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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By John Gideon on 9/2/2008 4:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The news from Palm Beach Co Florida is not getting any better. The official recount is complete as required by the state. By state law they have exactly one week to count ballots, rectify any problems, do any required recounts, and certify that everything is correct. Of course that is all without any court orders and it looks more and more like this election will be going to the courts.

The original election evening count seems to have been 102,523 and the final recount total was 99,045. The only race that was recounted was a race for a judicial seat and the winner flipped from one candidate to another from the original to the final recount. The original difference was 17 votes and the final was 60 votes.

The big question is what happened to over 3,400 ballots. The losing candidate will be going to court to ask that question among others. And now any candidate in any other race who lost by less than 3,400 votes is also being encouraged to go to court and demand a recount or re-election.

There is a lot wrong with this situation. The state is wrong in forcing a quick handling of the ballots. No wonder mistakes are made and more seem to be made in Florida than most other states. A complete investigation must be held inside the county to figure out what happened and why it happened. Was it administration issues or the voting system? And why did members of the county canvassing board sign an official document that had no final numbers on it? The voters need to know that and they need to know before November....

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New Information Could be 'Most Politically Detrimental,' Adds Further Heat to the Burning Questions About the Vetting of the Alaskan Governor by John McCain
UPDATE: Chair of AIP Backs Off Claims of Palin Membership in Party, Confirms Palin's Husband Was Member...
By Margie Burns on 9/2/2008 11:57am PT  

Guest Blogged by Margie Burns...

The wealth of material on Sen. John McCain's Veep pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, just keeps getting richer. Apparently the old saying that you can never be too rich or too thin applies to resumes.

Last night, Brad covered a wide-range of recently emerging issues and concerns about Palin --- and McCain's judgment in having chosen her --- and asked whether she can even survive on the ticket through November 4th. Today, the New York Times front pages an Elisabeth Bumiller report revealing that McCain seems to have only begun vetting Palin last week, after his two preferred selections, pro-choice advocates Sen. Joe Lieberman and Gov. Mark Ridge, were nixed by the party's right wing.

So as Republicans scramble to vet their choice far too late, additional revelations continue to emerge (notably, beginning in the blogosphere, long before the MSM finally catches up.) The latest latest comes via Liz Arnett at Daily Kos, and includes videos in which the Alaska governor is seen as a member and supporter of the fringe Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), which aspires to secession from the union.

Steve Benen regards this latest information about Palin's past as perhaps "the most politically detrimental" of all the recently emerging discoveries about the little-known-until-now Governor of Alaska...

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

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With Mounting Questions and Scrutiny of McCain's Judgment in his Choice for Veep, Can the First Term Alaskan Governor Survive to Stay on the Ticket Until the General Election?
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2008 11:25pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road...

It's only Monday. John McCain announced his selection of Sarah Palin as his VP on Friday. Given that we've had a hurricane, the wrap of one convention, the beginning of another, and all of it over a Labor Day weekend, it's amazing how many questions about Palin --- and McCain's judgment in selecting her --- have come to light in just the past four days.

Were it not for the near-total lock on the media by the right wing, I can't see how she'd possibly make it through another week, much less the General Election. Even with that lock, I still don't see how she ultimately survives at this rate.

(Though Dem partisans might be careful what they wish for, as a second shot at it will almost certainly bring a more sensible, and palatable, pick.)

The most salacious of the concerns (so far) came today, as 1) the admission that Palin's unwed teenage daughter is pregnant and 2) she's now lawyering up in Alaska to fight the "TrooperGate" investigation.

And then there are all the other concerns and questions, becoming legion by the hour. The mountain of revelations has led conservative Andrew Sullivan to declare, in regard to McCain's arguably most important decision of the campaign: "McCain is more incompetent as an executive than Bush."

Obama partisan John Aravosis notes that McCain had six months to the make this decision, "longer to consider that choice than any other presidential candidate in history." Yet tomorrow's New York Times reveals that after McCain's first choices of Lieberman and Ridge were nixed by the wingnuts, he caved to them, and hastily installed Palin with virtually no vetting whatsoever. Add that to what's already known about McCain's flubbed roll-out of Palin (she was in favor of the "Bridge to Nowhere" before she was against it, she raised taxes even though they said she was a tax-cutter, etc.) and this Veep nomination is clearly in trouble

And if all of the above wasn't disaster enough for both Palin, and more importantly, McCain, there are the more routine questions of her actual positions and qualifications. You know, the stuff that's normally important to someone nominated to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Take a look at this painful drubbing that McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds took from CNN's Campell Brown, of all people (she leans consistently right, and is married to diehard Bush Admin loyalist Dan Senor --- a point the network, to my knowledge, and its continuing shame, rarely, if ever, discloses) on the topic of Palin's foreign affairs experience...or utter lack thereof.


Then there's the more mundane, such as this chestnut, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan again:

From an Eagle Forum Candidate Questionnaire:

Q: Are you offended by the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

PALIN: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

The phrase was added in 1954.

How she survives, I can only imagine; it has to be because we live in the media world we live in. But never mind what happens, for the truth of the issue, no matter how it's reported, Sullivan sums it up nicely:

"You know what this pick reminds me of? Invading a country with no plans for what to do once you got there."

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By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2008 9:39am PT  

The youngest member of our host family in Boulder, CO, last week seemed to be on her way to making a clear choice. Feel free to add your own photo caption in comments...

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Just 18 Votes Separate Candidates in Circuit Judge Race Where Votes Are Said Lost in Re-tally on Sequoia Optical-Scan Voting Systems
'Severe Repercussions, Dire Consequences for November Election and All Elections,' Says Broward County Election Supervisor Candidate...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2008 1:52pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, from Denver, CO...

16,632 votes are unaccounted for in a Palm Beach County election recount following last Tuesday's state primary, according to Ellen H. Brodsky, non-partisan candidate for Supervisor of Elections in Broward County and a long-time Election Integrity advocate.

The machine recount was completed early Saturday morning in the Circuit Court race between Judge Richard Wennet and challenger William Abramson, Brodsky reports via email. The machine recount was completed at 4:30am, in the race in which Wennet and Abramson were separated by just 18 votes in the initial machine tally. Palm Beach County recently changed voting systems again, moving from faulty touch-screen voting systems to --- apparently --- faulty optical-scan paper-ballot systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. [PDF].

The still-unexplained "disappearance" of votes in the machine recount "has severe repercussions," Brodsky wrote in an email alert this afternoon describing the re-scan of some 90,000 ballots.

"With 16,632 less votes on summary report," she writes, it "portends dire consequences for the November election and all elections."

The question remains as to how many votes were lost in other races on the same ballot which were not included in last night's re-tally. Florida state law disallows hand-counting of paper ballots which have already been counted by machine, other than in special circumstances. We'll see if this ends up being one of those circumstances. Theoretically, a hand-count would determine the correct totals for the race, where the machine-count has misreported totals. [UPDATE: Palm Beach Post reports the machine recount was close enough to allow for a hand-count of over votes and undervotes. See more in the update at end of this article.]

Sequoia's voting machines have seen notorious failures of late, including lost votes and other problems, around the country...

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

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GOP 'Mastermind' Was Speaking About the Possible Choice of Gov. Kaine as Obama Veep Earlier This Month
Said Such a Pick Would Come From Someone 'Not Concerned' if Veep Choice Was 'Capable of Being President'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2008 10:24am PT  

"Silent Patriot" over at Crooks & Liars has the video, and a bit more detail to go with this. But here's the condensed version [emphasis in original]:

On August 10, Karl Rove went on “Face The Nation” to argue that Senator Obama would make an “intensely political choice” for Vice President without regard for the “responsibilities of president.” At the time, Rove believed Obama would choose Tim Kaine, and argued against him by saying this:

With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it’s smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?

...
Rove argues that Kaine’s mayorship of Richmond (pop. 200,000+) is insignificant and that his 3 years as Governor of Virginia (pop. 7,712,091, GDP $383 million) has been “indistinguisahable.” If Rove was intellectually consistent, wouldn’t that mean Palin’s mayorship of Wasilla (pop. 8,000+) and 20 months as Alaska governor (pop. 683,478, GDP $44.5 million) makes her even less qualified than Kaine?
...
So, Karl, who made the “intensely political choice”?

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U.S. Attorney Troy Eid's Curious Definition of 'True Threat,' His Links to Goodling and Abramoff, and the Media's Failure to Serve and Protect
By Brad Jacobson on 8/29/2008 11:56am PT  

Guest Blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound...

Was the U.S. media admirably discreet or just plain ineffectual in covering news of the arrest of three men suspected of plotting to assassinate Barack Obama during his acceptance speech at Invesco Field?

First, consider the evidence: One of the men arrested, Nathan Johnson said the other two men, Tharin Gartrell and Shawn Robert Adolph, "had planned to kill Barack Obama...on Thursday...," which was why they were in Denver, and that "Adolph was going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a 22-250 rifle which had been sighted at 750 yards." According to the FBI, "Johnson was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama and he responded in the affirmative." The Denver police found in their possession two high-powered rifles with scopes, 85 rounds of ammunition, a bullet-proof vest, walkie-talkies, wigs, fake I.D.s, hotel reservations near the convention and 4.4 grams of methamphetamine, an amount, however, too small to be charged with more than simple possession. (Yet, for some reason, Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy Eid put a much greater focus on this relatively little amount of meth and their use of it than on the other apparent highly incriminating pieces of evidence obtained, including Johnson's statements). All three men have long criminal records, are suspected of having ties to white supremacist groups, and one of the men, Adolph, who was on the Weld County, Colo., sheriff department's "Most Wanted" list for burglary, larceny, aggravated motor vehicle theft and other charges, has a violent criminal history and is being held on $1 million bond for outstanding warrants.

During U.S. Attorney of Colorado Troy Eid's peculiar press conference Tuesday night, he characterized the men as "just a bunch of meth heads," framing his question-and-answer session with reporters more like an anti-drug campaign sloganeer than a chief law enforcement official: "You know, I don't know, uh, bunch of meth heads get together, I don't know what they do, I don't get inside their brain. But we take them very seriously what they do. I have to just emphasize this is a group of people, there were a number of people, that are using meth. I don't know how many of you know meth, anyone here not know about meth? This is a really terrible drug. People do all sorts of stupid things on meth." He followed that response with: "There is no credible threat right now and there was no credible threat based on the evidence that we have to Senator Obama or anybody else related to what we know about this case." Asked what the weapons could be for (not to mention the ammo, bullet-proof vest, wigs, fake I.D.s, etc.), Eid answered only, "You know, I don't know what they were for and we'll keep looking into that." Eid went on to say, "You know, they didn't, they didn't reveal a plan. I think what you can see in the affidavit was, uh, a lot of racist rantings and a lot of dislike for the idea of Senator Obama as an African-American person of color being able to pursue that office."

But Eid's statement appears to be patently false. As reported by the Associated Press:

Johnson later told a federal agent that the men talked about assassinating Obama only because he was black, according to a federal arrest affidavit. Johnson said he also heard Adolf say that he wanted to kill Obama "on the day of his inauguration" and that he would "find high ground to set up and shoot Obama," the affidavit said.

That's not merely, as Eid called it, "the racist rantings of drug abusers." Rather, coupled with the arsenal found, it shows motive, intent and a plan. And, to be clear, contrary to what Eid told the press, it was in the affidavit.

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

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Is She Dan Quayle in a Skirt?
A Quick Look at 2-Year Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin...
By Jon Ponder on 8/29/2008 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.


In the clip, you'll see John McCain's pick for vice president, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, interviewed by the nauseatingly unctuous Glenn Beck, which makes the clip NSE (not safe for eating while watching). The interview actually starts at 4:20.

She was on the program to discuss her lawsuit against the Bush administration to stop them from including polar bears on the endangered species list, and reveals herself to be a rabid anti-environmentalist and a strong proponent of global warming, who favors drilling in her state's pristine wildernesses.

Here are a some highlights of her biography:

  • She was born in 1964, and is the youngest and first female governor of Alaska
  • She's a former beauty queen: In 1984, Palin was second-place in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, winning a scholarship to help pay her way through college. In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality
  • She is married to her high school sweetheart, Todd Palin. They have five children, including a son who is serving in Iraq
  • Her political resume appears to be thin. She was a city councilmember and mayor in Wasilla, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Alaska and then served as the ethics chair of a state energy commission, but later resigned in disgust at the unethical behavior she uncovered. She has been governor since January 2007
  • She is a former follower of Christian nationalist Pat Buchanan and is a member of Feminists for Life and opposes gay marriage. However, she claims to have gay friends and vetoed a measure that would have withheld benefits for gay state employees
  • She likes to hunt and eat moose burgers
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Pawlenty, Romney Said to Be Out...
By Jon Ponder on 8/29/2008 7:19am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

[UPDATE 7:39am PT: NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell has confirmed that McCain has picked Palin.]

No less a source than Fox News says this morning that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is en route to Ohio this morning, and is likely to be John McCain choice to be his running mate.

Fox also reports that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is out of the running. Meanwhile, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told a local radio station this morning that he will not be in Ohio later today when John McCain names his vice presidential running mate.

About Palin, Fox reports that "a charter aircraft from Anchorage had arrived in Dayton, Ohio, where McCain has scheduled a noon ET rally to announce his choice."

Of course, because the source is Fox News, the story about Palin could be disinformation sent out by the McCain campaign

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Arizona's Jon Kyl Shows Up at the Democratic Convention in Denver to Friendly Faces in the Media...Until We Try to Do Something About That...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2008 12:18pm PT  

Here's an object lesson in so much that's wrong with the corporate mainstream media.

U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, the Republican from Arizona, showed up at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night. He was mobbed by "reporters" from the corporate media (people with large video cameras and microphones who turn them on, point them towards famous people, and allow them to say whatever they want without ever challenging them in any way) out front of the Pepsi Center in Denver.

I happened to be there as well, with a much smaller video camera rolling, and the willingness to actually try to hold Kyl's feet to the fire.

First he had mentioned John McCain's "experience" in foreign policy that allowed him to deal with situations like the Russia/Georgia conflict in a way that Barack Obama couldn't. The "reporters" asked no follow-ups in response to Kyl's unsupported talking point, so I tried to ask him how McCain could deal with the two parties as an honest broker, given that he has senior campaign staffers who are paid lobbyists for Georgia. Kyle dodged the question and quickly moved onto something else. I tried to follow up, but he ignored me.

Then, when one of the "reporters" asked Kyl a hard-hitting question about whether he had "seen anything this week that made [him] cringe," he referred to Bill Clinton's convention speech, made within the past hour that night. Responding to the compliant, smiling media zombies he charged that Clinton had cited "statistics...that are not accurate." However, the Senator gave no evidence for those allegations, and the zombies didn't press him, so I decided to do so.

Here, then - with my polite pauses, allowing him to ramble on in answer to other inane questions from the zombies, edited out for time --- is what it looked like...


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By John Gideon on 8/27/2008 4:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today Premier/Diebold has again had to accept the blame for voting machine failures. This time the optical scan machines that had tallied absentee ballots in Sarasota County would not upload the totals to the main server and refused to post elections in Hillsborough County. Election officials in Sarasota ended up having to count 10,000 ballots by hand. It is a good thing they had the paper ballots to count by hand or those votes would have been lost....

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

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By Jon Ponder on 8/27/2008 4:23pm PT  

Bob Novak, the rightwing columnist who treasonously revealed the clandestine identity of CIA WMD investigator Valerie Plame, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, but recently returned to producing short squibs for his syndicate, including the latest on Joe Lieberman's chances of being named as John McCain's VP on Friday:

Reports of strong support within John McCain's presidential campaign for Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman as the Republican candidate for vice president are not a fairy tale. Influential McCain backers, plus McCain himself, would pick the pro-choice liberal from Connecticut if they thought they could get away with it.

But they can't get away with it --- and this has been made clear to McCain by none other than Joe Lieberman himself.

Lieberman surely doesn't know that much about Republican politics, but he has close Republican friends. One of them prevailed on Lieberman to tell McCain that a McCain-Lieberman ticket would be a disaster for all concerned, and especially for the GOP.

We should be so lucky.

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Time of Speeches Moved Up; Hillary 'Releases' Delegates, Does Not Direct Them to Vote for Obama
UPDATED: Hillary Stops Roll Call Vote With Call for Obama Nomination 'By Acclamation'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2008 1:45pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Denver...

[Updated at end of article...Including details on Hillary Clinton dramatically saving the day...]

Allow me to stress the unconfirmed nature of this report before I even tell you what I'm hearing. It's difficult to get information and/or confirm out here on such things, so take it with the grain of salt that it's currently intended to be served with.

That said, a reliable source on one of the state delegations tells me that today's nominating speeches have been moved up from 4:30pm to 3:45pm MT. (That much, we've now been able to confirm from a couple of different sources.) The reason for the move, so the speculation has it, is that there may be concerns of a floor fight on the way in regard to the roll-call nominations of Clinton and Obama.

I don't have much more than that, and Clinton's hopes for her supporters to move their support to Obama during last night's speech seemed pretty damned clear. So, for now, let's consider this report a rumor only for the moment (which I don't usually like reporting without confirm). But if the source is correct, it's certainly something noteworthy enough to watch out for, along with all of those caveats.

Todd Beeton at MyDD reports on Hillary's comments, within the last hour or so, at a meeting of her delegates. Some of her noteworthy comments to her delegates, as reported by Beeton, follow...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2008 1:31am PT  

Late night in the Pepsi Center, after almost all of the delegates had cleared out, and only a few folks in the press corps remained, Sen. Joe Biden came out to do a walk-through for tomorrow night's speech. We happened to be there to catch it, along with a phalanx of camera's and Andrea Mitchell who asked the only questions, including the insightfully probing "Senator, what did you think of Hillary's message?"

Surprisingly, Biden didn't say "it really sucked, Andrea. Worst speech I've seen in years." Here's the quick video...


...Later, at the CNN Grill, someone slapped me on the ass and said, "Good game, buddy!" When I turned around, it was an apparently inebriated Charles Barkley.

These conventions are weird.

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A Bird's Eye View and Open Thread...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2008 8:37pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Denver...

I'm up in the press skyboxes at the Pepsi Center tonight where Hillary Clinton just finished her speech. The place was absolutely jammed, literally, to the rafters, as the "UNITY" "HILLARY" "OBAMA" signs flowed on schedule through the throngs.

How she did will be up to you to decide. Or rather, for ABCNBCCBSCNNMSNBCFOX to tell you how to decide. May have more later tonight, though it's been a very long day here. So let's consider this an open thread for your thoughts on tonight's pageantry, until I'm able to check back in again...

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