The Nation's John Nichols on new revelations of Scott Walker lying about a criminal investigation and on the Black Lives Matter movement and Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
Catching up on a lot that fell through the cracks during last week's busy news week. From Jon Stewart to new toxic spill in SW to sentencing verdict for Aurora shooter to GOP debate answers media aren't discussing & more...
Republicans made huge gains in the 2010 elections, promising to improve the economy. Isn’t it funny that the economy is now going back down? What isn’t funny is that 33 states — all with Republican controlled legislatures — have passed laws that make it more difficult to vote.
How can you tell that these laws are politically motivated? Well, in Texas, you can use a concealed handgun permit to identify yourself to vote, but you can’t use a student ID. And in Florida, they also restricted efforts by the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Proponents say the new laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but election law experts say that there is little evidence of voter fraud in US elections.
A senior aide and a consultant hired by former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) were indicted Thursday in a case stemming from thousands of anonymous robocalls placed on election night last year that suggested voters could stay home even though the polls were still open.
Paul Schurick, 54, Ehrlich’s de facto campaign manager, and Julius Henson, 62, a consultant paid by the campaign, were both charged with three counts of conspiracy to violate election laws, one count of influencing votes through fraud and one count of failing to identify the sponsor of the calls. In addition, Schurick was charged on one count of obstruction of justice.
In a statement, the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor, which obtained the indictments from a Baltimore grand jury, said its investigation is continuing. All but one of the charges handed down Thursday carry maximum prison sentences of five years.
Of course, while the Maryland scheme appears to have been criminal, this year, the more pressing problem is the fact that GOP state lawmakers aren’t resorting to robocall schemes; they’re just rigging the game before Election Day even comes.
As we talked about last week, there is a concerted national effort on the part of many Republican policymakers to make it harder for traditional Democratic voters to participate in the 2012 elections. Under the auspices of rooting out “voter fraud” — a problem that appears to exist largely in the over-active imaginations of GOP activists — Republicans are passing voter-ID measures, approving new laws restricting voter-registration drives, and closing early-voting windows.
If all goes according to plan, going forward, they won’t even need ridiculous schemes like the one in Maryland.
Of course, the new indictments handed down against Ehrlich's aides in MD (Ehrlich ended up losing the election anyway) are hardly the only examples of GOP election fraud going on out there, even as there are rarely indictments for any of it.
We recently detailed the story of the high-ranking Clay County, KY, election officials (including the County Clerk, a circuit court judge, and the school superintendent --- and other members of the County Election Commission) who were sentenced to a combined total of some 150 years in the federal penitentiary jail, for gaming elections for years in the county via buying and selling votes as well as, in 2006, actually changing the votes of voters on electronic touch-screen voting machines.
The complaint against Romney was filed by fellow GOP Presidential candidate Fred Karger, who was my in-studio guest last night on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show (which I'm guest hosting this week and the beginning of next). The audio from my interview with Karger last night about his voter fraud investigation and complaint against Romney, and much more, can be downloaded here [MP3], or listened to online below...
We're back guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show for the next few weeknights --- tonight through next Tuesday! Hope you can join us!
We'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT) each night, coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
PLUS: Media and Democratic Party idiocy over Anthony Weiner; good (and bad) news on Constitutional rights; Bush admin CIA targeted an American middle-east expert/blogger; Fake civil war in the Republican/U.S. Chamber of Commerce Party; and much more, including whatever's on your mind via calls to 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
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POST-SHOW UPDATE: Fast-paced show, with a GREAT interview with Fred Karger right in the middle! Be sure to give it a listen! The audio archives (and chat room archives) follow below. See ya again tomorrow night!...
Republicans in state after state across the country today, Memorial Day 2011, are remembering those who fought and died to protect our democracy by celebrating recent victories in their renewed effort to remove the right to vote for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of legal American voters.
Both of them, as opponents have documented over and over again, will serve to do little more than to disenfranchise far more legal (largely Democratic-leaning) voters than those who will be kept from fraudulently impersonating other voters at the polling place, which, as even most proponents admit when forced, happens almost never --- if it all.
Thankfully in at least one instance since our last report, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) of MN vetoed a photo ID measure passed by Republicans in his state. So there is one case, at least, where the memories of our fallen soldiers might be appropriately honored this weekend, as one governor has remembered to protect the very thing that so many of them died for.
Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enactment of Indiana's photo ID law in Crawford vs. Marion County Election Bd. (2008), both the new WI photo ID law, which may cost WI taxpayers $7 million to implement, and both the SC and TX photo ID laws, which do not even recognize student photo IDs, may be subject to significant legal challenges...
The GOP voter fraud epidemic continues unabated. The latest alleged felon? Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China, former Utah Governor --- and potential 2012 GOP Presidential candidate --- Jon Huntsman Jr.
Jon Huntsman Jr. is still registered to vote as a resident of the Utah governor’s mansion even through he resigned his office some 19 months ago to become the U.S. ambassador to China.
In fact, Huntsman voted by absentee ballot for last year’s general election using the state-owned mansion on South Temple as his Utah residence — months after Gov. Gary Herbert settled into the historic building and Huntsman purchased a home in Washington, D.C.
Of course, Huntsman is a Republican, so different "voter fraud" laws apply to them, in general, than to other Americans.
"It is generally illegal for voters to cast ballots using a residential address where they no longer reside," the Tribune notes before giving Huntsman a pass. "But state and federal law seem to back Huntsman’s ability to still vote using the governor’s mansion as his home because that was his last address before he left for Beijing to serve as an employee of the U.S. government."
Despite that, as the very same article notes, "Last June, Huntsman purchased a $3.6 million home in a tony D.C. neighborhood." So while he may have had cause to specify his last U.S. address as Utah prior to last June, one wonders why officials are overlooking the fact that he owned a D.C. home well prior to last November's general election, when he voted using a registration at a residence where he hadn't lived for more than a year and a half.
"Our campaign had an undeniable, unmistakable message," he told his supporters during his victory speech on Election Night, "and that message could be summed up in three words, three words which were on every one of our 4 billion highway signs: 'stop voter fraud.'"
"And now that clear message becomes transformed into a clear mandate," Kansas' Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach (R) told his fans that night, promising "significant reforms" to the state's election system. Answered with cheers in the Topeka ballroom Kobach promised: "We are gonna have Photo ID at the polls."
As he stated himself, Kobach's campaign was almost entirely built on the promise of putting a stop to the state's out-of-control (and also, non-existent, but ssshhh, don't tell anybody) "voter fraud" epidemic. But now that the election's over, he's having trouble identifying any actual instances of the horrible scourge he helped trick Republican voters into believing actually existed.
Talking Points Memo, who has done a bang-up job of keeping tabs on Kobach's duplicity over the past year, caught up with the SoS-elect yesterday after he spoke on a "civil rights" panel at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention and asked him how the hunt is going.
He, um, had trouble actually citing any evidence of voter fraud since, as of now, he "hadn't heard of any." "There have been a few cases where I've heard allegations of voter fraud," he says, "but we're just a few weeks out from the election."
No doubt, the evidence will come rolling in soon. The only question is will it come in before or after Kobach and his anti-democracy GOP cronies enact disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at the polling place, as promised, despite the fact that such laws have been shown time and again to keep millions of legal minority, elderly, and student (read: Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their ballots.
Here's TPM's short video interview with Kobach in which --- just in case you hadn't any doubt about the bankruptcy of his claims --- he also alludes to the long-discredited Rightwing scam-artist/"voter fraud" fraudster John Fund, whose book on "voter fraud" has, itself, been debunked as a fraud over and again...
Seems highly unlikely for the national general counsel of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., who knowingly misled Congress on that point and many others. But perhaps after our years dogging him and detailing his lies and phony agenda working to keep legal (Democratic-leaning) citizens from being able to exercise their legal right to vote, he's gotten tired of being the poster boy for the Republican's anti-democracy campaign.
For various reasons, now seems a good moment to mention that The BRAD BLOG was honored this year with a prestigious Project Censored 2010 award for our coverage of the mysterious death of the GOP's IT guru Mike Connell. Connell, for those unfamiliar with the story (see background links at bottom of this article) was in the process of testifying about his rumored role in helping the GOP carry out fraud in Ohio's '04 Presidential Election when he was then reportedly threatened by Karl Rove. Weeks later he suddenly plunged to his death in a single-engine plane crash just before Christmas last year as he was preparing to land near Akron, on his way home from one of his frequent trips to D.C..
Project Censored, based out of Sonoma State University, has been highlighting overlooked stories each year since 1976, and was recognized by Walter Cronkite as "one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured our newspaper and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism."
Co-Editors Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff have been kind enough to offer us a number of signed copies at a reduced rate so that we can offer them as premiums to readers of The BRAD BLOG to help continue our work here.
The 9,000 word chapter I wrote for the book is titled "Election 2008: Vanishing Votes, Disappearing Democracy and Media Misdirection" and includes sections named "And You Lose Your Vote! And You Lose Your Vote! And You Lose Your Vote!..."; "FirstWorst in the Nation"; "America Flips Out, Media Barely Notices, Parties Barely Care"; "Democrats Nowhere to be Found"; and "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain."
If you'd like a copy of this great book (Makes a great holiday gift! I'll sign it as well, if you wish!), chocked full of important, overlooked stories from the last year or so, along with follow-ups to them --- and a lot of real information on the story of Election 2008 seen here for the first time in print --- please do one of the following:
Alternately (and even preferably!) sign up for a monthly sustaining donation of $15 or more in the blue box in the right sidebar on this page, or
Send a check for $50 or more via snail mail, (note when sending that it's for "Censored 2010"), to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Your support is greatly appreciated, and tremendously needed, as we receive no foundational or corporate support for our work here! Your contributions are largely the only thing that keep us going! So thank you in advance for any help here!
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Links to The BRAD BLOG's most recent coverage of the Mike Connell story follows below...
We are thankful for the opportunity to honor the work of John Gideon by continuing the Daily Voting News. We appreciate the encouragement expressed and patience during this transition under trying times. Because multiple days are covered in this issue of the DVN, news items within a given state are in chronological order; the date of publication appears in headline of the article for this issue only.
Voter participation issues (such as photo ID and caging) have been much in the news....
Kindra Muntz, president of Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) emailed over the weekend to request "nationwide pressure" be placed on legislators in Tallahassee and, given the ugliness of this particular effort, we'd agree. See the bottom of this article for some action links which Muntz suggests taking to counter what she describes as a "dangerous" and "devastating" bill being quietly fast-tracked through the FL legislature by the GOP down there this week.
Here's a couple of passages from two no-holds-barred editorials from over the weekend, excoriating this latest, blatant attempt at voter suppression by the Sunshine State Republicans who, this time, have got elderly voters (and much more) in their cross-hairs. Among a few pretty horrible things this bill does (see below for much more), it would end the use of "Retirement center identification" and "Neighborhood association identification" for the elderly when voting at the polling place.
The first editorial below comes from the St. Petersburg Times which calls the effort "disgraceful," a "naked grab for power," and charges, "Republican legislative leaders have lost all sense of shame with their 11th-hour bill to roll back voting rights in Florida."...
In my opinion voter suppression is an ugly act. When one party is in power and then pushes legislation that only serves to help to ensure they will stay in power then there is something wrong with our democracy. This is now the case in Florida where the party in power waited until week seven of a nine week legislative session to attempt to ram-rod through bills in both the House and Senate that will help to ensure they stay in power. Our two ‘Featured’ editorials (here and here) explain what is happening in Florida much better than I can. ...
Federal agencies were involved in the decision to raid the office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Nevada last October, just weeks before Election Day, the offices of Nevada’s Secretary of State and Attorney General say.
The allegations raise questions of whether politics played a part in the raid and calls into question assertions by the US Attorney’s office that they were uninvolved. Federal guidelines instruct agencies investigating election fraud to avoid action that might impact the elective process.
Bob Walsh, a spokesman for Nevada’s Secretary of State, and Edie Cartwright, a spokeswoman for Nevada’s Attorney General, said that not only were the Nevada US Attorney’s Office and the FBI involved in investigating Nevada ACORN on allegations of voter registration fraud but that all four agencies jointly made the decision to conduct the raid. Both the investigation and the raid were conducted as part of the joint federal-state Election Integrity Task Force announced last July, the spokespersons said.
Okay, so I've been asked on several occasions, since the election last year, what I regard as the top priorities for election reform in the U.S. of A. In hopes of keeping it simple, stupid, at least until I hear opinions on these back from you folks, here is a summary list of the most important, and most eminently-doable-at-the-federal-level reforms as I see it.
I welcome your thoughts, recommended changes, additions, etc. For the moment, this is not meant as a comprehensive list of all needed reforms, particularly at the various local levels. But it's meant as a list of the big ones, as I seem them, and the ones for which I believe we could actually find a consensus in this Congress sooner rather than later. Nor is this meant as whitepaper with arguments and details for each item. But hopefully most regular readers of The BRAD BLOG will understand what these reforms entail and why they are necessary, as written in this summarized, simple list.
After hearing from you all, I may post an updated version later and/or set these up on their own page, in order track legislation for each of them as they roll (or don't) through Congress. Here's the list...
Might we suggest these Republicans get their lies straight before going public?
From Republican State Representative Tom Emmer's press release today, on the defeat of his restrictive Photo ID voting bill in the MN legislature this morning:
"The U.S. Senate recount has given us evidence of twenty-five precincts in Minnesota where more votes were cast than the rolls had registered voters," said Emmer. "How does a situation like that not cry out for a safeguard that will return confidence in our election process to Minnesota voters?"
Just now, from attorney James Langdon, arguing on behalf of former Republican Senator Norm Coleman, in the U.S. Senate election contest in MN:
"There hasn't been a whiff here, of any fraud."
But why quibble when we might be able to disenfranchise (Democratic-leaning) voters in a democracy? By the way, the RNC seems to agree with Langdon, not Emmer:
Not that any of that will stop any Republican anywhere from doing everything they can to keep legal (Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their legal votes through Photo ID restrictions, or anything else they can think of.
The Mississippi State Senate has made an unusual move; they've pulled legislation that they passed on January 15 requiring that voters show a photo ID before being allowed to vote, stripped all amendments out of it, and passed the new legislation.
The previous version had an amendment that allowed voters age 65 and older to vote without showing a photo ID. Mississippi's Republican Governor Haley Barbour had pressed for the removal of that exemption. He got his wish...