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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, July 28, 2014
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
Previous GNRs: 7/22/14 - 7/17/14 - Archives...
Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record wildfires burn the Pacific Northwest; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Previous GNRs: 7/17/14 - 7/15/14 - Archives...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: CA gets tough on water wasters...
Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
Death to Zombie Myths!: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad takes on a bunch of lies that just won't die -- from e-cigs to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to 'global cooling' to the death penalty to marriage equality in MS and more...
FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS CA DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES U.S. CONSTITUTION
George W. Bush appointee rules state system violates Constitution's ban of 'cruel and unusual punishments'...
'Green News Report' 7/15/14
Divesting from fossil fuels; Germany gives $1b to climate fund; Australia carbon tax repeal; All-electric Formula E racing revs up; PLUS: Climate denier Murdoch...
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...


Cheney, Gonzales May Also Be Included, According to the Wisconsin Senator on This Morning's 'Meet the Press'...
By Margie Burns on 7/22/2007 9:22am PT  

Guest blogged from DC by Margie Burns

Listening to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) for fifteen minutes is worth a week of the para-discourse from elsewhere on national television. Feingold said on Meet the Press this morning that he will introduce a resolution to censure George W. Bush “in a few days.”

The censure resolutions will focus on two huge issues:

• Bush's process for getting us into the war in Iraq, including misleading statements and misuse of intelligence before the war; and
• “the outrageous attack on the rule of law,” including illicit electronic surveillance and other surveillance, and administration approval of torture. “This administration has assaulted the constitution,” Feingold said briskly.

Feingold said that he has talked with the Democratic leadership about the resolution, adding that it might provide an opportunity as well for Republicans uncomfortable with the administration but unwilling to use impeachment.

Questioned by Tim Russert about whether the resolution would pass, Feingold said basically we’ll see how it goes. He commented, “There’s a lot of support in the country for actually impeaching the president and the vice president.”...

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

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McCain Camp Reportedly Working With PR Outfit Tied to Apparent Creator of 'JEW-liani' Hit Video
An Elaborate 'Hoax'... or Something More?
By Arlen Parsa on 7/19/2007 10:21am PT  

Guest Blogged by Arlen Parsa

A mysterious and politically-incorrect series of viral videos posted on YouTube are lighting up speculation online about their origin. A report published on July 13th attributed them to an employee of of Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm (SRCP), the same Republican firm that produced the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads in 2004.

The videos, posted on the YouTube account "abrad2345", mock several Republican candidates, at times making racist attacks against Rudy Giuliani, making fun of his bout with prostate cancer, suggesting that Fred Thompson's wife is transgender, and Mitt Romney is gay. SRCP now apparently works for John McCain.

"In 2004, Mr. McCain said the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advertisement asserting that Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had not properly earned his medals from the Vietnam War was 'dishonest and dishonorable,'" the New York Times reported in February. "Nonetheless, he has hired the firm that made the spots, Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, which worked on his 2000 campaign, to work for him again this year."

Plans for syndication of the story alleging an SRCP connection to the videos on The BRAD BLOG Monday were delayed at the last minute due to legal concerns after SRCP's lawyers claimed the story was false and asked that it be purged from The Daily Background blog, where it had been originally published.

Watch the first of the "abrad" videos (video at right), which appear to be endorsing Giuliani in a mocking way. The video even resorts to racism for its not-so-subtle attacks on Giuliani. More of the videos can be found here.

"We strongly urge you to cease distribution of all content furthering from these false assertions," a July 16th letter from SRCP's law firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP read. "The business reputation and professionalism of SRCP is being challenged in a way that causes irreparable damage unless you act immediately."

Oh, the irony. (A complete copy of the letter can be found at the bottom of this post...)

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

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Edwards: Other Candidates 'Not Serious', Clinton: 'We've Got to Cut the Number...Our Guys Should Talk'
By Alan Breslauer on 7/12/2007 10:18pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are caught on tape today at the NAACP Democratic presidential candidates forum seemingly making anti-democratic comments about shrinking the democratic field in future debate settings. (Video available at left.)

Fox "News", who filed the report during Brit Hume's Special Report on Thursday, included sub-titles for the "overheard" post-forum conversation between Clinton and Edwards. They also managed to get in several cheapshots against a number of other Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama.

As subtitled by Fox during the video clip, the exchange between Clinton and Edwards purportedly went as follows:

JOHN EDWARDS: ...at some point...(unintelligible)...maybe the Fall...We should try to have...a more serious and a smaller group.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well...we...we've got to cut the number...because they are...because they are just being trivialized.

EDWARDS: ...and they're...they're not serious. They're not serious.

CLINTON: No...you know...I...I...I think there was an effort by our campaigns to do that. It got...it got somehow...detoured. We've gotta get back to it...because that's all we're going to do between now and then is that...(Barack Obama walks over)...thanks, Barack. (Obama walks away) So...we...us...(Dennis Kucinich walks over) thanks, Dennis (Kucinich walks away)...our guys should talk.

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Fitzgerald Unhappy, But Thompson and Guilliani Thrilled
As Bush Senior Prepares to Roll Over in His Grave...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2007 11:46pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...

Via TPM, the DoJ manual on Commutations:

Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions
...
Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. Nor are commutation requests generally accepted from persons who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court proceeding.

And from Patrick Fitzgerald's reaction:

We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as “excessive.” The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.

Meanwhile, former Sen. Fred Thompson couldn't be happier:

I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the President’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.

...And Guilliani joins him in standing firmly against National Security for America, and in favor of outing covert CIA assets:

After evaluating the facts, the President came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct.

George W. Bush's father, however, feels differently. Or, at least he did back in 1999 when addressing his former colleagues at the CIA...


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By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2007 9:32pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...It's not easy keeping up from the road. But we're doing our best....

Leahy on Meet the Press today (via TPM, who has more, video available at C&L)...

RUSSERT: Are you prepared to hold the Bush White House, the vice president, the attorney general and his office under contempt of Congress?

LEAHY: That is something that the whole Congress has to vote on. In our case, in the Senate, we'd have to vote on it; in the House, they would have to vote on it. I can't...

RUSSERT: Would you go that far?

LEAHY: If they don't cooperate, yes, I'd go that far. I mean, this is very important to the American people.

Leahy's comments synch up with what Conyer's telegraphed a week during a House Judiciary hearing when he asked outgoing Dep. AG Paul McNulty if the DoJ would work with Congress should the White House ignore their subpoenas and it became necessary to issue criminal contempt charges. (For the record, McNulty punted in response, stating he's recused himself from the issue, will likely be gone by then, since he's already resigned, and otherwise, couldn't speak for the DoJ on the matter.)

Washington Post noticed Leahy's comments as well, and offers this road map to what comes next in their Monday edition...

The next step is for the congressional committee chairman to rule on the validity of the privilege claims. If the claims are deemed invalid, the committee can repeat the directive to comply. If the president continues to refuse, the committee can find the president in criminal contempt, and the issue would go to the full Senate or House. If a majority in either chamber approves the criminal citation, the matter is referred to a U.S. attorney with a recommendation to issue an indictment.

"Referred to a U.S. attorney." See what a frickin' mess we're looking at here? The USA in question would be Jeffrey A. Taylor of the District of Columbia. Unless he gets fired any time soon. Don't know much about Taylor, with no time to dig for now. So feel free to fill us in with any thoughts on him in comments.

As the Summer of Accountability continues...

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Fight Over Access to Docs Could Lead to Constitutional Confrontation (and Impeachment?)...
UPDATE: Feingold Issues Statement, Says Subpeonas Have Bipartisan Support in Senate to Help End Stonewalling by White House Concerning 'Illegal Spying Program'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2007 11:29am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Atlanta...

Just out from AP...

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush's warrant-free eavesdropping program.

Also named in subpoenas signed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., were the Justice Department and the National Security Council.

The committee wants documents that might shed light on internal squabbles within the administration over the legality of the program, said a congressional official speaking on condition of anonymity because the subpoenas had not been made public.

As TPM Muckraker notes in their breaking coverage, "The trigger is pulled...Get ready for a huge court fight."

RAW STORY has a statement from Sen. Leahy concerning the subpoenas.

And as Joseph Cannon guest blogged here yesterday, a subpoena was/is needed to begin the impeachment process. Any subpeona issued to Cheney's office and/or the White House. Well, we now have one.

"If Cheney or any of his underlings refuse to comply with a single subpoena --- and that's a very good bet --- he becomes instantly impeachable, on the same grounds that brought down Nixon," wrote Cannon, who knows the topic well.

Stay tuned. It may be a busy summer...

UPDATE 12:06pm PT: In a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG (posted in full below) Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says "After a year and a half of stonewalling by the Administration...The bipartisan support for issuing these subpoenas demonstrates that both Democrats and Republicans are fed up with the misleading statements from the Attorney General and the Administration about this illegal program."

Feingold's complete brief statement follows below...

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

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By Alan Breslauer on 6/26/2007 2:48am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer



The video includes highlights from John and Elizabeth Edwards's Tonight Show appearance last night. Elizabeth, who looked great and said she feels great, gave an impassioned response to a Leno question about the mixed reaction the Edwardses received from the media after deciding to continue on with the presidential campaign after her diagnosis with incurable breast cancer, stating at one point, "And honestly, people who have been in the same situation all do what we do. Just grab hold of life as hard as they can and do everything they can to make whatever days they've got left mean something."

On the lighter side, Leno questioned Elizabeth about whether she hangs out with "some of the other spouses like Michelle Obama or Bill Clinton" at campaign functions. John Edwards also garnered laughs by poking fun at his highly publicized $400 haircut.

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Former Rove Aide Susan Ralston Testified to Heavy Use of Email Accounts Provided by Republican National Committee
So Where Are The RNC-DOJ-WH-OVP Emails About Chandra Levy? Anthrax Letters? Clint Curtis?
By Margie Burns on 6/19/2007 10:56am PT  

Guest Blogged by The BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns

Those separate email accounts – email accounts held by people working in the White House and the Office of the Vice President, often with security clearances, but not “.gov” accounts – now threaten to become bigger news. Those alternate accounts, as we know now from work done by the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the new report from the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, both potentially and actually allowed WH and DOJ and OVP personnel to communicate ‘off the books’ up to a point. While theoretically still bound by the rules for preserving presidential records (see below) the 88 government officials with email accounts provided by the Republican National Committee could move with electronic fluidity from their official to their partisan political duties, and back again, with remarkably little scrutiny for the entire four years of Bush’s first term.

So any correspondence about --- for example --- Chandra Levy and Gary Condit, 9/11 and Iraq, anthrax mailings and Judith Miller, will remain lost from public view until the advanced technology of un-deleting can sweep it up from the bottom of whatever files it has been submerged in to date.

Tabling for now such topics as political motivation in the firing and hiring of US Attorneys, the immediate question is, exactly how EARLY did administration personnel start using these alternate email accounts?...

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

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Refers to GOP Operative, Mark 'Thor' Hearne, by Name as Source of 'Information'
Hearne and His Disinfo Operatives Need to be Subpeonaed Immediately...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 8:05am PT  


This is exactly why Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and his "voter fraud" scamming buddies need to be called in, under oath --- with subpoenas if necessary --- before a Congressional committee. And pronto. The garbage they've been circulating for years is still taken "as gospel" by the Bush Dead Enders.

Here's one of them. Peter Kirsanow, appointed by Bush in 2001 to the US Commission on Civil Rights. Laura McGann has more details on this clown. But at left is the video of this clown's Senate testimony from last Thursday --- even after all of this stuff has been completely discredited --- repeating the same garbage, known well enough for him to repeat it a mile-a-minute, in a hearing concerning intimidation at the polls.

And yes, you read that right. This guy is on the US Commission on Civil Rights. The entire system has been compromised. It's time to haul in the ACVR bunch and get them on the record, to find out exactly "whodunnit." For example, the ACVR had nearly a million dollars to operate their "non-partisan" tax-exempt outfit in order to generate propaganda for chumps like Kirsanow to puke up in official hearings. That was the plan --- even while they lied about it on their tax forms --- and it's still working like a charm.

Before he became a "non-partisan" "voting rights" advocate, Hearne was the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, Inc. He was recognized --- by name --- by Karl Rove when he spoke at a Republic National Lawyers Association event in April of 2006, thanking them for their "work on clean elections" in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

So where did Thor get his million dollars for his now shut down and discredited organization? We still don't know, because nobody has ever asked them under oath.

Anybody in the House or Senate Judiciary Committees paying attention here and feel like finding out?

...CONTACT...
House Judiciary Committee
Senate Judiciary Committee

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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An Anaylsis by a Leading Election Integrity Advocate Charges That Where Rep. Rush Holt's House Bill on Election Reform Poses Dangers to Democracy, A New Bill Introduced in the Senate is Even Far Worse...
By Ellen Theisen on 6/12/2007 1:14pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, Co-Director of VotersUnite.Org

Yesterday I discussed the dangers presented by Rush Holt's Election Reform bill, HR 811, now pending a floor vote in the House. I detailed seven points which, taken as a whole, lead me to believe that the bill does more harm than good.

Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill S. 1487, “The Ballot Integrity Act of 2007,” was introduced on May 24, 2007. Some were expecting it to be a companion to, and improvement on, Holt’s bill, H.R. 811. Far from an improvement, S. 1487 introduces surprising — and disturbing — new provisions.

It includes many of the most troubling points of the Holt bill, but goes even farther in the wrong direction away from what is needed for Electoral Integrity in America, presenting instead a grave danger to our democracy.

The bill systematically dismantles government by the people, and it provides a legal excuse for expanding the disenfranchisement of “distinct communities” such as racial minorities.

(The following excerpt discusses only how S. 1487 functions like a Voting Rights Act in reverse. I've posted a more complete analysis of the bill at VotersUnite.org.)

Historically, racial minorities have been prevented from voting by violence, poll taxes, highly subjective literacy tests, police dogs, and so on. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was landmark legislation to remove such obstacles and clear the path for all voters to have a voice in elections.

A shameful provision in S. 1487 functions as a Voting Rights Act in reverse. “They” (historically disenfranchised communities) would get to vote, but the bill allows for the future massive loss of “their” voices through machine malfunction or other means, while limiting the vote loss that would be acceptable in jurisdictions where “they” aren’t as predominant....

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

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A Leading Election Integrity Advocate Speaks Out Against 7 Serious Failures in the Latest Holt Election Reform Bill ...
By Ellen Theisen on 6/10/2007 9:22pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, Co-Director of VotersUnite.Org

(This is the first of a two-part series. Tomorrow: An excerpt from the author's companion article, “Senator Feinstein’s Election Reform Bill: A Constitutional Heresy,” describing even graver concerns about S. 1487, a bill recently introduced in the Senate.)

In September of 2003, when I was working with VerifiedVoting, Greg Dinger, Keone Kealoha, and I coordinated the first national activist effort in the current grassroots election integrity movement. We had a calling campaign to get more co-sponsors for Representative Rush Holt’s (D-NJ) election reform bill, then called HR 2239. In two months, the number of co-sponsors more than doubled — from 29 to 61. After the disastrous November 2003 Fairfax, Virginia, election, we rejoiced when Republican Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) signed on and the bill became bipartisan. By the end of 2003, there were 94 co-sponsors.

But Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) was chairman of the House Administration Committee, and the bill never even got a hearing. Nor did Holt’s subsequent version of the bill in the 109th Congress, HR 550. But this year’s bill in the 110th, HR 811, has been marked up in committee and is expected to soon come to the House floor for a vote. This should be a time for celebration for me, but it’s not.

After more than three years of supporting election reform bills introduced by Representative Rush Holt, I am saddened to see the many severe flaws in the version of HR 811 as it was passed out of committee last month. This year’s bill had serious flaws when it was introduced in January. Primarily, it failed to accommodate a nearly unanimous agreement among citizen activists and computer scientists who have watched election disasters over the past three years — the agreement that electronic voting machines (DREs) should not be used in U.S. elections. I worked with many people to try to get an amendment requiring a paper ballot, one that was actually to be counted, for every vote cast. To my mind, that one significant improvement would have been worth tolerating the other flaws.

But the bill that was passed out of committee still allows for invisible, unverifiable, electronic ballots on DRE touch-screens as the official ballot for the all-important initial count where electronic voting systems are used. Adding a "paper trail" to those machines makes no real difference. Voters still can’t verify the electrical charges that make up the ballots that are counted on Election Night by the DRE.

In addition to other flaws that remained in the bill as it came out of committee, some changes removed valuable safeguards from the bill, and other changes introduced new problems. (Both versions of the bill can be viewed by inputting "HR 811" at the government's legislation search engine, Thomas.gov. The complete text of the current version is here. )

In my opinion, HR 811 will cause more problems than it will solve.

My primary objection is the extreme shift in the concept of “democracy” that the bill institutes legally. Specifically, it gives a federal stamp of approval to “ballots” that will never be counted, and it endorses secret vote-counting.

Let me explain seven of the bill's severe failures....

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

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None Bothered to Show Up for the Schlozman/Graves Testimony, We Tried to Find Out Why...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2007 1:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns

A quick post following up on that Senate Judiciary hearing on Tuesday with witnesses Schlozman and Graves. While I attended the hearing, not many Senators did. While at least half of the Democratic Senators on the committee showed up, no Republican Senators bothered to get there at all during the entire session. It seemed worthwhile to see if I could find out why.

The hearing, which has already been posted about by Brad (here and with a detailed follow up here), was headlined “Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys? --- Part V." The matter under advisement was Missouri – easily the most torqued state in the union, elections-wise.

Witnesses: Bradley J. Schlozman, Associate Counsel to the Director, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, and former Interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, among other governmental offices he has held; and Todd Graves, former U.S. Attorney, Western District of Missouri before he got canned by the Bush administration (that appointed him in the first place).

As Brad has already blogged about the hearing and has posted video that adequately demonstrates some of the key witness’s peculiarities; no belaboring needed. Briefly, Graves – the USA yanked from his job, ostensibly to make room for someone else and then criticized in Monica Goodling’s sworn testimony – came off generally sounding more capable, and credible, than Mr. Schlozman. Brad Schlozman has a disconcerting way of speaking that makes it sound as though he honestly had, and has, no conception whatsoever that he could have been doing anything wrong by – for example – indicting members of the political opposition just a few days before a national election when the US Attorneys’ manual says don’t do that.

Perhaps all of the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee felt they knew what Schlozman would say, and didn't feel it necessary even to show up to float softballs to him in support of their home team, because none of them attended the hearing. This is a bit unusual. While the GOP quite often boycotts any hearing it wishes to, usually to quell public discovery, it generally designates one senatorial Republican to sit in, to keep an eye on things and sometimes to bring up extraneous matters. GOP SOP.

But Tuesday's hearing on Missouri elections fraud and DoJ Purge Gate issues had no GOP senators attending from start to finish. This was the first time that had happened to my knowledge during this series of hearings. So I telephoned the offices of the 9 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to ask why they didn’t attend and to see what, if any, comments I could get from them...

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

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By Alan Breslauer on 6/1/2007 1:26pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Out on the campaign trail today John McCain tackles the question of whether the U.S. can reclaim the moral high ground in light of torturing prisoners of war. In addition to stating his disappointment that all the other GOP presidential candidates expressed their approval for torture during the second Republican debate, McCain noted the "sharp dividing line between those who have served in the military and those who haven't." McCain continued:

Every retired and active duty military officer that I know says we shouldn't torture people. General Colin Powell, all of these others who have had the responsibility of leadership because they fear that if we torture people what happens to their soldiers when they are captured. We don't want that to happen to men and women serving in the military.

So I feel very strongly about it. And it's not like 24, it's not like 24, this is real life.

McCain also blows up many other oft-given reasons for torture in this short clip (2:55).

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Emails Suggest Partisan EAC Chair DeGregorio Fought off Influence Attempts, as Surprising as That May Seem...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2007 8:35am PT  

McClatchy Newspaper's excellent Greg Gordon moves the ball forward again on the Bush White House's insider politicization of the DoJ to achieve electoral advantages via gaming of phony "Voter Fraud" claims and the pursuit of voter suppressing Photo ID laws at the polls.

His article covers the inside moves of the Bush-appointed operative Hans von Spakovsky after he was assigned to the DoJ's voting rights unit, and the games he played in the post, including an anonymously published essay on "Voter Fraud" and Voter ID laws; overriding of career civil rights attorney recommendations against a Georgia Voter ID law (while refusing to recuse himself, despite his past service as a Georgia official), a law which was later found by a federal judge to be unconstitutional and akin to a Jim Crow-era poll tax; and attempts to influence the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC)'s studies on Voter Fraud and the effects of Photo ID at the polls.

Last year, Von Spakovsky was recess-appointed by Bush to head the FEC, though he will face what could be an interesting Congressional confirmation hearing in the Senate on June 13.

Aside from the many familiar faces (at least to BRAD BLOG readers) who come into play in the story, from Georgia to Arizona to Missouri, one aspect of Gordon's report is a bit of a surprise and so particularly catches our notice...

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

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26 Vote in Favor, Including First Time Supporters Clinton, Obama
Feingold on the Floor: Points Out 76 Senators Who Voted to Cut Off Funding for Somalia Conflict in 1993...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2007 1:56pm PT  

As we broke early last week, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) brought his Reid-Feingold amendment, calling for defunding and an effective end to the Iraq War by a date certain (March of 2008), to the floor today. The measure failed to pass, but received 26 votes in favor, including all of those we named last week plus 16 or so more, all Democrats, including Presidential hopefuls Clinton and Obama, who supported such a measure for the first first time.

Greg Sargent has the list of Dems who voted for and against. David Swanson has more thoughts on the vote.

And we have Feingold's complete floor statement today posted below, in which he noted that in October of 1993, 76 Senators voted in favor of cutting off funding for the conflict in Somalia by March of 1994. "Many of them are still in this body," Feingold pointed out, "including Senators Levin, Cochran, Domenici, Hutchison, Lugar, McConnell, Specter, Stevens and Warner."

"Did those Senators jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. troops in Somalia?" he asked. "By cutting off funds for a military mission, were they indifferent to the well-being of our brave men and women in uniform?"

Not a single Republican, even those who voted to cut off funding for U.S. troops in Somalia, voted in favor of Feingold's amendment today.

Feingold's full prepared statement for today's Senate debate on the Feingold-Reid Amendment follows below...

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

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