Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
Well, isn't this rich? Tom Feeney --- yes, that Tom Feeney, the one who is alleged to have commissioned vote-rigging software for touch-screen voting machines in 2000, as testified to by former Republican software programmer Clint Curtis in a sworn affidavit, sworn testimony to congress, and a successful polygraph test --- went on Fox "News" this week to decry unsubstantiated charges of "voter fraud" by the low-income voter registration community organization ACORN.
(And if you're done laughing...)
Feeney --- the man who, as Speaker of the FL House in 2000, also promised to award all of the state's electoral votes to George W. Bush no matter what the ballots and Supreme Court had to say about it --- then went on to compare ACORN to the KKK...
After failing to count votes accurately in a number of recent elections in FL, NJ, and D.C., a report has now been released by the D.C. Board of Elections noting that, as it turns out, Michelle Shafer, official mouthpiece for both Sequoia Voting Systems and the election industry's PR outfit, Election Technology Council (ETC), has once again been misleading the public about Sequoia's bad voting equipment --- both touch-screen and paper ballot systems --- and the fact that they don't work.
The D.C. Board released its report on its investigation into an incident from last month's primary where some 1,500 phantom votes were recorded on Sequoias tabulator after being uploaded from a paper ballot system. There should have been just over 300 votes, instead of thousands, from Precinct 141.
Shafer had originally claimed (as usual) human error and static electricity were to blame. When the incident was first discovered in September, Shafer told the Washington Post: "There's absolutely no problem with the machines in the polling places. No. No."
Turns out, Shafer lied. Again. As the D.C. report notes Sequoia was "too quick to exonerate itself and the equipment used in the tabulation process" and that "the evidence appears to indicate that there was a problem both in equipment (the server) and in the software"...
The GOP's October "Surprise" continues...Even as it's no surprise at all that they are hoping to cause absolute bedlam at the polls. They are off to a good start, as the Democrats seem to be caught flat-footed, despite years of warnings about all of this.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Law enforcement officials in southwest Ohio are seeking information on hundreds of voters who registered and voted during Ohio's weeklong same-day voting window.
Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and representatives of County Prosecutor Stephen Haller have contacted the local Board of Elections asking for the voter registration cards of everyone who voted during the six-day window, which ended Monday.
Haller is the former law partner of Mike DeWine, the former Republican senator who is chairing presidential nominee John McCain's Ohio campaign.
[Update: In an updated version of the AP report quoted above, it's noted that Sheriff Fisher is "a Republican," that Green County is "rich with Democrat-leaning college students," and that Fisher requested the voter information after "he had been inundated with phone calls from people concerned about possible fraud." In other words, no actual evidence of anything, just angry Republicans, fired up by chasing their own tails after Fox/RNC told them too. Smelling the rats here, yet?]
Of course, the GOP's ACORN "Voter Fraud" Scam was picked up today by John McCain on the stump (and, mercilessly, on Fox "News" all morning, naturally). Here's McCain putting the scare tactics first, and democracy and country second, if even that high on his list. Here's the shameful video...
Remember yesterday when we told you about the transcript of the Fox & Friends show yesterday morning, discussing the bogus raid of an ACORN office in Las Vegas, and then implying "more" ACORN "voter fraud" occurring in Missouri? The RNC actually issued that transcript verbatim as an official RNC press release. Remember when we told you that, given the hints within the RNC/FNC report that swing state MO was likely next on the RNC/FNC/FBI hit-list?
Well, late last night, AP delivered right on schedule, open their story with "Officials in Missouri...are sifting through possibly hundreds of questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy group that has been accused of election fraud in other states."
The report quotes GOP tool & Jackson County (Kansas City), MO election director, Charlene Davis complaining they are "bogged down" with registrations right now, and insinuating that it's ACORN causing the problem for them.
Of course, as with the pageant staged in Las Vegas, the Missouri action is also a scam. Read a little closer into the AP article, and you'll see the tell-tale signs of this October "Surprise" joke rather clearly...
The RNC isn't even trying to pretend like they are independent from their media arm, Fox "News", anymore, apparently.
Here's today's RNC press release. It's, quite literally, a transcript of this morning's Fox & Friends, wherein the FNC/RNC clowns "report" on yesterday's PR stunt/raid on a Las Vegas ACORN office and then, for good measure, prime the pump for yet another similar raid in Missouri (another swing state, go figure.) Needless to say, it's utter stuff and nonsense, with zero evidence of "criminality" by ACORN --- as explained in our coverage yesterday, all civic organizations are required by law to turn over ANY signed voter registration applications even when they are known to have problems -- and includes plenty of unsubstantiated hearsay and garbage, as if it were actually fact. So, naturally, it's been released as a press release by the RNC, as is.
Unless they find that yesterday's PR stunt in NV has blown up on them (and it might, as folks, even some in the corporate media, are beginning to understand what a desperate scam this GOP "voter fraud" hoax really is) we'll expect a similar stunt or two, akin to the one in Vegas, soon in MO, OH, and anywhere the GOP feels they need a phony reason to challenge elections, intimidate voters, and otherwise cause havoc at the polls before, during and even after Election Day.
Earlier today, I was reminded that similar nonsense occurred just days prior to the 2004 Presidential Election, when the wingnuts falsely reported that ACORN had registered a terrorist to vote in Ohio. And, of course, the DoJ famously violated it's own written rules when it brought similar "voter fraud" charges against ACORN workers just days before the '06 election.
Why do these people hate democracy? Oh, yeah, because if legal voters are actually allowed to vote, and to have their vote counted accurately, the Republicans will lose. At least this year. So, let's hear it one more time for modern-day Republican Deity Paul Weyrich who sent out this year's marching orders some 28 years ago (the video is 40 seconds, but it should tell you just about all you need to know)...
It shouldn't be necessary --- at least if we had a corporate media which did their Constitutionally-protected jobs --- but since ACORN doesn't have the budget of FNC/RNC, here's an ACORN press statement, issued late this afternoon, concerning the bogus Vegas raid/PR stunt yesterday...
Last Friday, we told you about the bogus challenges --- 6,000 of them --- made by the Montana GOP against voters in six Democratic-leaning counties in the state, based solely on the fact that the voters had filed change of address forms with the U.S. Postal Service within the last 18 months. The GOP claimed, with a straight face, they were fighting "voter fraud", even though there was indications of no such fraud, and the result was little more than chaos at the election offices, just 30 days out from a major election.
One of the GOP's challenged voters turned out to be an Army Reservist who would be unable to verify his authenticity --- and thus would lose his right to vote under the challenge --- since he was in New Jersey, about to ship out for his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Well, we've got some good news on this story, for a welcome change...
I had been intending to post an answer to the ongoing --- and quickly escalating --- ACORN smears being issued of late by the GOP enemies of democracy out there, who have decided to intensify their unsubstantiated assaults on the community organization, given its effectiveness at registering millions of low-income voters across the country.
Today's incredible raid of an ACORN office in Las Vegas --- in hotly contested Nevada, as coincidence would have it --- has forced me to push this to the top of the heap right now. I've also posted ACORN's statement on today's nonsense in Vegas at the end of this article. Note to corporate media: Be sure not to read or report on that part of the story!
With prospects looking bleak for the Republicans this November, pulling out the old ACORN lie --- in hopes of scaring people away from the polls, causing chaos in November by challenging voters when they show up to vote, and putting in place baseless grounds to contest close results later on (when the GOP become "sore losers") --- is just about all they have left at this point.
Doubtless you've heard the smears by now: that ACORN is committing "voter fraud," on behalf of Obama, in hotly contested swing states. The media have been all too happy to pass that garbage on, without bothering to note that, in fact, the organization attempts to authenticate every registration form its workers submit and by law they must turn in every form to election officials --- even if they find a registration to be fraudulent when they call the phone number submitted on the form, or if the forms are otherwise suspect or incomplete.
They do so, and they flag all questionable registration forms as being suspect before turning them in to officials.
The thanks they receive for registering millions of new voters that nobody else has bothered with, and for notifying officials about questionable registration forms when they turn them in, is that the GOP's democracy-hating propagandists and election officials run to the media shouting, "ACORN is committing voter fraud! They've turned in hundreds and thousands of fraudulent registration forms!"
Of course they have. They have to. By law. But what those GOP despots of democracy always forget to mention is that it was ACORN themselves who notified officials about the potentially fraudulent and/or incomplete forms in the first place!...
Late last week I had the "pleasure" of appearing on Tavis Smiley's public radio show, along with GOP "voter fraud" zealot and propagandist Hans von Spakovsky, about whom we've written quite a bit here over the years. The show was pre-taped last Thursday, ran over the weekend, and will continue to be available at Smiley's website throughout the week.
The audio discussion, which became rather heated at times, is posted at the end of this article.
In his introduction, Smiley credits von Spakovsky as being "from the Heritage Foundation." But in addition to being funded by those unapologetic Republicanists, it goes unnoted that vS, a former chair of the FEC, recess-appointed by Bush, then blocked by the Democrats in the Senate when his appointment came up again, was formerly embedded in the Bush DoJ's wholly-politicized Civil Rights Division voting section.
At the DoJ, he helped to deconstruct the beloved Voting Rights Act of 1965 by, among other things, pushing through polling place Photo ID restrictions in places such as Georgia, against the advice of just about every career employee in the division. (The law was later found to be an "unconstitutional day poll tax" by the courts, but ultimately allowed by a higher court, and still under challenge by Democrats in the state.) He was also instrumental in bringing phony "voter fraud" charges, such as those against ACORN workers in Missouri, filed just days before the razor-thin 2006 Senate election, in violation of the DoJ's own written rules against bringing such indictments just prior to elections where they are likely to affect the race.
Perhaps even more noteworthy, but unmentioned by Smiley, is that even with all of that, the disgraced von Spakovsky has been secretly hired, at tax-payer expense, as a consultant for Bush's similarly compromised, and now ironically-named, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to help monitor the job that the DoJ will (or won't) be doing to monitor the 2008 general election.
In any case, vS remains an unapologetic democracy hater, hell-bent on keeping Democratic-leaning voters away from the polls and, as you'll note during the interview, a liar.
Normally, however, he's not faced with anybody who can actually call him on his bullshit. That wasn't the case this time, as I was there, and was able to do exactly that...
The base of the Republican Party — a dwindling but still significant group — clings to a handful of pseudo-facts that don’t hold up to serious scrutiny but that still occupy a central place in GOP ideology. Those include the assertion that Saddam Hussein represented a threat to the United States, that affirmative action in lending led to the mortgage crisis and that voter fraud is a serious problem in modern elections.
In campaign seasons such as this, when victory may turn on a handful of votes, none of those claims is more important to Republican activists than overhyped allegations of voter fraud.
She goes on to note the insidious and shameless GOP New Mexico operative, Patrick Rogers (yes, of the voter-suppresion front group "American Center for Voting Rights" and, yes, at the heart of the U.S. Attorney Purge in the state and, yes, a man willing to lie to fend off charges of vote-buying by his comrade, the disgraced, outgoing Rep. Heather Wilson), who was discovered in "a recently unearthed e-mail" to have spoken quite directly to the cynical and despicable issue of using phony claims of "voter fraud" to help keep bad voters (Dems) away from the polls, and encourage good voters (Repubs) to turn out if only to counter all those dirty, filthy, illegal aliens who are showing up (after giving their names and addresses to the federales, in order to register, presumably) to vote...
Rady Ananda at OpEdNews opens her review of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story by declaring it "the most explosive documentary produced in recent memory, involving murder, espionage, cover-up, electoral cyber fraud and a United States Member of Congress with ties to the Bush Administration."
More details, pull-quotes from other reviews, and video preview here.
Haven't seen it yet? If you've got LinkTV, you can still check it out there. Otherwise, DVDs are available for prchase at the MSVL website, or better still, for a few dollars more, you can get one signed by both myself and the filmmaker Patty Sharaf with a $50 donation right here!
What more could you ask for? Collectors versions of great documentaries for you to watch and share, and all the while supporting the work we do here, so we can keep on doing it! And maybe by the time we're done, democracy gets saved somewhere in the bargain and everyone's a winner!
(Snail-mail works for all of the above as well. Send to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
The dirty tricks are starting even earlier than usual this year. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, "An anonymous flier circulating in African-American neighborhoods in North and West Philadelphia states that voters who are facing outstanding arrest warrants or who have unpaid traffic tickets may be arrested at the polls on Election Day."
The Daily News goes on to note that "Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison, who learned of the flier last week, said that the message is completely false."
Here's the misleading, dirty tricks flier...
The information seen above is an old, and venerable trick meant to scare Democrats, usually African-Americans, away from the the voting booth. We'll likely see much more of it --- and the variation of it, fliers that "inform" voters that Democrats are supposed to vote on Wednesday --- between now and November 4th.
A few similar dirty tricks fliers that were circulated in 2004, in Wisconsin and Ohio, are reposted below as a reminder...
Congrats to David Earnhardt and company on winning "Best Documentary" at last weekend's San Diego Film Festival, for Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections! I'm quite sure the win was due to my appearance at the Q&A following the Saturday night screening down there.
And finally...if you'd like a copy of both great documentaries (I'm in both, but they're really good anyway!), a donation of $75 or more will get 'em both shipped straight to ya! (Snail mail also works for all of the above: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
Congrats and thanks all around! People are getting the message because you are making noise!
[Ed Note: Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case discussed below, will be joining me Wednesday evening to talk about the case, when I sit in to Guest Host The Mike Malloy Show, which I'll be doing Wed-Fri this week, from 9p-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) - BF]
A recent flurry of activity in the long-standing King Lincoln v. OH Sec. of State lawsuit concerning voting rights violations in the state during the 2004 election has resulted in the judge lifting the stay to allow depositions to be taken of key GOP tech-guru Mike Connell, and potentially others, such as Karl Rove.
A subpoena has now been served to Connell, who was recently described by the attorneys working on the case, as a 'high-IQ Forrest Gump...at the scene of every GOP crime.'
Federal District Court Judge Algenon Marbley's brief order [PDF], agreeing to lift the stay, was quietly issued on September 19th. It reads:
On motion of the plaintiffs and agreement of the defendant Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, the stay in this matter is lifted for the sole purpose of permitting the plaintiffs to take the deposition of Michael Connell and any other witnesses whose testimony, in the judgment of these parties, may be warranted based upon the deposition of Michael Connell.
The BRAD BLOG had learned about the latest court action, which could soon entangle Rove as well, some time ago, but we were asked by parties involved in the case to embargo the information until such time as they were able to serve Connell with his subpoena...
Kansas City Star is among the first out of the box to review the film, calling it a "Must See!" and declaring that it "plays like a high-tension political thriller."
The terrifying feature-length documentary, shot in high-definition video, details, for the first time, the complete Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises vote-rigging scandal, in all of its, yes, sometimes very gory detail. It also tells a tale of the media, as it details my attempts to tell the story over the last four years, to a corrupt, detached, and too-often frightened corporate media. The BRAD BLOG broke the Curtis story originally in late 2004, and we've been investigating and reporting on it ever since.
The DVD of MSVL is finally available for purchase at VotingLies.com and will also be premiering beginning this weekend on LinkTV, for those of you lucky enough to get the satellite TV channel. See LinkTV's main Murder, Spies page for air dates and times, as well as an extended five-minute preview of the film. Sharaf has been kind enough to offer the DVD --- signed by herself and myself --- available as our newest, and perhaps most appropriate, BRAD BLOG premium ever! An online donation of $50 or more gets you your own copy! (And just in time for Halloween!) Snail mail works as well, if you prefer to send a check to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The support is greatly appreciated and very much needed.
LinkTV narrates their own 60-second preview of MSVL below...
For those who aren't familiar with the remarkable Curtis/Feeney story of the Florida software programmer who says he was asked by a powerful Republican to create vote-rigging software, where have you been? See this summary version for the quick details.
For those who are familiar with the story, you will learn details in MSVL you never knew, along with new interviews on the case from Gore Vidal, reporter Bob Fitrakis, computer security expert Harri Hursti, whistleblower Steve Heller, Curtis co-worker Mavis Georgalis, and many more!
While the Curtis story has been told, often beautifully, in a number of other documentaries, such as Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections and Stealing America: Vote-by-Vote, this is the first to go all the way into all of the frightening details underscoring this case, including the mysterious death of Florida's Inspector General Raymond Lemme while investigating the allegations, and the bizarre case of the convicted Chinese spy, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, who worked at the firm with Curtis.
A few quotes from some of the early reviews:
"Must see!...Plays like a high-tension political thriller...Amazingly elaborate and detailed...Want to get hoppin' mad? This'll do it...Let's hear it for paper ballots." - Bob Butler, Kansas City Star
The film is also screening at a number of upcoming film-festivals around the country, including the New Jersey Film Festival this weekend. See the MSVL website for dates & times.
Four years later, I'm happy to still be here to see the release of the film, quite frankly. There were some pretty scary days back there. It's regrettable that nobody's yet gone to jail, but maybe we're getting closer. For many of you who found this blog because of the Curtis story back in 2004, thank you for all of the support throughout the years! I hope you'll get the film, enjoy it, and continue to spread the word.
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- cited for the third year in a row by a public interest watchdog as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" --- has finally decided to "apologize" for going on that $75,000 lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland in 2003, along with the disgraced, and convicted, Jack Abramoff. The "apology" comes in the form of a desperate, 30-second campaign ad (at left.)
Feeney is the last remaining member of Congress to have gone on one of those Abramoff-funded private jet trips to hit the links in St. Andrews. The other two, Tom Delay (R-TX), who went in 2001, and Bob Ney (R-OH), who went in 2002, have both left Congress in disgrace and under indictment.
You'll note that the ad --- in which Feeney never bothers to mention that he's a Republican --- ends, laughably, with: "Because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake."
That line might more appropriately, at least for Feeney, have been: "Public service is about admitting that you broke the law, five years after you took a huge favor from a corrupt lobbyist and were finally forced to admit it outloud in a desperate, last-ditch attempt, to save your Congressional meal ticket."
But he might have had trouble getting all of that into his :30 spot.
The ad also says, on screen: "Get the facts: Tom Feeney.com" Might we suggest if you really want the facts on Tom Feeney, one of the filthiest players remaining in Congress, that you see instead our special coverage page about him, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis worked at the same company as Feeney, back when Feeney was both the powerful Speaker of the Florida House and a lobbyist for the software firm with millions of dollars in state contracts. The same company also employed undocumented Chinese aliens working on systems for NASA and others, even as Feeney has continued to protect that company to this day (he was also their one-time general counsel) and has housed his campaign headquarters in their building.
A remarkable documentary film, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, covering that story, and The BRAD BLOG's attempts to tell it over the last four years, has just been released. If you'd rather learn the facts in movie form, please check out that film! NOTE: It's terrifying and includes untold details on at least two grizzly deaths related to the Curtis/Feeney scandal.
Curtis himself eventually switched to the Democratic Party following the incident and, after Congress refused to take action on Feeney, he ran unsuccessfully against him in 2006. His attempts to do so again this year were derailed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backed wealthy opponent Suzanne Kosmas in the primary. With polls showing the well-funded Kosmas in a tight race with Feeney, clearly, one of the dirtiest Republicans in America is now running very scared.