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'Green News Report' 7/29/14
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Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
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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?...

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Says Bringing Change To America Requires 'Guts, Some Determination and Some Fight'
Points Out That He 'Has Never Taken A Dime From A Washington Lobbyist Or Special Interest PAC'
By Alan Breslauer on 1/18/2008 8:37am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Senator John Edwards took his presidential campaign to Los Angeles yesterday, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 at the Southern California Public Service Workers' headquarters. While Edwards spent the bulk of his nearly 20 minute speech going after special interests, corporations and lobbyists, he also took a few shots, without naming anyone, at his main Democratic challengers:

"You don't bring about change by shuffling papers, and you don't bring about change by just giving a speech. We have to actually have some guts, some determination and some fight if we want to bring the change that America so desperately needs."

Edwards also said that he was the "underdog" and challenged the crowd to start a grassroots movement on his behalf that will spread across the country like a "tidal wave of change."


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Scores of Votes Mistallied for Every Major Democratic Candidate
UPDATE: NH Union Leader Says Disparities Discovered in Hand Count Due to Veep Votes Added to Prez Totals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 6:26pm PT  

As mentioned last night in this disturbing article, the early results of the hand counts of one Diebold precinct in Dennis Kucinich's election contest in New Hampshire are now being posted, as they come in, at this New Hampshire SoS page.

As mentioned earlier today, NH SoS Bill Gardner told WMUR in NH that "We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same...Some went up by a vote or two." He didn't, of course, note that a lot of the vote counts (most of them) were off by 5 or more.

And now, the rest of the numbers from the rest of the Manchester wards are coming on. And get a load of Ward 5:

Diebold
Result
Hand
Count
CLINTON 683 619
EDWARDS 255 217
OBAMA 404 365

All of the other candidates seem to have lost votes as well. No clue who received them instead, and must run out to tonight's Oakland screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. But I thought you'd want to know.

WMUR might want to know too. Since their only source seems to be whatever Gardner tells them. They can be contacted here.

There are more fresh numbers there, but we haven't yet had time to review 'em. Other than that, everything is fine with your election system. Or, as WMUR "reported" at 6pm ET today: "The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems."

UPDATE: The New Hampshire Union Leader reports this as the reason for the huge disparities discovered via the hand count:

The widest variations so far were in Manchester's Ward 5. Vote counters there mistakenly transposed write-in votes for vice president as votes for presidential candidate. As a result, all major candidates lost votes. Kucinich lost three in the ward and has a total of 20 votes there. Hillary Clinton lost 64 with a new total of 619; John Edwards lost 38 and has 217 votes; Barack Obama lost 39 and has 365, and Bill Richardson lost seven, leaving him 39.

We've been on the road, and thus, unable to confirm that explanation one way or another, or even add this update from yesterday's paper until now. But we're happy to share it with you nonetheless (even as some dKos fans in comments, have suggested our lack of pointing it out as some sort of "conspiracy theory". Get over yourself, kids. And stand up for democracy while you're at it!)

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary.
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By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 4:55pm PT  

Also meanwhile...Out there in MSM world, where reality creates its own definition, WMUR is reporting that all is fine in New Hampshire:

CONCORD, N.H. --- The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems.

Well, they're sort of correct. "Voting" problems aren't the concern. As we frequently point out, the voters are still doing fine. Leave them alone. The election problems, and the horrible administration thereof, are another matter entirely. And on that front, loads of problems have been "found." But only if you bother to look at them, of course.

Given WMUR's following quote from NH Sec. of State Bill Gardner, which is demonstrably wrong in 3 seconds time if you bother to look at the SoS's very own web page for hand count results, it's not a surprise that WMUR thinks everything is just rosy:

"We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same," Gardner said. "Some went up by a vote or two."

That is what we in the business of actual reporting would call: a lie. Check the numbers for yourself. Yeah, it's technical true that "a lot of the votes were exactly the same," as Gardner says, in the same way that a lot of the troops who go to Iraq don't get killed.

But many more vote counts were not at all the same, ranging anywhere from 5 to 8 votes off in regular cases, across almost all candidates.

And before you say that's no big deal, we'll remind you that in 2004, had just 6 votes per precinct been registered in Ohio for John Kerry instead of George W. Bush, we'd have a different person sitting in the White House right now.

Other than that, and the fact that Gardner has no idea where the memory cards are for his Diebold machines, and all other matter of horrible election oversight, yeah, everything's just fine in New Hampshire.

...CONTACT...
WMUR Newsroom contact page

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Also: Diebold Memory Cards Unaccounted For; Public Record Request by Election Integrity Advocates on Ground Reveal 550+ Votes Read as Blank by Op-Scanner in Stratham...
Clinton, Kucinich Observers There, Nobody from Obama or Edwards, Says Election Attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2008 8:09pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from on the road...

(As mentioned in previous items, I'm now on the road --- currently in Oakland for the Thursday night screening of the more-ironically-named-than-ever documentary, UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections --- and doing my best to keep up while moving. So apologies for the terse reports for the moment, as I continue to roll and have limited time online.)

LATEST OUT OF NH: Disparities being found during hand-counts of ballots, in many wards, many candidates. Diebold op-scan memory cards unaccounted for at the moment, Secretary of State (SoS) doesn't track them after elections, doesn't track error reports during elections. LHS Associates (see below) handles all of it instead, according to reports on the ground. Public records request reveals hundreds of ballots in one area scanned as blank due to incorrect ink used on ballots, and other problems on LHS problem report forms.

* * *

Numbers are now being posted from both the Democratic and Republican hand-counts in the NH Primary Election contest. So far, only wards in Manchester (Hillsborough County) have been hand-counted, and disparities between the original counts from the Diebold optical-scan machine and the hand inspections seem to be occurring in many wards, and for many candidates.

Here is the SoS Recount page with the totals, that I haven't yet been able to review in full.

While sources on the ground at the counting today have told me that officials were not announcing the originally counted results at the counting room, the SoS web page lists what they claim are the original counts --- previously verified by nobody --- versus the recounted numbers.

The disparities, as I've quickly been able to review them, are small, but consistent, in ward after ward, across almost all of the candidates. I'm told that the manufacturers of the optical-scan machines (in this case, Diebold) have estimated an expected error rate of 1% on this type of tallying device which, as noted by one of our contacts in NH, is ridiculous, if you consider that most states and counties only kick in "automatic recounts" when the margin between the two leading candidates is less than .5% or so.

ADDITIONALLY...Public records requests are being made on the spot, for errors and malfunctions at various voting precincts. An early review of the error forms turned over from the public record request made by Election Integrity experts overseeing the counting, has revealed that in Stratham there were some 550 ballots that were not read by the op-scan at all. They were seen as blank ballots. Officials there noticed the problem, and then hand-counted some 3000 ballots after the error was discovered.

Apparently, as we've seen elsewhere, voters were given the wrong pen to use and the op-scanners did not "see" this particular type of ink.

Some of the election day error and incident reports, as read to me over the phone just now by Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Paddy Shaffer of Ohio Election Justice Campaign, both of whom are on the ground in NH overseeing the counts, and assisting Republican contest candidate Albert Howard...

(Town of Stratham, 9:00pm)

PROBLEM: Printout indicated 550 "blank voted" ballots which indicated that bad pens were used.
SOLUTION: Went to Stratham to confirm that approximately 15 bad pens were used on election day. The town had, by that time, hand counted and announced those results as official.

PROBLEM: Too many blanks, used wrong marking pens
SOLUTION: Sent Gerry and Tina with lucid machines.

(Town of Lebanon, precinct #2, 9:00 (am or pm?))

PROBLEM: Corrupt Count.
SOLUTION: Shut off and back on. Count back to 155.

(Town of Manchester, 9:30pm)

PROBLEM: P/U 3rd Bad Machine per John S. (likely refers to John Silvestro, owner of LHS)
SOLUTION:

I spoke with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, who is also on the ground in NH, and she asks: "If it wasn't 550 ballots, but just 55 or so in some places, would they even have seen it and known to recount ALL of the ballots?"

She also noted that the error report came from LHS Associates, the private company (with the, um, less-than-reputable background) that is the sole Diebold vendor, programmer, operator and service provider in NH and most of the other New England states.

(UPDATE: Harris has more of her own first-hand observations now posted here at BBV.)

LHS, apparently, is the one responsible for tracking (or not) and reporting (or not) any such errors, rather than the Secretary of State or local election officials. That tracks with previous BRAD BLOG reporting on LHS, and how they operate in Connecticut, where there are similar concerns for whether or not the SoS even knows what the error rates are for the system they use, since problem reports are given to LHS instead of to public officials.

The BRAD BLOG has reported within the past few days machine problems during the election in a number of towns. In fact, of the first four towns we called that used the Diebold machines, all four reported machine failures of one type or another.

FURTHER...Voting Rights attorney John Bonifaz, legal director of VoterAction.org, was on the scene today, and just told me that he has great concerns about the transparency of both the initial election and the hand-count auditing process that got under way in earnest today.

"I'm very concerned that this is not a fully transparent process that is happening there," he told me.

The sensitive memory cards containing the programming and tabulation from the Diebold optical-scanners are apparently "missing in action" for the moment. Those cards, as viewers of HBO's Hacking Democracy know by now, may be used to hack an election, such that only a proper hand-count of the paper ballots afterwards will reveal the hack. (See the video of that hack for yourself right here. The same exact machine being hacked in that film was used across the state to count 80% of the ballots in NH in last week's primary.)

And yet, says Bonifaz who spent time today speaking with New Hampshire Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Attorney General, nobody seems to have any idea where those cards are and what has become of them.

He says he was told by Secretary of State William Gardner that his office doesn't get involved in tracking what happens to those memory cards. Some have reportedly been returned to LHS, and may have had their memory erased already.

"When you have a private company counting 80% of the votes, and you later learn that the memory cards are unaccounted for, you have a serious question about the transparency and accountability in that process," Bonifaz said.

He notes that federal law requires all materials from elections be preserved for 22 months after the election. So if those materials have already been lost, destroyed, or over-written, there are legal questions that must be addressed.

Bonifaz also noted that while representatives and observers for the Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich campaigns were on site, nobody at all seemed to be there from either the Barack Obama or John Edwards camps. (Incredibly enough, I might add!)

* * *

Our earlier report today had a number of important updates that you may wish to review. Including the fact that the Kucinich people have asked for more observers (with video cameras if you have them!) at the State Archives Bldg., 71 South Fruit Street, Concord, New Hampshire, to help oversee the 6 counting teams. Much more in that report as well...

UPDATE 1/17/08 6:25 PM PST by Emily Levy: There are enough volunteers for tomorrow's counting. After Friday's counting, the count will be suspended for the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and is scheduled to resume next Tuesday. Folks on the ground in NH ask that you not show up there without talking with someone first, as they don't want anyone to make the trip unless they're needed. Volunteering will be coordinated, and that system is being set up now. Check back here for updates.

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary. And please consider donating to our efforts to continue to report on issues of Election Integrity in NH and elsewhere, as what virtually nobody else in the media (MSM or blogosphere!) seems willing to do at this time.
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By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2008 3:58pm PT  

As you might have guessed, I'm buried for the moment in a blizzard of incoming calls, emails, and more (such as bad, and misleading, articles and blog items about all of this), even while trying to both learn more details on a number of fronts and keep up with media appearances to discuss the issues so Americans might better understand what's really going on here, and what the concerns really are.

So I'll have much more on all of this tonight, as I get caught up with a number of related items that I've been working on at the same time, while trying to keep up with all of the above.

Until then, consider this an Open Thread. And I hope you'll help me, by continuing to spread the facts about the questions at hand.

Those questions begin with this concern:

While pollsters and the MSM and even theoretically-Progressive bloggers are speculating about what might have gone wrong in dozens of different, independent, transparent pre-election polls --- almost all of which found precisely the same information --- very few seem to be questioning whether the completely unverified results, from 80% of New Hampshire, counted on hackable, error-prone Diebold machines, completely programmed, controlled, and operated by a single, private, less-than-respectable company (LHS Associates), were actually accurate in the first place.

At the same time, evidence exists that even the Exit Polls showed Obama was winning throughout the day, and there have been a number of eyebrow-raising questions about the reported results themselves, as discovered so far, during independent analysis of them. Not enough anomalies have yet been found, in my opinion, to raise any large red flags, but certainly a still-growing number of anomalies for yellow ones.

I'll add that even if the ballots, if they are ever actually counted, turn out to reveal a different result than reported, it could be due to error, not fraud, and if fraud, it needn't have been committed by anybody related, in any way, to the Clinton camp.

I believe we all deserve to know if the results, as reported, were accurate beyond a shadow of a doubt. That is the sensible and responsible question for the moment. And anybody who offers you reasons for why Clinton won (perhaps she did, we cannot know for sure at this time) or why Obama lost (perhaps he did, we cannot know for sure at this time) is doing nothing but irresponsibly speculating.

Discuss. More tonight...

(UPDATE: Okay, more tomorrow instead...promise. Lots going on.)

For more, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG coverage, since the '08 Primary. And please consider supporting the work of The BRAD BLOG with an ONLINE DONATION. Our support comes almost solely from readers like you. Seriously.
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Cites Concerns About 'Unexplained Disparities' in Hand and Diebold Machine Counted Ballots
Says 'It’s about establishing whether 100% of the voters had 100% of their votes counted exactly the way they cast them'
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2008 6:10pm PT  

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

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Discussing NH, and the 'Progressive' Crackpots Who Don't Believe Ballots Should Actually be Counted in Primary Elections...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2008 12:05pm PT  

10 minutes on this morning's Stephanie Miller Show. Discussing why things like actually counting the ballots in New Hampshire would have been a great idea. And on the lunacy and self-destructiveness of progressives (like this uninformed front-pager over at dKos, and his even lesser-informed followers, such as Markos himself) buying into the conspiracy theory that the dozens of verified, independent, multiple-sourced pre-election polls were wrong, but the unverified and uncounted election results, as announced, are somehow magically known to be accurate.

The results might well be right. But unlike the transparent and verifiable polls, no human being has actually bothered to count or even examine 80% of the ballots in NH. So whose the irresponsible crackpot here? Some of these folks are digging their own November grave.

We stay up all night without sleeping and go on Steph's show, you decide...

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Analaysis Shows Candidates 'Positions Swapped' Where Ballots Counted by Hand Versus 'Counted' by Machine...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2008 1:47am PT  

It's been an exhausting day, as a few folks in the world are finally beginning to open their eyes, and realize that not counting ballots, and trusting instead, in error-prone, hackable machines for "faith-based results" doesn't make a lot of sense. Particularly in an election for which nobody --- and I mean nobody --- has come up with a legitimate explanation for the surprising results. Oh, there's been plenty of speculation, but no actual facts. So why it's so difficult for folks to realize that the biggest unknown here --- what the ballots actually said on them --- has gone wholly unexamined in 80% of NH, continues to elude me.

That point eludes Tribune Media Services columnist Bob Koehler too. So I hope you read his eye-opening take on that for Thursday's corporate mainstream papers.

As promised, in my long, and much-updated original piece from last night, first expressing concerns and asking questions about the NH results, folks today have been looking at the precinct numbers to compare the difference between those which "counted" ballots on Diebold op-scan systems (for about 80% of NH's voters), versus those that still hand-count ballots in the Granite State (about 20% of the votes).

Ben Moseley of The Contrarian, most succinctly covers what other folks have found as well today. Namely, a 7 point overall bump for Clinton over Obama where the machines were used instead of hand-counts...

I just spent the last two hours putting together a spreadsheet of the Democratic results of the NH primary for each town with almost all but a few towns reporting, and the results were somewhat surprising.
...
I say "somewhat" because some people will say this entirely foreseeable. What the informal statistics show is that Hillary Clinton received a 4.5% boost in towns using Diebold voting machines compared to towns that didn't. Meanwhile, Obama was hurt in these towns showing a 2.5% decrease in the Diebold towns.

Moseley responsibly notes, however, that there could well be other reasons for Clinton's popularity in areas where Diebold's machines are used, in lieu of actually counting ballots. For example, hand-counting in NH is generally done in the more rural areas and smaller precincts. Perhaps Obama is more popular, or Clinton less, in such areas for any number of reasons.

The comparisons are only anecdotally useful for that reason. However, had the hand-counted results matched up similarly to those in Diebold areas, it might well have been a sign that there was little to worry about. (Even if I personally think not counting ballots is always something to worry about. But that's just me, one of those whacky pro-Democracy fellers, I guess.)

Moseley a blogger and political science student from American University, writes about Clinton's Diebold bump: "Does this show election fraud? Right now I'm not sure, but the possibility definitely remains and must not be taken off the table."

Then, in two updates, he offers a coupla more eye-brow raisers...

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

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Syndicated Columnist Robert Koehler Writes for Tomorrow's Papers: 'Possibility of Tainted Results, a Prospect Most of Media Can't Bear'
Notes Problems With NH's Diebold Machines 'Remain Unsolved'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2008 4:35pm PT  

Syndicated Tribune Media Services columnist Bob Koehler bumps up our serious concerns about last night's wholly untransparent, and still-uncounted (by anything but a hackable Diebold computer, and a company with an executive criminal past, to say the least) New Hampshire Primary election results, from "blogger conspiracy theory" to mainstream media concern.

Here are the first few grafs of his column, set to run in tomorrow's editions of subscribing mainstream media papers...

PRIMARY CONCERNS
By Robert C. Koehler
Tribune Media Services

As the breathless sports coverage of the presidential primaries bursts around me this morning, I’m doing my best to resist surrendering to the contrived drama about “comeback kids” and the flying shrapnel of numbers and hold onto my troubled skepticism about the electoral process, or at least most of it.

First of all, before we get too enthusiastic about feminist solidarity or wax knowingly about New Hampshire Democrats’ traditional soft-heartedness toward the Clinton family, let’s ponder yet again the possibility of tainted results, which is such an unfun prospect most of the media can’t bear to remember that all the problems we’ve had with electronic voting machines — and Diebold machines in particular, which dominate New Hampshire polling places — remain unsolved.

Did the Hillary campaign really defy the pollsters? She had been trailing Barack Obama by 13 percentage points, 42 to 29, in a recent Zogby poll, as election watchdog Brad Friedman pointed out. And the weekend’s “rapturous packed rallies for Mr. Obama,” as the New York Times put it, “suggested Mrs. Clinton was in dire shape.”

So when she emerged from the Tuesday primary with an 8,000-vote and 3-percentage-point victory over Obama, perhaps — considering the notorious unreliability, not to mention hackability, of Diebold machines — the media might have hoisted a few red flags in the coverage, rather than immediately chalk the results up to Clinton’s tears and voter unpredictability. (Oh, if only more reporters considered red flags patriotic.)

The fact is, whatever actually happened in New Hampshire voting booths on Tuesday, our elections are horrifically insecure. For instance, Bev Harris, of the highly respected voting watchdog organization Black Box Voting, recently wrote that the Diebold 1.94w optical scan machines used in some 55 percent of New Hampshire precincts (representing more than 80 percent of the state’s voters) are “the exact same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting project in Leon County (Florida)” a few years ago. They haven’t been upgraded; the security problems haven’t been fixed.

National, or at least media, denial about this situation doesn’t say much for the strength of our democracy.

The rest of the column is just as good, in which he discusses the MSM's "inability to incorporate news of ongoing voting-machine insecurity into actual election coverage."

Full column now posted here...

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Other Pre-Election Numbers, For Republicans and Rest of Dems, Nearly Dead on the Money...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2008 8:49pm PT  

[UPDATED several times at end of article, and still developing with new updates...]

I'm not sure why Obama would have conceded so soon, given the virtually inexplicable turn of events in New Hampshire tonight.

What's going on here? Before proceeding, I recommend you read the third section of the post I just ran an hour or so ago, concerning the way the ballots are counted in New Hampshire, largely on Diebold optical-scan voting systems, wholly controlled and programmed by a very very bad company named LHS Associates.

Those Diebold op-scan machines are the exact same ones that were hacked in the HBO documentary, Hacking Democracy. See the previous report, as I recommend, which also includes a video of that hack, and footage of the guy who runs LHS Associates.

That said, the the pre-election pollster's numbers (NOTE: that's not Exit Polls, but Pre-Election Polls!) were dead-on, for the most part, on the Republican side, as well as on the Democratic side. Except in the do-or-die (for Hillary) Clinton v. Obama race. I'm watching MSNBC right now, and they all seem to agree that the results, for the moment, defy explanation.

I concur.

Here's a screenshot of a round up of all of the latest polls from RealClearPolitics.com tonight, and more, to get an idea of the serious concerns here...

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

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Gonzales Still Under Fire, ACVR Still Off Scot-Free, Along With the White House, the DoJ, John Tanner, Ann Coulter and Everyone Else the Democrats Have Utterly Failed to Properly Bring to Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2007 2:09pm PT  

First, the good-ish news. Just out from Jason Leopold at truthout [emphasis added]:

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is attempting to build a case of misconduct against Alberto Gonzales by showing that the former attorney general may have played a hands-on role in ousting former New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias based on pressure he received from former White House political adviser Karl Rove, according to several individuals familiar with the agency's probe.

Succumbing to improper political pressure in firing a US attorney would constitute a violation of Justice Department policy.

Recently, the OPR contacted Iglesias's former executive assistant, Rumaldo Armijo, to interview him about whether he was pressured by Pat Rogers, a Republican attorney in Albuquerque, and Mickey Barnett, a Republican lobbyist, to bring charges of voter fraud against Democrats in the state, individuals with knowledge of the scope of the OPR probe said.

Rogers was affiliated with the American Center for Voting Rights, a now defunct non-profit organization that sought to defend voter rights and increase public confidence in the fairness and outcome of elections. However, it has since emerged that the organization played a major role in suppressing the votes of people who intended to cast ballots for Democrats in various states. Rogers is also the former chief counsel to the New Mexico state Republican party, and was tapped by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) to replace Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico.
...
In an interview with Truthout in May, Iglesias said he had investigated so-called voter fraud allegations and found zero evidence to support the claims. He added that, based on evidence that had surfaced thus far and "Karl Rove's obsession with voter fraud issues throughout the country," he now believes GOP operatives had wanted him to go after Democratic-funded organizations in an attempt to swing the 2006 midterm elections to Republicans.

The BRAD BLOG has, of course, been following the GOP's voter suppression scam, headed by the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) for years, ever since we first outed them as a phony GOP front group back in March of 2005. See our ACVR Special Coverage page for the entire sordid mess.

As well, in March of 2007, we ran exclusive comments from John Boyd, one of the top Democratic attorneys in New Mexico, who offered his first hand account of the pressure being brought to bear on Iglesias by Republicans in the state to bring phony charges of Democratic "voter fraud" as far back as prior to the 2004 election.

A review of Boyd's insider perspective is instructive, to say the least, particularly as we head into 2008 when disingenuous cries of "voter fraud" will be heard from Republicanists from coast to coast --- as long as they don't concern Ann Coulter's own voter fraud --- and as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a key case on Photo ID polling place restrictions, described by the Century Foundation's Tova Andrea Wang, in her year-end column, "The Best and Worst of 2007: Voting Rights and Elections," to be "a far more important decision than Bush v. Gore ever was."

But with the continuing --- some might say, snail's paced --- OPR criminal investigation of Gonzales, we should note that the probe, as mentioned above, at least can be said to be moving forward in some fashion. Unfortunately, that's a far cry more than we can say for the job the Democrats are doing in bringing accountability via the U.S. Congress after a full year on the job.

Even the New York Times, in an editorial over the holiday, called on the lackluster Dems to get their act in gear, calling for "a full investigation into the misconduct that may have occurred," in the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, adding that "it needs to be investigated vigorously and completely."

Then, unfortunately, they offer readers the bad news...

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

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ALSO: John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner STILL in the DoJ Voting Rights Office Nearly a Week After His 'Immediate Resignation'!
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2007 4:33pm PT  

Republicans in the Senate are refusing to allow an up-or-down vote on nominations to the FEC, which means that at the end of the year when the terms of four current appointees end --- including previously recess-appointed GOP "vote fraud" zealot Hans von Spakovsy --- there will not be enough commissioners to even hold a vote. An interesting, if troubling, notion for a Presidential Election year.

But, as the GOP would not allow votes on the three other nominees (two Democrats and one Republican) after a block had been put on von Spakovsky by Senators Obama (D-IL) and Feingold (D-WI), and as Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) plans to hold pro forma Senate sessions to keep Bush from making another inappropriate recess appointment to the committee, and as Bush also refuses to send up a replacement nominee for von Spakovsky...it looks like that's where we're headed.

TPM Muck has the story, and Reid's statement on the floor today.

So it looks like another GOP vote fraudster goes down for now, now that Democrats have chosen to stand up a bit, for a change. But like all of these guys --- and like any good Bond villain --- they may not stay "dead" for long.

RELATED: Speaking of which, our DoJ Voting Rights section sources tell us John "Minorities Die First" Tanner has still not left the office, as we originally reported in a late-night posting on Tuesday! That, despite having supposedly "resigned immediately" as of last Friday! What's going on here? Is he deleting files on his computer? Was his whole resignation, and supposed reassignment to another job in the Civil Rights Division, just a hoax to get Congress off the DoJ's back? We're trying to figure it out.

Writes one of our sources to The BRAD BLOG this evening: "Tanner is obviously having problems letting go. He's in the office every day. Since his office is in a corner of the building, nobody can be exactly sure what's going on."

Another Voting Section source also writes to say, "Tanner is still there." And adds, "Its awkward. His co-conspirators dine with him."

PSSST... Could someone on the House Judiciary Committee please call the DoJ Office of Legal Affairs and find out what the hell he's still doing in his office?! What is he waiting for, Christmas (of 2008?)

More when, and if, we can learn anything...

UPDATE 12/21/07: He was still in the office today, Friday, a full week after resigning last Friday "effective immediately". A staffer in the voting section, when we called to check, said she expected that he'd be back next Wednesday, after the long holiday weekend.

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Grassley and Specter vote Yay; Now It's Up to Reid and Pelosi to Schedule Full Floor Votes as White House Continues to Scoff at Both Congress and the Rule of Law...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2007 1:10pm PT  

Two high-ranking Republicans, Arlen Specter (PA) and Chuck Grassley (IA), joined the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee today by voting in favor of holding both Karl Rove and former White House Chief of Staff, Joshua Bolten in Contempt of Congress.

The committee recommendation, which was passed by a 12-7 vote, now goes to Majority Leader Harry Reid who may, or may not, join House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in failing to hold a full floor vote on the recommendation. Pelosi has held a recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee, finding both Bolten and former White House attorney Harriet Miers in contempt, since July.

The White House, which we all know is well above the law, continued their bullying of the Democrats who are likely to shrink in fear at the intimidation.

"They should be fully aware of the futility of pressing ahead on this," AP reports White House spokesman Tony Fratto as saying. "It has long been understood that, in circumstances like these, that the constitutional prerogatives of the president would make it a futile and purely political act for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys."

"I vote for the contempt citations knowing that it's highly likely to be a meaningless act," Specter said. "In this context we have no alternative."

Paul Kiel at TPM Muck speculates: "Perhaps the Senate and House will team up and schedule both votes before the New Year, sending the White House contempt citations against Rove, Miers, and Bolten as a Christmas gift. Or maybe nothing will happen."

Take your time, kids. Those in contempt have said they won't allow you to carry out your duty in holding them in contempt anyway, so why make so much unpleasantness just before the holidays?

What's your guess on when/if Reid/Pelosi will schedule such votes?

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DoJ Was 'Used As A Political Sword Against Democrats' According To Host Dan Abrams
Says 'It's A Department Where Political Loyalty Trumped Experience, Qualifications And Objective Justice'
By Alan Breslauer on 12/13/2007 11:01am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

The third installment of "Bush League Justice" on MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams continued last night with an investigation into how the DoJ has targeted Democrats for investigation and prosecution. In fact, one study shows that Democrats have been investigated and prosecuted at nearly six times the rate of Republicans at the federal level. According to the study's author, the statistical possibility of this happening by chance is 1 in 10,000. Studies show that prosecutions on the state level are fairly even between Democrats and Republicans.

This is hardly surprising since the DoJ tracked which attorney's "Exhibited loyalty to the President and Attorney General" and which were members of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society.

Evaluating attorneys based on whether they were "loyal Bushies", according to former U.S. Attorney and current Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), is "disgraceful".

Also "troubling" to Abrams is the timing of investigations and prosecutions which often occurred right before elections, in violation of the DoJ's own procedures manual. When the Bushies were eventually caught doing so, they simply changed the manual.

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New Media 'Progressives' Holding Hands With the Corporate Establishment, in a Search for the 'Most Electable'...
By Kenneth Anderson on 12/12/2007 10:47am PT  

Guest Editorial by Kenneth Anderson

Endlessly mundane and always uninformative, the moribund struggle for party nominations in what we so disrespectfully still call the "presidential campaign" inhabit a realm of such vacuous inanity one can palpably sense malignant tumors of ennui forming within.

While would-be Republican candidates spar for the GOP nomination by appealing to brain stem functions (that is, when they're not extolling us with tales of their heavenly devotion), Democrats carry themselves at only a marginally elevated level. This is not to say that there are not candidates --- on both sides --- who would like to raise the bar and address actual issues and policy, but those are shunned by our craven and cack-handed media mavens, who never seem to tire of their perceived role as king-maker in what has become --- for the world's "greatest democracy" --- an embarrassing spectacle of the most base and primitive dimensions. I suspect if media moguls could get Romney and Huckabee to square off in a cage fight, well, that would be next on the tour of the candidates. Who needs all this talk? Though the American public demand campaigns of substance, there appears too little of that on the political horizon, while furry idiots like Wolf Blitzer express puzzlement at the term "triangulating" as it pertains to Hillary Clinton.

What we constantly hear from the corporate media, though it is never stated quite so bluntly, is that those with the money become the kings. The American political campaign system is now a big-money bonanza for media corporations. These corporations prop up candidates with the most money knowing full well that that money will come straight back to them in the form of campaign advertising. The media are now simply advertisers for the biggest political spenders, which is perhaps the reason why the campaign cycle is now virtually continuous. It is a positive feedback loop, reinforcing in the minds of the public that the only viable candidates are the ones with the money, the polls reflect this, more money pours in for those "viable candidates," which in turn cycles right back to the media money machine.

Which is why I am constantly amazed that the so-called "progressive" blogs have chosen to endorse corporate-backed candidates like Hillary Clinton.

Though Dennis Kucinich espouses ideals resonant with most liberal voters, he is as marginalized by progressives as much as the mainstream media as "unelectable," though no one ever seems to understand or explain exactly what that means. Is it his ears?

By all appearances, blogs such as dKos, MyDD, etc, have now simply become another arm of the Democratic party and their backing of the major, big-money candidates simply because they are deemed "electable" entirely betrays the original purpose of their fora.

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