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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 18, 2014
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
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...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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...


Louisiana Senator Has Admitted Using Deborah Palfrey's Out-Call Service
By Jon Ponder on 11/21/2007 3:04pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is giving thanks that he won't have to testify next Wednesday in the D.C. Madam trial. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler canceled his testimony today because it was immaterial to the case.

Vitter has admitted he was a customer of Pamela Martin and Associates, the out-call service operated by Deborah Palfrey, the alleged madam in question.

Palfrey's witness list also includes Harlan K. Ulmann, the military strategist who visited the "shock and awe" concept upon the world. Palfrey has said Ulmann was in her records as "Mr. U" --- but that after their dates her female associates referred to him as "Mr. Unpleasant."

Ouch.

For the record, the AP says Judge Kessler was appointed by Pres. Clinton.

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Troop-Hating Texas Oil Magnate, T. Boone Pickens, Proves No Man of Honor...To the Surprise of Nobody Other Than the Republicanist Stooges...
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2007 12:46pm PT  

Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...

Apparently Texas oil tycoon, T. Boone Pickens, who funded the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" propaganda campaign against John Kerry in 2004 to the tune of $3 million, seems, like the group themselves, to have trouble with the definition of the word "truth".

Earlier this month, at a DC dinner celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Rightwing publication American Spectator, Pickens made a very public challenge (not a bet), offering, as the Republicanist blog, American Thinker reported, "a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry."

The similarly Rightwing blog RedState echoed that the challenge was made to anybody who "can prove anything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said in 2004 was false."

But it looks like Pickens was lying, as he is now trying to renege on the challenge since Kerry himself decided to take him up on it late last week, writing in a letter to Pickens (posted in full at the end of this article): "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."

Kerry said that the $1 million should then be given to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, concluding his letter with: "I trust that you are a man of your word, having made a very public challenge at a major Washington dinner, and look forward to taking you up on this challenge."

Pickens, however --- wait for it --- has proven to be less than a man of his word. Who'd have thunk it? Rather than accept Kerry's offer to meet the challenge, he's moved the goal posts and Fox "News" Network stooge, Sean Hannity --- no man of honor either --- is entirely scummy enough to aide and abet Pickens in welching out of the challenge...

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

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CNN Stacks Deck For Hillary Clinton
By Alan Breslauer on 11/16/2007 5:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


UPDATE: The mainstream media also critical of the "Clinton News Network (CNN)"

The NY Times:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton prepared for a battle with her Democratic rivals at the CNN-sponsored debate on Thursday night. She did not have much to fear from the postdebate round table.

Among the experts trotted out by CNN to comment was James Carville, a Democratic strategist and CNN commentator who is also a close friend of Mrs. Clinton and a contributor to her campaign.

Mr. Carville’s presence aroused the fury of rivals and bloggers. They called it a conflict of interest and criticized CNN.

“Would it kill CNN to disclose that James Carville is a partisan Clinton supporter when talking about the presidential race?” Markos Moulitsas wrote on his liberal blog, Daily Kos. Mr. Moulitsas drew hundreds of comments.

The LA Times:

If you're one of those dutiful souls who felt that the responsible exercise of citizenship required you to watch Thursday's debate among the Democratic candidates on CNN, you probably came away feeling as if you'd spent a couple of hours locked in the embrace of a time share salesman.

We're not talking about the candidates here, but about the shamelessly high-pressure pitch machine that has replaced the Cable News Network's once smart and reliable campaign coverage. Was there ever a better backdrop than Las Vegas for the traveling wreck of a journalistic carnival that CNN's political journalism has become? And can there now be any doubt that, in his last life, Wolf Blitzer had a booth on the midway, barking for the bearded lady and the dog-faced boy?

Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone wonders if Wolf Blitzer is a douche or just a dislikeable fellow for running interference on behalf of Hillary.

Eric Altermann thought Joe Biden won the debate while, "The loser was Wolf Blitzer."

And the Gateway Pundit has an excellent rundown on the entire CNN hearts Hillary debacle.

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First Democratic Candidate to Answer Directly on the Issue, in Response to Why Tuesday?'s Candidate Challenge...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2007 11:15am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

"What we need, is we need paper ballots, so votes can be verified," says John Edwards directly in response to Why Tuesday's video Candidate Challenge. He says a bunch of other good stuff on the topic as well in his brief response...


Edwards is the only Democratic candidate so far (12 candidates from both parties have so far answered the challenge issued by Why Tuesday's Jacob Soboroff) to speak that directly to the issue of paper ballots, and other needed reforms.

On the R side, believe it or not, only Duncan Hunter understands the need for paper ballots. But then again, he also sees imaginary "people that are illegally in the country being rounded up, herded into the polls, we've seen that in California, voting illegally." So we'd have to call his position on election reform a wash.

Also, watch for our buddy Jake's questions on Election Reform to be asked of all of the candidates at tonight's Democratic debate, where his video question was voted into the Top 10 questions (atleast at last count before they shut down voting!) after being voted into the top 10 at 10Questions.com, a project of TechPresident in cooperation with the NYTimes Editorial Board and MSNBC. They will pose all the top 10 questions to the candidates over the next month and ask for a video response, similar to the Why Tuesday? Candidate Challenge. Waytago, Jake!

Why Tuesday? will be at the CNN/YouTube Republican debate in Florida on Nov 28th and The BRAD BLOG looks forward to further partnership with them (Why Tuesday?, not necessarily Republicans, CNN or YouTube) :-)

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Congressman: Bush Wants Billions for Iraq War and Tax Cuts to Those Make Over a Million a Year...
By Jon Ponder on 11/13/2007 8:49am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Shorter George Bush: All Guns. No Butter:

President Bush on Tuesday signed a big increase in the Pentagon's non-war budget, and vetoed a spending measure for health and education programs prized by congressional Democrats.

The president's action was announced on Air Force One as Bush flew to Indiana for a speech expected to criticize the Democratic-led Congress on its budget priorities.

The $471 billion defense budget gives the Pentagon a 9 percent increase, roughly $40 billion.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI) responded:

"The same president who is asking us to spend another $200 billion on the misguided war in Iraq and is insisting on providing $60 billion in tax cuts next year to folks who make over a million bucks a year, is now pretending to protect the deficit by refusing to provide a $6 billion increase to crucial domestic investments in education, healthcare, medical research and worker protections that will make this country stronger,’’ said [Obey].

"That is not responsible and it is not credible,’’ Obey said of the vetoed bill. "There has been virtually no criticism of its contents. It is clear the only reason the president vetoed this bill is pure politics."

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Also Not Interested in Being Los Angeles' Mayor
By Jon Ponder on 11/10/2007 10:46am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is ruling out running for the U.S. Senate against Barbara Boxer in 2010. The governor was asked about his post-Sacramento plans after a Field poll showed him with a 1 percentage point lead over Boxer in an imaginary Senate match-up.

Boxer's dip in popularity probably reflects the general unhappiness among California liberals with the failure of Congress to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for lying in the run-up to the Iraq occupation and their systematic shredding of both the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions, just for starters.

But Boxer has arguably done as much as she could to hold the Bushies accountable. And in her 2004 reelection bid she received the third highest number of votes of any candidate in the country, next to Bush and John Kerry, respectively. She will likely bounce back. (On the other hand, rebounding is less certain for our other senator, Dianne Feinstein, who outraged her constituents last week by voting to confirm Michael Mukasey as Bush's new attorney general, even after Mukasey indirectly acknowledged that he will continue to greenlight and give cover to Bush's torture policies. Feinstein is not up for reelection until 2012.)

Mainly, though, it's hard to imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger as just one of 100 big fish in the Senate pond.

Schwarzenegger also ruled out running for mayor of Los Angeles. This is a no-brainer. There is very little glory in being L.A.'s mayor. For one thing, the balance of power here tilts more toward the city council, and less toward the mayor, than in most big cities.

For another, despite the city's propensity for earthquakes, riots, and wildfires, no Los Angeles chief executive has ever been dubbed "America's Mayor" because he stayed on the job during a crisis. Unless there was a chance Arnold could become another America's Mayor, it is unlikely he'd be interested.

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Six Democrats Vote with Lieberman and GOP to Rubberstamp Bush's Torture Policies
Olbermann Suggests Mukasey Will Provide Cover for Bush Against War Crime Charges
By Jon Ponder on 11/9/2007 6:17am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Until last night, the criminal responsibility for the torturing of terror suspects by the U.S. government was entirely on the heads of George Bush, Dick Cheney, their senior aides and the civilian and uniformed military leadership who approved and implemented "advanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding.

Late in the evening yesterday, however, the U.S. Senate, including all Republicans who were present, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CN) and six senior Democrats, willingly assumed responsibly for Bush's torture policies by rubberstamping his nominee, Michael Mukasey, to be the next U.S. attorney general.

Mukasey --- a crony of Rudy Giuliani, the Republican presidential candidate who, during his tenure as New York City mayor, revealed fascistic tendencies that are alarmingly similar to those of George Bush and Dick Cheney --- indicated during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he will continue to greenlight Bush's torture policies.

Now the question is, will Mukasey also assist Bush, Cheney and the rest in trying to avoid war-crimes charges after they leave office.

The six senior Democratic senators who voted to confirm Mukasey and thus condone torture were:

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

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By Jon Ponder on 11/8/2007 11:06am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Turns out there really is a first time for everything:

The Senate today voted overwhelmingly to override President Bush's veto of a popular $23-billion water bill, marking the first override of a Bush veto.

The bipartisan, 79-14 vote, following a House vote earlier in the week to override the veto, means the bill authorizing water projects becomes law over the president's objections.

Thirty-four Republicans joined 43 Democrats and two independents in rejecting Bush's assertion that the bill was fiscally irresponsible and voting for the override --- a reflection of their determination to preserve politically important projects for their states. Twelve Republicans and two Democrats voted no.

My colleague Trish at Pensito Review suggested earlier this week that this veto override could signal a change in the wind for Bush's political fortunes:

I’m betting that once it gets started, Congress will keep right on ripping... I think Bush miscalculated. He’s teasing the dog that’s always been tied to the tree one too many times. When the rope breaks and Congress gets a taste of blood --- remembering what it feels like to be an equal participant in the governing process --- who knows where it will stop?

We can only hope.

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Measure, Co-Sponsored by 13 Dems, Would Prohibit 'Voter Supression' Tactic as Used in Florida in 2004 by Former Rove Associate, Interim US Attorney Tim Griffin...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2007 3:37pm PT  

Thirteen Democratic Senators have introduced a bill that would outlaw "voter caging," the practice of sending mail marked "Do Not Forward" to a targeted list of voters in hopes of using the returned mailings as a basis to challenge the right of the voters to vote.

The tactic was used by Republican operatives in both the 2000 and 2004 election, despite the Republican party having agreed in two consent decrees in 1981 and 1986 to end the practice.

A press release from Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) office announcing the new bill is posted in full below.

"The practice of 'caging' is reprehensible and has absolutely no place in our democracy," Kerry says in the statement. "Here in America, every citizen, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation has the right to cast his or her vote. These are the very foundations of our democracy and this bill will ensure that we protect fundamental freedoms for millions of voters across our country."

The press release goes on to refer to evidence, much of it reported over the years here at The BRAD BLOG, of GOP vote caging that took place in important swing states such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania during the 2004 election. Kerry's statement also points out the re-emergence of the topic earlier this year, after former DoJ staffer Monica Goodling testified to a Congressional panel that information concerning the involvement of former Karl Rove associate and GOP opposition researcher Tim Griffin in voter caging had not been fully disclosed during previous Congressional testimony.

Goodling's revelations led to Griffin's sudden (and teary) resignation from his post as interim US Attorney in Arkansas, where he had been appointed by the DoJ under new provisions in the PATRIOT Act allowing such appointments without congressional approval.

The controversial practice of vote caging has been used primarily to target minority voters; evidence has shown that some who ended up on the caging lists were military personnel who were unable to return the mailings because they were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A DoJ investigation into Griffin's, and the GOP's, 2004 vote caging activities was then demanded by several U.S. senators last June. The American mainstream media have given little coverage to the issue of caging, despite original reporting from Greg Palast and the BBC prior to the 2004 Presidential Election.

In addition to Kerry, the original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)

UPDATE: Here's the actual bill [PDF]. Looks good from a quick read, though the part that allows the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) --- a four-member commission appointed by the President, and which has proven tremendously inept and compromised in all manner of things --- to add new reasons why voters may be challenged is a concern. The EAC shouldn't be entrusted with anything, much less deciding criteria for challenging voters' right to vote. But that's just our knee-jerk opinion.

The press statement from Kerry's office, announcing "The Caging Prohibition Act," is posted in full below...

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

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Magazine Says Nelson-Whitehouse Senate Bill Calling for 2012 Ban on Dangerous DRE Voting Systems a 'Stunning Reversal'
Uses Our Own 'Ford Pinto' Metaphor in Article Spurring One Writer to Proclaim to BRAD BLOG: 'DREs Are Now Junk in Mainstream Publications Such as Time!'
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2007 1:56pm PT  

Sure, the reporter at TIME magazine gets much of the terminology wrong (hey, he works for TIME, he doesn't have the kind of resources we do here at The BRAD BLOG to get things right when we report them, so we'll cut him some slack), but as a national writer friend of ours commented in a late-night email last night, "DREs are now junk, officially, in mainstream publications such as Time.com"

Well, it's about damned time.

Reporting on the new Nelson-Whitehouse Election Reform bill, which we covered late last week, and which would ban Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems by 2012, TIME declares that the reversal, since 2000, away from such unverifiable, unauditable, unsecurable voting machines "couldn't be more stunning," adding that the bill is "the clearest sign yet of the stampede away from touch-screen."

The report also quotes Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) mirroring his comments when he released the legislation with co-sponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as saying "Voters have to feel confident that their ballot will count as intended." Last week he had said, in his statement, that DREs are "unreliable and vulnerable to error," and that "[t]he bottom line is we have to ensure every vote is counted – and, counted properly."

To which occasional BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger, Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us, asked Nelson rhetorically in comments here, if that's true, "as declared in your November 1 statement, why would you be willing to wait until 2012 for DREs to be banned?...I mean, isn't there a somewhat important election coming up in, oh, let's say, 2008?"

Good point, Em!

The TIME piece also quotes Dan McCrea, of the Florida Voters Coalition borrowing one of our own oft-used metaphors (which we are quite happy to donate to the cause!) in regard to those who fear banning DREs would be a huge waste of their previous investment in the shitty machines.

McCrea tells TIME that such thinking is similar to "buying a fleet of Pintos whose gas tanks you later find out blow up on you, but insisting you're going to keep using them because you spent all that money on them."

Thanks for getting that into TIME, Dan! Smartly done!

He also points out, for those who claim there is not enough time to switch away from dangerous DREs to paper ballots before the November 2008 Presidential Election, "New Mexico voted to convert back to a paper ballot system in the spring of 2006 and had it ready by last November's elections."

Thanks again, Dan. Now if we can just get those Democrats and Election Integrity folks who continue to negotiate with themselves by watering down their own bills, and putting off reform for years down the road --- in order to garner support from folks who are going to oppose them on such bills no matter what --- to start realizing that, and calling instead for real reform NOW, we might actually be in business!

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We've Got Their Numbers...
By Jon Ponder on 11/4/2007 9:08am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Late on Friday, two Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee announced that they intend to vote to confirm Michael Mukasey, Bush's nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general of the United States.

Mukasey has indicated that while he finds the Bush administration's use of waterboarding on suspects to be personally repugnant, he will not object to its use when he becomes the nation's top law enforcement officer.

The Judiciary Committee's vote on Mukasey is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007.

If you find the use of torture by the United States to be abhorrent, please call these two Democratic senators on Monday to urge them to vote against torture --- and vote against Mukasey.

UPDATE FROM BRAD: Feinstein op/eds her reasons for giving Mukasey her vote in the LATimes today. She believes he's "the best nominee we are going to get from this administration", and says she "hopes" for the best, believing that Congress can race to have legislation passed outlawing waterboarding by the CIA (and have it signed by Bush) before Mukasey can rule it to be legal as the previous AG did. She also, apparently, is ignoring the fact that Mukasey is in favor of disenfranchising Photo ID laws, as we reported here last week. What must this woman be thinking?! Is this her first day on Planet Bush?!

The phone numbers for the offices of Feinstein and Schumer in D.C. and in-state follow below...Call them...

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

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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:

RESTRICTION ON USE OF DIRECT RECORDING ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS -
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 VerifiedVoting.org 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 VoteTrustUSA.org 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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Has Best Favorability Rating of All Front-runner Dems Among All Registered Voters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2007 7:20pm PT  


(CBS/WBEN) - Hillary Clinton continues to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, and many voters say they’ll consider supporting her in November 2008 if she becomes the Democratic nominee.

Still, there are obstacles. Many voters think a Hillary Clinton presidency will divide the country rather than unite it. And when Al Gore is added to the list of Democratic candidates, he trails by only five points.
...
Although he has not declared his candidacy, this poll indicates that were he to enter the race, Al Gore could be a serious contender. Near the end of this questionnaire, his name was added to a short list of candidates vying for the nomination. He came in second among Democratic primary voters at 32% – just five points behind Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama trailed behind them in third place with 16% percent.

We note that his favorable/unfavorable rating among registered Democrats in this poll is currently at 46/29. That's better than than any of the others in the race (Clinton: 26/63 *43/41, Obama: 38/24, Edwards: 30/30)

Here are all the numbers from WBEN...

* UPDATE/ED NOTE 10/27/07: WBEN's favorable/unfavorable numbers for Clinton were incorrect, according to CBS's original numbers [PDF]. Gore still has the best favorable/unfavorable rating of all the Democratic candidates among all registered voters. However, WBEN's contention that Clinton's fave/unfave is at 26/63 is entirely wrong. It's 43/41, as we've now noted above. Their incorrect numbers on her, for that question, seem to be taken from an entirely different question in the poll. At least that's our best guess. Details on all of that now follow below...

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

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Text Transcript, Video of Senate Hearings Reveal Federal Judge Less Than Concerned About Disenfranchising Poll Restriction Laws as Approved by John 'Minories Die First' Tanner on Behalf of DoJ Civil Rights Division...
ALSO: How Would California Voters Who Lost Possessions in This Week's Fires Vote Next Month if Such Laws Existed in the State?
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2007 1:16pm PT  

"These remarks display a shameful lack of understanding and sensitivity that is unacceptable in the person charged with enforcing the nation’s laws against voting discrimination," Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) wrote in a question sent to Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey today concerning bizarre and objectionable comments made earlier this month by the DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief, John Tanner.

Tanner, whose recent remarks at the National Latino Congresso in Los Angeles, as video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG earlier this month, have sparked outrage, leading to calls for his firing last week by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), this past Wednesday by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Civil Rights groups have also called for Tanner to be canned in the wake of his remarks claiming that Photo ID restrictions at the polling do effect the elderly, and that that's a "shame." But, minorities needn't worry because "they don't become elderly. They die first."

"The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division has failed miserably in its responsibility to enforce the Voting Rights Act during this Administration," Kennedy said in a statement quoted by TPM Muckraker. "The latest shameful revelations from the Section drive home the urgent need for the next Attorney General to install strong leadership to allow the Voting Section to return to its historic role in ensuring access to the ballot."

Kennedy's question to Mukasey, which TPM Muck has in full, ends with "If you are confirmed, will you review Mr. Tanner’s record and consider whether he should be replaced as head of the Voting Section?"

But for those paying very close attention to Mukasey's confirmation hearings last week, his position on the controversial Photo ID issue --- a concern since some 10 to 30 million legally registered voters, largely Democratic-leaning minorities and elderly, are believed not to have such IDs and would therefore be kept from voting --- was troubling.

We had to review the testimony several times, as given in answer to questions by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), to figure out where he fell on this issue. But a close reading reveals that, while Mukasey offered clear responses objecting to voter suppression issues such as misinformation concerning polling place location, he was far dodgier on the question of polling place Photo ID restrictions.

Close review of the transcript --- posted along with the video in full below --- reveals that Mukasey feels that overt disenfranchisement efforts via dirty tricks, such as misleading and/or threatening fliers and phone calls, definitely amounts to "flat-out fraud and pernicious fraud."

His feelings about disenfranchising Photo ID requirements, however, are far different...

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

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'My colleagues may complain, they may be inconvenienced, they may prefer to focus on other matters...'
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2007 7:06pm PT  

Feingold on the 5th anniversary of Bush's signing of Congressional authorization for use of military force in Iraq:

“I will not stand idly by while this mistaken war continues. I will continue working to end this war and bring our troops home, and I will continue looking in the days and weeks ahead for opportunities to debate and vote on ending the war – this year, and, if necessary, next as well. My colleagues may complain, they may be inconvenienced, they may prefer to focus on other matters. But this Congress has no greater priority than making right the mistake it made five years ago when it authorized this misguided war.”

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