w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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Guest Editorial by Frank Schaeffer
[Readers: Please see the added "Ed Note" at the end of this editorial. Thanks. It has also now been updated with some new information. - BF]
Congratulations to the Left of the progressive movement and the Democratic Party: You just shot us all in the foot. You contributed to the Democratic loss in Massachusetts.
I’m a former Republican who ran from that hate-filled movement years ago. I am a heartfelt Obama supporter. And I am also an Independent Massachusetts voter.
I blame the ideological purist Left who have worked so hard to undermine the Obama presidency for the MA debacle. You set the stage...
Several supporters of Democrat Martha Coakley were injured during her rush to get to the phone as quickly as possible in order to concede the race for the U.S. Senate in MA to Scott Brown even before AP called the race in favor of the Republican.
That, while some 25% of the precincts had yet to report even how Diebold's easily-hacked, oft-failed optical-scan machines (which are in violation of federal voting system standards and programmed by a company with a disturbing and criminal background), had even reported their tabulation and, more disturbingly, while 0% of the voters' cast ballots in Massachusetts had been counted or examined by any human being on the face of the earth.
"After months of campaigning, the Attorney General thought it was important to make sure neither her, nor her supporters voters were actually counted, so best to ensure that the Democracy Menace wouldn't rear it's ugly head right here in the Bay State," said Coakley's campaign manager Kevin Conroy.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) released a statement upon hearing the news, proclaiming he was "proud of the speed at which Martha was able to concede the race with even fewer of the votes counted by anyone --- zero in Martha's case --- than when I conceded the race for President of the United States in 2004." Kerry added that he had prepared his statement on Monday, so as to save valuable time on Election Night, since American Idol was also scheduled to be on.
And with that out of the way, please see:
[UPDATED SEVERAL TIMES with more info on the curious/disturbing issue of ballots reported as being handed out as pre-marked for Scott Brown. Allegations now of five different reports from "at least" three different jurisdictions. See bottom of article for continuing updates...]
Haven't heard too much from on the ground in Massachusetts this morning yet (happily), but that's not much of a surprise. The real questions come later, as we will all wonder whether or not the "results," whatever they are, as reported by Diebold and never counted by actual humans, have anything to do with the way voters actually voted.
In the meantime today, a group of election integrity experts, after having posted an "Orange Alert" yesterday about the serious e-voting concerns in today's election, have sent an open letter to Sec. of State Bill Galvin, along with a public records request [PDF], calling for the retention of all election materials, such as voted, spoiled, and unvoted ballots, as well as all of the easily-tampered-with memory cards and electronic databases, etc., to ensure they are all secured and available for inspection by the public after the close of polls.
Election integrity advocates Susan Pynchon, Shelia Parks, and John Brakey also put the entire sorry matter in stark terms, demonstrating how simple this all could have been in a very short piece at OpEd News asking why MA didn't simply just determine to count the ballots, by hand, in front of everyone at the polling place, especially given that it was a single race on the ballot with just three people on it...
This is not going to happen, however. A simple measure --- hand-counting the votes as a check on the machines on election night, before there are questions about chain-of-custody of the ballots --- will not be done. The second question one has to ask is, "Why not?"
As to the ballots themselves, Greg Sargent at The Plum Line reports an odd situation: Two different voters, from two different towns, have both informed him that they were handed ballots that had Scott Brown's bubble already inked in when they went to vote. Here's the report from the second voter Sargent heard from...
“I was handed a ballot and when I went to fill it out I saw that the bubble next to Brown’s name was already filled in,” Volynskaya, who voted today in Brighton. Election workers, she added, promised her they “were going to look into how this happened.”
The two reports are too anecdotal at this point to make too much of them just yet, but it seems worth noting for the moment. May come in handy later.
[UPDATED as more reports of pre-marked ballots have come in! Please see additional follow-ups now below.]
Are you hearing, reading, seeing other points of concern today? Let us know in comments. Links are always welcome...
P.S. Have done a flurry of radio appearances to discuss all of this, last night and early early this morning. Appearances from Mike Malloy, Stephanie Miller, and Nicole Sandler's shows are now archived online if you'd like to give them a listen, right here...
UPDATE 4:03pm PT: Coakley Campaign Manager Kevin Conroy issued the following "ALERT!" on the campaign website, and via email about an hour ago concerning the reports of ballots being handed to voters pre-marked for Brown, as mentioned above...
A quick follow up, as I'll be on the road for most of today, on the mess I warned about on Friday concerning Tuesday's Special Election for the U.S. Senate in MA, the terrible optical-scan Diebold voting machines in use there, and the company with a dubious, criminal background which sells, services and programs them:
UPDATE 1/19/10: More on early reports and other developments on Election Day, now here...
Since writing today's piece for Upstate New York's right-leaning Gouverneur Times, a new poll has come out this morning showing the Republican Scott Brown now leading the Democrat Martha Coakley by 4 points in the race for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by a Democrat named Kennedy for nearly 60 years.
As of last night, when I filed the story with them, the latest survey from a Democratic-leaning pollster showed Coakley up by 8, though a day or two earlier, Republican Rasmussen had Brown down only by 2 points.
Suffice to say it's now officially "a toss-up," at least according to the Rothenberg Political Report, and to all the Dems and Reps now sweating out what was previously thought to have been an easy Democratic win.
With the 60th "filibuster-proof" Senate seat now hanging precariously in the balance, I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that the winner will now be whoever Diebold declares it to be. The near-entirety of the state will vote next Tuesday on paper ballots to be counted by Diebold op-scan systems. The same ones used dubiously in the New Hampshire Primary in 2008, and the same ones notoriously hacked --- resulting in a flipped mock election --- in HBO's Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy.
And to make matters even worse, the notorious LHS Associates --- the private company with the criminal background that has admitted to illegally tampering with memory cards during elections, and which has a Director of Sales and Marketing who embarrassed himself with obscene comments here at The BRAD BLOG some years ago, resulting in his being barred from CT by their Sec. of State --- sells and services almost all of MA's voting machines along with those in the rest of New England.
Read my detailed coverage of the entire sad affair over at Gouverneur Times today. And yes, here we go again...
UPDATE 1/18/10: FOLLOW-UP: Election experts issue "Orange Alert", what you can do to help protect the election, and a bunch of my interviews on all of the above, now here...
$636 billion for annual military spending was approved by the U.S. Senate over the weekend, with little more than a hiccup of debate from Republican "conservatives," not a peep from the Democrats, and even less coverage from the corporate mainstream media.
But $850 billion for 10 years of what is ostensibly meant to be health care reform for the health and welfare of American citizens --- all while reducing the budget deficit by $132 billion over that period, according to the CBO? "A budget buster!," shout the phony "conservatives" in the same Senate.
Anyway, there's your "American Values," in a two-part nutshell, from today's Republicans and the Democrats and corporate media who enable their madness as if it weren't so.
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
The year was 1969. I was attending a freshman college history class, shortly after returning from Vietnam, when my professor said:
While the topic was Afghanistan, a concern emerged over the splintering of the Left as a product of what Coiro described as strident "rhetoric," such as the suggestion that President Obama was a "sell-out" or the announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that he intended to introduce a privileged resolution to stop the "criminal enterprise" in Afghanistan. The concern was the potential for that "rhetoric" to adversely impact the Democratic Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Unfortunately, in part due to technical difficulties they had on the show that night, I failed to adequately articulate my concerns, which go to the core of the Progressive dilemma in U.S. electoral politics....
Guest Blogged by Rebecca M. Abrahams
Two weeks ago Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan named federal prosecutor Henry Schuelke to investigate whether gross prosecutorial misconduct tainted the government's case against now-former Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. At issue, whether prosecutors withheld critical evidence from the defense or whether the case was improperly handled under pressure to meet deadlines.
US Attorney General Eric Holder, in a stunning move, threw out the government's corruption case against Stevens last April and issued the following statement:
Holder also relocated attorneys who worked on the case including William H. Welch II, who ran the Department's public integrity unit.
WaPo failed to report that William Welch is currently under criminal contempt of court for his role in the case against Stevens. Welch was also involved in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Siegelman was convicted of bribery in 2006 and served nine months in prison before his release was ordered pending appeal.
Despite Welch's pending legal issues, his name continues to be listed on recent filings in Siegelman's case. Siegelman finds this "quite curious as he's been hot after my prosecution for a good long time now."
Aside from alleged governmental misconduct in the Siegelman case, there are paramount legal issues that have been recognized by 91 former State Attorneys General and a group of First Amendment law professors across the country. And yet, while the DOJ is making a point to review Republican cases, not one case against a Democrat has been completely overturned and, as Siegelman told me in a recent interview, he believes very little has changed at the department, other than the names "at the top"...
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says "comity" in the must-see clip below, but "comedy" might have been more appropriate in regard to Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) shut down of Sen. Joe Lieberman (WhoKnows-CT), as Franken was presiding over the chamber, which left us laughing out loud, and applauding quietly to ourselves. (Via TPM with more background)...
And, if you missed it earlier this week, Franken's take-down of Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is an absolute must-see as well. Though we've had our own beefs with Franken's politics over the years, we must concede that it's frickin' awesome to finally see and hear someone --- anyone --- speak this way in the U.S. Senate. We'd be delighted to see 60 more just like him! Check it out if you haven't seen it already (and again, TPM has more background)...
Take a bow, Sen. Franken. Please keep up the great work!
David Kurtz at TPM avers "It never stops":
And, guess what? If you think that's bad, just wait until we get to Climate Legislation proper, where the Petroleum Industry, some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the history of civilization --- in no small part, thanks to enormous federal subsidies --- have a direct financial stake in the outcome.
(Yes, the world's most profitable corporations benefit mightily from U.S. government welfare, your tax-payer dollars, to the tune of some $72 billion over the last seven years in permanent subsidies. See the handy chart below the fold to see how those subsidies stack up against other energy industries, such as renewables. Never mind the worldwide recession. Exxon Mobil profited more than $45 billion last year, Chevron $23 billion, and the federal subsidies keep coming nonetheless, even as their stooges in the Tea Party denialist "ClimateGater" crowds have been duped into mindlessly continuing their dirty work for them.)
The Oil and Coal (Fossil Fuel) Industries have played no small part in ginning up the tea bagging fight against health care reform if only because it further serves to stall Climate Legislation.
It's horrible, an abrogation of what the Founding Fathers likely had in mind (nowhere, to my knowledge, does the support for unbridled corporate spending as "free speech" come into play in the Constitution at last read) and yet all signs suggest it's only going to get far worse before it gets any better --- if it ever does.
See the chart below to understand how the federal welfare queens from Exxon Mobil and Chevron et al. make out, thanks to your hard-earned tax dollars, and keep it in mind every time you hear yet another global warming denialist out there --- and even here in comments at The BRAD BLOG --- hoping to punk the world for more such free money and endless, record corporate profits...
"Biased thermometers" are to blame for scientific data documenting a precipitous rise in global temperatures, according to Marc Morano.
Morano was Rush Limbaugh's former producer and a columnist at the rightwing "news" site, Cybercast News Service, before becoming denialist-extraordinaire Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)'s top aide on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. In 2003, Inhofe described global warming as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," a statement which he stills stands by today.
Morano now runs the climate denialist website ClimateDepot.com and is, essentially, the very heart of the entire climate change denialist echosphere.
On CNN on Thursday, he debated with James Balog, photographer and former "climate change skeptic" with a degree in geomorphology....
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
On Nov. 12, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that separate House and Senate Resolutions to bar all funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) were unconstitutional Bills of Attainder, which violated ACORN's Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and First Amendment right to freedom of association. (See Rachel Maddow's excellent coverage and explanation of a "Bill of Attainder" here.)
The CCR suit "seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent the government from reallocating funds designated for the organization and its affiliates and a preliminary injunction to stop Congress from singling out a single organization for punishment without proper investigation or due process."
During his Nov. 13 appearance on Democracy Now, CCR Attorney Bill Quigley (video below) warned that if constitutionality of the legislation is not legally challenged, ACORN could be but the first of numerous groups seen as supportive of Democrats whose funding will be challenged, as that rightwing blogs are already looking to target the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as well.
While the suit presents a significant legal challenge, and while there is little doubt that ACORN has been the victim of a GOP witch hunt which, as Brad Friedman and others have reported, included the "phony 'voter fraud' charges" that were at the "heart of the U.S. Attorney purge scandal," the willingness of so many Congressional Democrats to jump at the chance to punish ACORN via this Bill of Attainder may also entail something more subtly insidious...
A big tactical move today by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in the Environment and Public Works Committee, which she chairs, in working around the Republican boycott this week of mark-up on the climate legislation bill. Very smart, and a big twist in that story as she's out-foxed the GOP stallers, obstructionists, and denialists! At least for now.
Check out Boxer's surprise move, and get caught up on where the roller coaster ride of climate legislation in the U.S. Senate stands for the moment, in today's Green News Report!
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Coinciding with an internal Senate Democratic Caucus debate over health care reform that Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) described as only “slightly less raucous than the town hall meetings,” the non-affiliated progressive activist group Democrats.com has launched a petition campaign aimed at curtailing donations to official Democratic fundraising organizations [emphasis in original] until "the Democratic Congress passes --- and President Obama signs --- healthcare reform with a robust public option."
That "robust public option" is defined in the petition as being "based on Medicare rates, not negotiated rates," available "nation-wide, with no state opt-outs," "administered by Medicare, not a for-profit insurance company." and "available immediately."
The idea that the public option would be managed by a private insurance company has recently emerged in reports of Congressional negotiations aimed at merging various versions of the legislation passed by separate committees in the House and Senate, as noted by RAW STORY's John Byrne today.
The progressive activists campaign calls for signatories to respond to requests for donations from the three major Democratic campaign/fundraising organizations --- the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) --- with a http://www.democrats.com...rike-for-public-option\">link to the petition, instead of funds, until such legislation has been passed and signed by the President.
"Until then," the petition states, "I will only support individual Democrats who support single-payer Medicare for All (the 88 sponsors of HR 676)."
"We elected solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democratic President to fulfill Democratic promises of progressive change," the statement continues, "We did not elect Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to break those promises."
The complete short petition follows in full below...
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