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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 10, 2015
Caught on Tape: FL GOP's Race-Based Scheme To Dilute Minority Representation
State Rep is heard revealing plot to oust black U.S. Congresswoman with gerrymandering scheme, as a somewhat related landmark U.S. Supreme Court hearing looms...
Speaker Interrupted: 'BradCast' 10/8/15
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) joins guest host Nicole Sandler to discuss stunning turns of events in GOP plan to replace Boehner; Also: Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler on U.S. bombing of hospitcal in Afghanistan...
'Green News Report' 10/8/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Sen. Graham wants aid for SC flooding, voted against it for Hurricane Sandy!; Enviros slam TPP; New pesticide rules; Fracking waste; PLUS: Obama creates new sanctuaries...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 10/6/15 - Archives...
Shredding the NRA's 'Good Guy With a Gun' Myth:
'BradCast' 10/7/15
The Nation's Joshua Holland explains why combat vets laugh at the ridiculous lie. Also: GOP Rep. who defunded gun research regrets it; Boehner could stay Speaker; and more!...
Electric BUG-Aloo: How VW Can Save Itself and the World: 'BradCast' 10/6/15
Author Steve LaVine on e-cars and our battery-powered near-future; ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham's short memory; GOP bum fight for U.S. House Speaker; and Jeb's 'death rattle'...
'Green News Report' 10/6/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record rain, flooding in South Carolina -- is this the new normal?; India will cut its carbon emissions; PLUS: EPA announces new ozone rules to cut dangerous air pollution...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 9/29/15 - Archives...
'New Normal': Climate Change and SC's '1000-Year Flood': 'BradCast' 10/5/15
Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann joins us to discuss that and much more. Plus: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Making Sense' Edition
A grim week in the Toons, though 'PDiddie' manages to find a few laughs in his latest curated collection of the week's best...
AL Shuts Down Photo ID Offices; IA Blocks Former Felons: 'BradCast' 10/1/15
With ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein; PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
'Green News Report' 10/1/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jeb wants more oil and gas in US; Alberta, home of tar sands oil, wants to phase it out; New standards for refineries; PLUS: Tesla unveils world's first all-electric SUV...
Previous GNRs: 9/29/15 - 9/24/15 - Archives...
Hand-Counting Paper Ballots in Columbia County, NY: 'BradCast' 9/29/15
Guests: Both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners of Columbia County! Plus: Rush on Mars; MSNBC snubs Bernie...
'Green News Report' 9/29/15
China to launch cap and trade system; Pope calls for UN climate treaty; Report: World can move to 100% renewables in just 35 years; PLUS: Shell quits the Arctic...
Exxon Knew All Along: 'BradCast' 9/28/15
Neela Banerjee on Exxon's long knowledge of global warming and their efforts to obscure it. Also: Shell quits the Arctic; NASA's big discovery; Obama, Putin at U.N....
Sunday Toons: 'Political Climate Change'
PDiddie's latest curated collection of an explosive week in political toonery...
Bye, Bye, Boehner; Hello (Again), Florida Vote Suppression: 'BradCast' 9/25/15
And many other breaking world affairs at the end of an insanely busy news week...
Sanders' Three-Phase 'Political Revolution'
Ernest Canning on Bernie's battle for the 2016 Dem nomination, what happens if he receives it, and how he'd be able to govern as President of the United States...
The Pope & the Dopes - Francis Goes to Congress: 'BradCast' 9/24/15
Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network...
'Green News Report' 9/24/15
Pope delivers climate change message in D.C.; 11 House GOPers call for climate action; Big biz pledges to go renewable; PLUS: Hillary finally announces KXL position...
Pope Francis and the GOP! VW and the Voting Scam!: 'BradCast' 9/23/15
Plus a bunch of callers on all of the above (some quite amusing) and much more!...
Walker's Failed Campaign; Fuller's Serial Spousal Abuse: 'BradCast' 9/22/15
Guest: WI native John Nichols of The Nation. PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position Keystone XL!...
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

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

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

FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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

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

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

'For Refusal of WH Attorney Miers and Chief of Staff Bolten to Comply With Duly Issued Subpeonas'
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2007 1:20pm PT  

Just in from the House Judiciary Committee...


***Update: House Judiciary Committee Files Contempt of Congress Report with House Clerk***

(Washington, DC)- Today, at approximately 2:45 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee filed its contempt of Congress report with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. The full text is available online here.

The report filed (as linked above) is an 842-page PDF file.

Earlier today RAW STORY reported the "one last chance" being offered to the White House by House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), that would lead to his committee dropping the contempt recommendation.

UPDATE: The report filed is for criminal contempt, versus inherent contempt. The former relies on any contempt citation being picked up by the U.S. Attorney from D.C. The latter is an option, rarely used, available to either house of Congress to hold their own hearings in the Capitol, in which the Sergeant-at-Arms could be instructed to jail those found guilty of such contempt. Unlike criminal contempt, inherent contempt would not rely on the DoJ's agreement to pursue the charges. Bush attorneys have already made clear that they would not allow attorneys in the Justice Dept. to do so.

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Nelson and Co-Sponsor Whitehouse Rewrite Originally Introduced Bill to Do Away with Discredited Systems by 2012 and 'Any Subsequent Year'
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2007 11:07pm PT  

-- By Brad Friedman

After months of being told over and over by Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) office, People for the American Way (PFAW), and many of the other most ardent supporters of Holt's flawed Election Reform Bill (HR811) that "there is no support in Congress for a ban on DREs," it looks like they must have been wrong. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and co-sponsor Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) filed such a bill today.

Here's the complete bill [PDF] which we've yet to read in full. But note this item from page 41, Line 7:

A direct recording electronic voting system may not be used to administer any election for Federal office held in 2012 or any subsequent year.

A ban on such machines, finally? Yes! By 2012? Unfortunately, yes. But let's overlook that last point for a moment.

In a statement issued by Nelson today, pointing out that DRE (often referred to as "touch-screen") voting systems are "unreliable and vulnerable to error," the senator says, "The bottom line is we have to ensure every vote is counted – and, counted properly...Citizens must have confidence in the integrity of their elections.”

The new language banning DREs was added today to a previous version of the same bill which Nelson had introduced originally in early Summer. This version "would be the first [bill] to seek a ban on electronic touch-screen voting machines in federal elections nationwide," according to his statement, which adds that the language was updated after a recent meeting with Florida's Republican Secretary of State Kurt Browning, once an ardent support of DRE voting systems.

When Nelson's original version of the legislation was introduced some months ago, it was largely a "clone version" of Holt's original HR811 introduced in the House, but with a number of extra provisions addressing concerns of voter intimidation and suppression.

Little attention had been given to Nelson's bill at the time, since the Rules Committee was regarded as having jurisdiction for any Election Reform bills in the Senate, and the committee chair, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), had made clear she intended to introduce her own version of Election Reform as the Senate counterpart to Holt's. She eventually introduced S. 1487, which has been subsequently criticized by Election Integrity advocates as being even more flawed then Holt's much-criticized bill.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: We were invited to work on the Holt bill prior to its introduction, and succeeded in adding several much-improved provisions. Yet the bill, as currently written --- and far more so since being drastically watered down throughout the committee process --- has failed to garner our support.)

DREs: "Not a Reasonable Voting System"

Neither Feinstein's nor Holt's bill had called for a ban on DRE voting systems, however, despite an outcry among Election Integrity advocates and a host of computer scientists and security experts who argued that DREs were vulnerable to hacking, non-transparent, prone to error, antithetical to democracy, and thus simply could not be used safely in elections. With or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) printer attached.

Johns Hopkins computer professor Avi Rubin testified earlier this year that "after four years of studying the issue, I now believe that a DRE with a VVPAT is not a reasonable voting system."

Stanford professor and founder David Dill, arguing in favor of the Holt bill, admitted, "I would personally prefer to see optical scan machines used nationwide."

And former legislative director of Warren Stewart, now also of VerifiedVoting, had told a Senate panel earlier this year that while there were disagreements among some in the EI movement, most had agreed that touch-screen systems must not not be used. "While this broad based movement embraces a wide range of proposals and positions," he testified, "it is unified in the conclusion that the direct electronic recording of votes to computer memory is inimical to democracy."

And yet, all three of the above advocates, along with many others, continued to argue --- while failing to offer any actual evidence for the claim --- that there was simply no support for the idea of a DRE ban in either house of the U.S. Congress.

All the while, The BRAD BLOG had maintained that they, and the other Holt supporters, had fallen victim to a hoax by People for the American Way (PFAW). The popular public advocacy group had long pushed the unsupported notion that there was no congressional support for such a ban, in order to see the bill passed specifically without such a ban. It was one of several false notions being forwarded by the group in favor of the bill, as we argued both here and at Alernet early in the year.

A careful examination of PFAW's on-the-record statements, and numerous on and off-the-record conversations with their Executive Director and legislative leaders by The BRAD BLOG over many months, revealed that PFAW (almost inexplicably) has actually been advocating in favor of the use of dangerous DRE voting systems in American elections. It's fair to say that Holt's bill had thus been held hostage to ensure that such systems would not be banned.

But then came the fallout from the failed 13th Congressional District election last November in Nelson's home state, followed by California Sec. of State Debra Bowen's landmark scientific findings, Rep. Susan Davis's (D-CA) amendment this past summer, and a killer editorial from the New York Times as the tide began to slowly turn...

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

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Gives Details to BRAD BLOG Alleging Testimony from Chief of DoJ Civil Rights Division Voting Section 'Not Believable,' Full of 'Evasion and Prevarication'
'He Lost No Time in Twisting the Truth,' Says 'Anonymous' Staffer in E-Mailed Rebuttal...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2007 3:01pm PT  

During yesterday morning's contentious hearings in the House Judiciary subcommittee, featuring DoJ Voting Chief, John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, a staffer in that division who we've come to know contacted The BRAD BLOG to say "Tanner is lying through his teeth."

We asked the staffer --- who has requested to remain "anonymous" for obvious reasons --- to elucidate with details, which are now posted in full below...

I welcome the opportunity to respond to John Tanner's testimony yesterday in front of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

We in the Voting Section were amazed to watch John Tanner's evasion and prevarication. He lost no time in twisting the truth. In his opening statement, he gives his usual litany about all the suits the [DoJ Civil Rights Division Voting] Section has filed. A huge percentage of them have been meaningless, the kinds of suits that never would have been filed under previous leadership. In the past, the Section Chief would pick up the phone, call the jurisdiction, and the jurisdiction would change its procedures. Only truly intransigent jurisdictions got sued. Now, the protocol is that even if we negotiate with the jurisdiction, we sue them, and many times, a previously negotiated consent decree is filed with the court the very same day the complaint is filed. The only possible justification for doing this is to pad the numbers of lawsuits we're filing.

Tanner says "The Section is so productive because of the energy, the enthusiasm, and the commitment of the Section staff." At this point, the only thing that the Section staff could conceivably be said to be energetic and enthusiastic about and committed to is the departure of John Tanner and his handpicked acting deputies, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere and Yvette Rivera. Tanner's ineptitude has done something most of the committed supporters of civil rights in the Section never thought possible: it's given us common cause with people across the aisle. We disagree with their ideology, but as one of them told me only today, Tanner has few supporters even over there. We are united in our belief in their inability to manage the Section. Aside from this, morale is at an ebb that even falls below that which existed when Hans von Spakovsky and Brad Schlozman ran roughshod over the Section.

The letter continues below...

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

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Dana Milbank Takes Down the DoJ's Voting Chief With His Own Testimony from Yesterday's House Judiciary Hearing
ADDITIONAL VIDEO SPANKINGS: Reps. Davis and Ellison's Q&As in Full...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2007 1:02pm PT  

Wow. Snap. Washington Post covered yesterday's House Judiciary subcommittee hearings in two separate articles today and via one hell of an online video to boot.

Dana Milbank covered on page 2, opening with "John Tanner is one sorry man." Dan Eggen covered the "political uproar" that we kicked off here at The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago, on page 4.

But it's Milbank's online "video sketch" that cuts to the bone, offering the best first-hand encapsulated coverage of the hearings we've seen to date (far better, even, than the PBS News Hour's version last night).

Consider the following montage a "Must See!" And one that almost makes one begin to feel sorry for John "Minorities Die First" Tanner...

...We said "almost." But not by much. A reply to Tanner's testimony yesterday --- from an insider still forced to work under him at the DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section --- to come shortly.

In the meantime, if you've yet to see the full smack-downs that Tanner received yesterday at the hands of Reps. Artur Davis (D-AL) and then Keith Ellison (D-MN), the videos of both of those brutal Q&As are posted in full below, and are similarly "Must Sees!"...

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'We have clearly reached the point where the status quo is unacceptable.'
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2007 1:36pm PT  

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, issues a statement in response to today's extremely contentious subcommittee hearing with star-witness John "Minorities Die First" Tanner. We live-blogged the hearings here (now updated with videos!)

Conyers had said, at one point during the hearing in response to Tanner's "all is well" testimony: "I hope that you will take what is directed at you as constructive, because the one thing I am concerned about is that we stop having happen what has happened since the 2000 elections. And then you come here to stagger our imagination by telling us that 'it's never been better,' its never been worse!"

His post-hearing statement, which follows in full below, concludes notably: "We have clearly reached the point where the status quo is unacceptable."...

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

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She's Prepared to Name Names, Including Those of Two 'Well-Known' Congress Members Involved in Criminal Corruption
The 'Most Gagged Person in U.S. History' Tells The BRAD BLOG She's Now Exhausted All Other Channels...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2007 5:30am PT  

-- By Brad Friedman

Attention CBS 60 Minutes: we've got a huge scoop for you. If you want it.

Remember the exclusive story you aired on Sibel Edmonds, originally on October 27th, 2002, when she was not allowed to tell you everything that she heard while serving as an FBI translator after 9/11 because she was gagged by the rarely-invoked "States Secret Privilege"? Well, she's still gagged. In fact, as the ACLU first described her, she's "the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America."

But if you'll sit down and talk with her for an unedited interview, she has now told The BRAD BLOG during an exclusive interview, she will now tell you everything she knows.

Everything she hasn't been allowed to tell since 2002, about the criminal penetration of the FBI where she worked, and at the Departments of State and Defense; everything she heard concerning the corruption and illegal activities of several well-known members of Congress; everything she's aware of concerning information omitted and/or covered up in relation to 9/11. All of the information gleaned from her time listening to and translating wire-taps made prior to 9/11 at the FBI.

Here's a handy bullet-point list, as we ran it in March of 2006, for reference, of what she's now willing to tell you about.

"People say, 'why doesn't she just come forward and spill the beans?' I have gone all the way to the Supreme Court and was shut down, I went to Congress and now consider that shut down," she told The BRAD BLOG last week when we spoke with her for comments in relation to our story on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's original attempt to move a resolution through the U.S. House in 2000 declaring the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey as "genocide."

"Here's my promise to the American Public: If anyone of the major networks --- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX --- promise to air the entire segment, without editing, I promise to tell them everything that I know," about everything mentioned above, she told us.

"I can tell the American public exactly what it is, and what it is that they are covering up," she continued. "I'm not compromising ongoing investigations," Edmonds explained, because "they've all been shut down since."

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

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Says Recent Comments and Other Actions by John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner Demonstrate He and Others Have 'Perverted the Justice Department'
PLUS: New Allegations of Financial Improprieties by a Subordinate, 'Could Not Have Occurred Without Tanner's Approval,' Charges a BRAD BLOG DoJ Source...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2007 2:27pm PT  

The chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), says that the DoJ's Voting Section chief, John Tanner, should be fired in light of recent controversial comments made at a panel discussion at the National Latino Congresso in Los Angeles as first video taped and reported by The BRAD BLOG.

Nadler is now the second elected official to publicly call for the removal of Tanner from his post. Senator Barack Obama, and civil rights groups such as Advancement Project, have recently made the same demand.

"He should certainly be fired, obviously," Nadler told Democracy Now's Amy Goodman this morning when asked about Tanner's comments admitting that while it was a "shame" that elderly voters would be disenfranchised by restrictive Photo ID laws he'd approved on behalf of the DoJ, minorities actually benefit from such laws because "they don't become elderly. They die first."

Nadler went on to explain the reasons why he feels that Tanner and a "few others" have "perverted the Justice Department."

The video and complete text transcript of the interview with Nadler's comments in regard to Tanner are posted at the end of this article.

As well, new allegations of financial improprieties by one of Tanner's immediate subordinates have surfaced this morning in the Washington Post. Questionable travel by the Voting Section's acting deputy director is now being investigated by the DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility.

The travel in question, a DoJ source tells The BRAD BLOG this morning, "could not have occurred without Tanner's approval."

"Obviously, someone who has such prejudices has no business heading the Voting Rights section or any other branch of the government and certainly not being on the Federal Voting Commission, which is supposed to enforce our election laws and our voting rights laws," Nadler continued in the interview today...

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

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The BRAD BLOG Speaks with Dennis and His Wife About Voting Rights, Election Reform, Impeachment, and the Need for an Outcry from the American People
Rep. Kucinich Vows to Use 'Privileged Resolution' to Force Vote on Impeachment of Cheney in U.S. House...
By Emily Levy on 10/24/2007 5:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by Emily Levy

ED NOTE: The BRAD BLOG's Emily Levy sat down with Dennis Kucinich on Sunday, just before serving as a hand-counter for votes in the first Democratic San Mateo County Presidential Straw Poll. Results of that poll are below. Kucinich spoke about his plans to force a vote in the U.S. House on the Impeachment of Dick Cheney; on having officially removed his name as co-sponsor of Rep. Rush Holt's flawed Election Reform Bill; his interest in hand-counted paper ballots; and concerns about e-voting systems. As it turns out, however, his wife Elizabeth may have stolen the show with an impassioned speech on what America must do to restore "a rigged and a fake political system," which, she told Levy, is "very, very undemocratic."


Candidate Kucinich was surrounded by supporters after his speech to Democrats in San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco, over the weekend. One asked the U.S. House Rep (D-OH) about the failures of the current Congress to protect the Constitution. "If Congress did the right thing," he answered, "they would be talking … about impeachment."

At that point, I broke in with a question:

EMILY LEVY: What do you think it'll take for more of your colleagues to do the right thing?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: The American people: an outcry. That's what we ought to be talking about.

EL: What do they hear? What do they hear? I mean, I hear the American people screaming. How come they can't hear?

DK: They aren't. You're exactly right. You know, I introduced House Resolution 333 because I heard from the American people and they said they wanted some response to make Dick Cheney accountable for the statements that he made that took us into a war based on lies. And the statements he made that would take us into a conflict against Iran. Again, more lies.

The President is now openly invoking the specter of World War III with respect to Iran. He ought to be held accountable also. I'm the only member of Congress who stepped forward on the issue of making Dick Cheney accountable. And now we have 21 members who've joined me. That's a step in the right direction. But I'm going to go beyond that. I'm going to call a privileged resolution, at which point, would force a vote --- at least if it's only on a procedural motion --- members are going to have to confront this issue of impeachment. They're not going to escape it. This is a question of defending our Constitution. It really is.

(In a follow up phone call with the Congressman last night, I asked when he intended to introduce the privileged resolution in the House. He said it would happen in "the next few weeks," but couldn't be more specific. Now back to San Mateo...)

Kucinich burst into laughter when I showed him the teabag tag hanging from my shirt pocket. I praised his ingeniously deadpan appearance on The Colbert Report. He searched around in his jacket pocket for his mini-Colbert but was unable to produce the little guy.

While I waited for my turn to speak with Kucinich alone, I spoke with his wife, Elizabeth, who was "enjoying the last day of my twenties." (Happy birthday, Elizabeth.) I asked her the question that was really on my mind: Knowing what he knows about the theft of the last two presidential elections, why would her husband run for president?

After she said, "Are you kidding?" several times with increasing alacrity, I asked if I could turn on my voice recorder...

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

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Email Sent to Supporters Describes Civil Rights Voting Chief's Comments as 'Pretty Unbelievable,' 'Last Straw'
Says: 'John Tanner has an obvious disregard for the voting rights of minorities and should not be in charge of protecting them'
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2007 2:09pm PT  

"This is pretty unbelievable," begins the email send from the campaign manager of Presidential Candidate Barack Obama to supporters today.

The email, from David Pouffe, calls on members of the public to demand the DoJ fire its Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief, John Tanner, in the wake of disturbing and inaccurate comments, video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG, as made during a recent panel discussion at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles.

The email, which exhorts readers to send emails to DoJ via their new "John Tanner Must Go" campaign at continues thusly [emphasis in original]:

John Tanner, the top ranking voting rights official at the Justice Department, was caught on video claiming that photo ID requirements do not disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters because: "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first."

He went on to argue, irrationally, that these requirements actually benefit minorities because: "Anything that disproportionately impacts the elderly has the opposite impact on minorities."

The letter to supporters from Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, is posted in full here.

Last week, Obama had sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler, demanding he immediately fire Tanner. Our coverage, along with his full letter, is here.

"The situation is clear," Plouffe writes in today's email after detailing a number of concerns about Tanner's record at the DoJ. "John Tanner has an obvious disregard for the voting rights of minorities and should not be in charge of protecting them."

Plouffe concludes by charging that "His recent comments are the last straw --- he must go."

Hearings have been tentatively confirmed by The BRAD BLOG as scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties for October 30th at 10:00am ET. Tanner will be called as a witness and likely presented with clips from the video tape that we delivered yesterday in D.C. to committee staffers.

The chairman of the sub-committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), has said he's hopeful that Tanner "will be as willing to provide lawmakers with the same candid views he has been providing at various public venues."

The chairman of the full House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a 78-year old elderly minority member who, contrary to Tanner's assertions has not, in fact "die[d] first," has expressed consternation recently and over the years about the DoJ's chief voting official, including a 2005 letter in which he said he was "flabbergasted" at Tanner's contention that the reason for long voting lines in minority areas in Ohio's 2004 Presidential election was due to African Americans coming to the polls later in the day than non-minority voters.

The twisted conclusions from Tanner's "investigation" of voting problems reported during the 2004 Presidential election, including his assertion that minority voters actually had more access than whites to voting machines, were detailed in a letter, posted here in 2005, which can only be described as an extraordinary (and literal) "white washing" of the facts on the ground that day.

Conyers and his staff published a comprehensive report, entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio," as based on their own, far-reaching investigation after the election. We look forward to his questioning of Tanner next week.

Yesterday, we detailed additional allegations likely to be faced by Tanner in hearings next week.

A quick, video-taped snapshot of Tanner's most offensive --- and inaccurate, according to his former DoJ colleagues --- comments from the October 5th National Latino Congresso panel in Los Angeles, follows below...

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

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And Other Quick Observations on Last Night's Debate in Orlando...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2007 2:37pm PT  

During the ninety full minutes of last night's lively Republican Debate on Fox "News" from Orlando, the word "Bush" was used only twice by the candidates. One time each by Ron Paul and then Fred Thompson.

The Fox "News" anchors used the word five times.

Everyone else? Apparently never heard of him.

(On the other hand, as Arlen Parsa notes, Hillary was mentioned some 34 times.)

A few of our other quick, amusing and/or notable observations and video clips follow...

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

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Former House Speaker Said to Leave Seat Before End of Year...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2007 8:12pm PT  

Says Roll Call late tonight:

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is expected to announce Thursday that he is resigning his seat in Congress effective later this year, eventually setting up a special election to succeed him, knowledgeable GOP sources said late Wednesday.

Gosh, we hope it doesn't have anything to do with this old chestnut, which we updated a bit yesterday, along with a promise of more to come soon. But who knows?

Swing State Project offers a bit more detail from the RC article which hides behind the pay curtain:

Rumblings have persisted for months that Hastert, who announced this summer that he would not seek re-election in 2008, was unlikely to complete his current term.

This week Hastert met with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and was making calls to tell people of his decision on Wednesday morning.

They're just dropping like flies aren't they? Answer: Yes, but not nearly enough of 'em, and not nearly fast enough.

(Hat-tip for all of the above to our buddy Arlen Parsa over at The Daily Background.)

UPDATE 10/19/07: Hastert announced he will not run again, but has yet to give official word on whether he'll leave early or not. AP reports the delay in stepping down may be due to a fear that a Special Election during the February '08 primary may have a huge Dem turnout due to Illinois' favorite son, Barrack Obama, on the Presidential Primary ballot.

But with no official announcement yet, MSNBC asked after a flurry of "Hastert to Resign" reports, "Is Hastert really quitting?". "Not at this time," they are told, but adding that another source says otherwise:

The source says that Hastert is "definitely going to resign," but that it won't happen be announced [sic] officially for a couple of months or so.

Incidentally, Hastert has lost about 60 pounds and looks like a completely different person.

True. See the photo at left!

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Only if They Make Enough Money At It, According to House Version of Bill...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2007 11:55am PT  

Earlier this month, BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns, sat in on Senate Judiciary Committee hearings concerning a federal "reporter's shield law," ostensibly meant as a way to offer protection for the sources of journalists, while defining exceptions for national security issues. As the bill was voted out of committee she posed some interesting concerns here about it.

Yesterday, Burns wrote at her own site, the House passed their own version of the GOP-introduced, MSM-supported law, but she notes there's a small --- yet very important --- difference in the House bill's definition of "covered person"...

The House version reads,

"(2) COVERED PERSON- The term 'covered person' means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person."

The Senate version reads,

"(2) COVERED PERSON- The term 'covered person' means a person who is engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such person."

Well, that's an important difference, indeed. One that could substantially effect bloggers, such as ourselves, and certainly those on blogs both smaller and larger (e.g., even the huge Huffington Post, where bloggers are not paid). Under the law, if the compromise version of both houses is passed using the House definition, it could potentially mean that we would not be "covered person" and thus not protected from being required by law to disclose our sources.

Such a statue could be a devastating blow to the ability of folks like us, not on a regular salaried contract with a major metropolitan newspapers or broadcast network, to guarantee privacy to our sources. Many of the stories that The BRAD BLOG has broken and reported over the years simply could not have existed without such promises to insider and whistleblower sources.

Burns goes on to bullet-point a list of those she feels would and wouldn't be covered by the definition of "covered person" in the House version of the bill, including most bloggers as she sees it.

"In other words," she charges, "a 'covered person' is basically anyone Bob Novak could tolerate, and not covered is everyone who might hypothetically or even accidentally be perceived as a threat to the Novaks of this world. What could be sweeter? --- for Robert Novak."

UPDATE: Nate Anderson at ars technica offers additional thoughts.

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If The Resolution is a 'Democratic Ploy,' It Sure Was Clever to Have the GOP House Speaker Lead the Way!
ALSO: Recalling FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' Claim that Hastert Called Off Full House Vote After Possibly Receiving $500k from Turkish Interests, And Additional New Information on Her Gag-Ordered 'States Secrets' Case...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2007 4:08pm PT  

We're anything but experts on the long and storied history of American-Turkish-Armenian relations. We're also not particularly partisan, or inclined to come to the defense of the Democrats. But we do have a thing about facts and fairness.

So with Rush Limbaugh, this morning, leading the charge of the Rightwing goon squad attempting to characterize an increase in saber rattling in Turkey as "Nancy Pelosi's War," it seems a bit of a fact-check reminder is necessary here.

The brouhaha, which Limbaugh hopes to turn into a Republican electoral advantage, surrounds a House resolution to declare the 1915 mass killing of more 1.5 million ethnic Armenians a "genocide." While the resolution passed out of the Foreign Affairs Committee last week on a bi-partisan 27 to 21 vote, the Bush Administration has suggested it will make life difficult for their efforts in Iraq, such that they are, which depend on Turkish support. Passage of the resolution could lead to inflamed ethnic violence on the Turkish/Kurdish border and lead to a widening of the war.

Limbaugh and the GOP opportunists have been declaring the resolution a Democratic ploy to ruin Turkish-American relations, embarrass George W. Bush, and help spread the war into a full-blown regional conflagration.

But what Limbaugh and friends seem to be avoiding is the fact that it was Republican Dennis Hastert who, as House Speaker back in 2000, last pushed for the same resolution, seeing it through the then-Republican-led International Relations Committee, where it passed by a large majority, and then scheduled it for a full vote on the House floor, only to pull the legislation just minutes before the vote --- supposedly at the urging of President Bill Clinton.

A similar resolution made it through the then-Republican-led House International Relations Committee by a lopsided vote of 40 to 7 just two years ago, even though Republican Minority Leader John Boehner now declares the measure to be "totally irresponsible."

When reporting on claims made by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in 2005, Vanity Fair's David Rose reported notable details on the 2000 Hastert-pushed version...

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

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Anybody Feel Like Covering the Talk, Video Taping it, and/or Asking a Few Tough Questions on Behalf of The BRAD BLOG?
ALSO: October 30th Named as Date for Tanner's Testimony to House Judiciary Subcommittee...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2007 5:35am PT  

U.S. House Judiciary Committee staff informs us that October 30th will be the day for hearings with John Tanner, the DoJ Civil Rights Division's Voting Section chief. Tanner has caused a bit of a stir of late by suggesting that minorities needn't worry about being disenfranchised at the polls by restrictive Photo ID laws because they "die first" before become elderly (the original twisted BRAD BLOG video exclusive of Tanner's comments here). As well, Tanner's previous bizarre and unprecedented justifications on behalf of the DoJ, for why minorities have only themselves to blame for not being able to vote in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election have once again attracted the attention of John Conyers and his staff.

Though the hearing where Tanner will testify is currently planned for the 30th, we're told it won't be "official" until it appears on the official schedule for the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties --- usually a week or so prior to the hearing.

In the meantime, however, democracy and accountability fans in the Northern California area may get their Tanner fix this Thursday, as he's schedule to appear for a talk at UC Berkley's Institute of Governmental Studies. The talk is scheduled for 3:30p-5:00p at the Institute's Library, 109 Moses Hall, as sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research and the Election Administration Research Center (EARC). More details here.

Tanner's recent unbelievable comments to the National Latino Congresso --- "It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame. Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first." --- made their way to both the Washington Post and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

So who knows what he'll say next?!

We hope a few BRAD BLOG readers who may be concerned with some of Tanner's statements and behavior at the DoJ might find their way to showing up at his UC Berkeley event this week to video tape and/or ask a few tough questions of the man who oversees voting rights on behalf of the federal government.

If so, we hope you'll share any notable comments (hopefully on video or audio) with us!

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Chairman of House Judiciary Committee is Troubled by Voting Chief John Tanner's 'Justification' for Inequal Treatment of Black Voters in Buckeye State
Plans to Address Matter 'Head On' in Upcoming Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2007 4:03pm PT  

Following up our earlier story today, the Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-MI), has now released a statement in response to TPM Muckraker's story today with on-the-record comments from former DoJ officials questioning the seriousness (or lack thereof) of the "investigation" by the Department's chief Voting official, John Tanner, into the reported racial disparities at polling places during the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.

In Conyers' statement (posted in full at the end of this article) he says he's "concerned about the extreme lengths Mr. Tanner went to in order to justify the reasons African-Americans were not treated equally in the 2004 Ohio election," and charges that "The Department of Justice – since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – has a responsibility to thoroughly investigate allegations of voter suppression and discrimination, like those made in Ohio in 2004."

Tanner's "investigation" at the time had, remarkably, charged that the reason for long lines in minority areas of Ohio was because minorities chose to vote late in the afternoon, instead of earlier in the day as white voters did.

Essentially, as RAW STORY's coverage this afternoon says, "black voters caused their own lines in the Ohio 2004 vote," if Tanner is to be believed.

But a report from TPM Muckraker earlier today quotes a former colleague of Tanner's, who accompanied him on his trip to Ohio during the "investigation," as saying, "did black precincts get neglected? I know we didn’t try very hard to find out."

Conyers originally responded to Tanner's investigation in 2005 with a letter of his own back in 2005, writing to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that he was "flabbergasted that your office could reach such a casual conclusion without addressing the most serious charges of mis-allocation of votes in the County." He also expressed outrage that the DoJ chose to look into reports of election irregularities in only one Ohio county (Franklin).

Both Tanner's and Conyers' letters were posted and reported by The BRAD BLOG in 2005.

Today, the chairman says that in his 2005 landmark (though largely ignored, at the time) report entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio", he revealed "huge racial disparities in how voting machines were distributed in white and black precincts, among other findings." Yet Tanner had "found no discrepancies in the number of voting machines and attributed the long lines to the tendency of African-American voters to vote after work, as opposed to in the morning hours."

The BRAD BLOG has received indications from Conyers' office that he intends to question Tanner on these topics directly in an upcoming hearing. His statement today gives further indication of that.

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

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