quite smart. Thereafter, they're also amusing, but in a different kind of way. Enjoy...

ReddIt this story!



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