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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, August 3, 2015
Buying U.S. Elections; TX AG Indicted; Obama's Emissions Cuts: 'BradCast' 8/3/15
With guests Tarini Parti of Politico and Chuck Lindell of the Austin American-Statesman...
GOP Could be Hoisted On Own Undemocratic Primary Petard
Thanks to the Republican Party's 'Winner-Take-All' system in most state primaries and caucuses, blocking Donald Trump's nomination could be even more difficult...
Sunday Toons: 'Did Nazi It Coming' Edition
Cecil the Lion, Huckabee the candidate, Trump the phenomonon and more in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
At Least Six Ways to Hack the 2016 Election: 'BradCast' 7/31/15
With computer security expert Michael Gregg; Plus: 'Paper of record' keeps digging; Gullible global warming trolls; MORE...
NYTimes Blows It Again: 'BradCast' 7/30/15
Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on the latest fiasco by the 'paper of record' (and how it always hurts Dems); Also: Medicare turns 50; Trump dominates GOP (loses to Dems)...
'Green News Report' 7/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Portland activists blocking Arctic drilling; Wildfires explode across West, getting much worse around world; PLUS: The killing of Cecil the Lion ignites a firestorm of controversy...
Previous GNRs: 7/28/15 - 7/21/15 - Archives...
Michael Mann on 'Bombshell' New Report on Sea Level Rise: 'BradCast' 7/29/15
'Uncertainty, it turns out, was reason to act even faster,' says the Nobel Prize winning climate scientist...
Trump, 'Spousal Rape',
and His Horrible Attorney:
'BradCast' 7/28/15
Plus: Hacks, election debates, pipelines, spying, GOP approval ratings and much more...
'Green News Report' 7/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hillary goes big on solar; Jeb wants to eliminate ALL energy subsidies; PLUS: New study suggests worst case sea level rise may happen much sooner than previously thought...
Previous GNRs: 7/21/15 - 7/23/15 - Archives...
Hillary's Climate Plan & the Awful Truth About It: 'BradCast' 7/27/15
Journalist David Roberts of Vox.com; Plus: Bernie beats all GOPers; Trump continues to surge; MUCH MORE...
U.S. House Passes Bill to Block 'Right to Know' About GMOs
Despite recent scientific findings on dangers of GMOs, failure of existing governmental testing standards, Repubs lead fight to keep you in the dark about what's in your food...
Sunday Toons: Guns Trump All
Also in this week's collection from 'PDiddie': Sandra Bland, Donald Trump, Iran, Climate Science and Planned Parenthood...
High Times for Pot Biz; Plus: More Shootings, More Trump: 'BradCast' 7/24/15
Dan Riffle of Marijuana Policy Project joins us with some encouraging news. Also: Lafayette theater shooting; Perry's felonies; Trump cracks the code...
Kansas SoS Kobach Defrauding Voters; FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley on 'Terrorism': 'BradCast' 7/23/15
A big show. But even bigger when our guest is a TIME Mag Person of the Year!...
'Green News Report' 7/23/15
OH's Kasich jumps in - we decipher his climate position; Dem candidate links global warming to ISIS - Fox goes nuts; PLUS: Two CA Guvs slam climate deniers...
The Woman Who Led the #BlackLivesMatter Protest Against Sanders & O'Malley in AZ: 'BradCast' 7/22/15
Tia Oso on why she did it and reaction from progressives. Plus: Hillary in trouble? MORE...
Who the Hell is John Kasich and Why is He Running for Prez?: 'BradCast' 7/21/15
Journalist John Michael Spinelli of Ohio's PlunderBund; Plus: Trump soars in polls!...
'Green News Report' 7/21/15
Extreme weather whips CA - bridges collapse and cars burn; June 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Record warming in Pacific kicks hurricane season off to record start...
America's Top Psychological Org Colluded w/ Bush on Torture: 'BradCast' 7/20/15
Dr. Yosef Brody of Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Plus: Progressive protesters disrupt Sanders; Trump disrupts himself...
Sunday Toons: Plutocracy is Not a Planet
Plus: 'Jade Helm'; Cosby; Iran; Greece and the rest of last week's messes in cartoon form, as curated by 'PDiddie'...
Mother of All GOP Voter Suppression Laws on Trial in NC: 'BradCast' 7/17/15
Nation's Ari Berman, at the trial this week, joins us. Plus: More on Walker/WI corruption & Maine's dumb Guv!...
Walker Wins & Democracy Loses (Again. Big Time.): 'BradCast' 7/16/15
We don't use the phrase 'death of democracy' lightly. But there's good reason to today. Brendan Fischer explains today's outrageous ruling by WI's corrupt Supreme Court...
Iran, Trump Rising & Confederate Monument Worth Keeping?: 'BradCast' 7/15
We cover a lot of ground today, plus listener calls and more (including Brad wrestling w/ tech probs, which is always amusing -- for you!)...
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...


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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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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Chuck Hagel Says 'They Have Failed the Country'
Outgoing Republican Earns BRAD BLOG 'Intellectually Honest Conservative Award' Despite One-Time Ownership of Voting Machine Company...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2007 12:35pm PT  

Washington Post reports on outgoing Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's comments last night during an address at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. It seems he doesn't care much for the Bush Administration...

Hagel, who considered running for the GOP presidential nomination as an antiwar candidate, told the foreign policy experts that he would give the Bush administration "the lowest grade of any I've known."

"I have to say this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I've ever seen or ever read about," Hagel said, according to our colleague Robert Kaiser, who attended the speech. In case his audience didn't get the point, Hagel also said: "They have failed the country."

We have been remiss in honoring the good Senator with The BRAD BLOG's coveted and too-rarely bestowed "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award". So before he leaves the Senate entirely, we're happy to announce our awarding of this prize today to Hagel.

(NOTE: We're well aware of Hagel's troubling one-time ownership of voting machine company ES&S, before becoming the first Republican Senator to be elected in Nebraska in a dog's age... on ES&S voting machines. It is in spite that ignominy that we offer this most coveted award.)

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Male Escort Denies Relationship with 'Family Values' Senator
By Jon Ponder on 11/27/2007 1:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Here's an interesting development in the increasingly heated speculation about what led Sen. Trent Lott to announce his resignation from the Senate yesterday.

On Larry Flynt's website, Flynt has posted an excerpt from PageOneQ, a Washington-based website that has a record of accurately identifying closeted Republican politicians:

"Once upon a time," writes Big Head DC [another Washington-based website], "there was a twentysomething boy-next-door type with reddish blond hair and a brillantly white smile."

This boy-next-door is male escort Benjamin Nicholas, whose blog, 15 Minutes, helped him make some connections in business and politics.

One of these connections is rumored to be [Trent Lott, who is] rumored to have planned a resignation by the end of this year to avoid being scandalized by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. Flynt had, back in June, offered cash rewards for substantiated accounts of sexual liaisons with elected officials.

To which Larry Flynt responds:

HUSTLER Magazine has received numerous inquiries regarding the involvement of Larry Flynt and HUSTLER in the resignation of Trent Lott. Senator Lott has been the target of an ongoing HUSTLER investigation for some time now, due to confidential information that we have received.

Meanwhile, at Huffington Post, the idea that Lott had any sort of relationship with Benjamin Nicholas is "put to bed" by none other than Nicholas himself:

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

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Reason for Leaving Not Stated So It's Likely He Will Pursue a Lucrative Career as a Lobbyist
By Jon Ponder on 11/26/2007 5:40am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Trent Lott, the man who is probably best remembered for saying that the United States would have been a better place if Strom Thurmond, the South Carolina racist, had been elected president in 1948, is retiring from the Senate:

Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, plans to resign his seat before the end of the year, congressional and White House officials said Monday.

Lott, 66, scheduled two news conferences in his home state later in the day to reveal his plans. According to congressional and White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement, Lott intends to resign effective the end of the year.

No good news here, however. Lott's replacement will be appointed by the governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, the former GOP lobbyist and RNC head, who is undoubtedly scouring the state right now to find the most ardent rightwing racist troglodyte available to fill Lott's seat.

In fact, Gov. Barbour will be hard pressed to find someone who fits that description better than himself, and if the governor hadn't just been reelected in a landslide in November, he'd probably put his own name at the top of the list of appointees.

Lott ran unopposed for reelection last year, so his term won't expire until 2012. Typically, the governor's appointee will hold the seat until an interim election can be held, in this case, possibly as early as next November.

The AP says Lott's health is not an issue in his retirement, and the fact that no reason has been given for his abrupt departure --- not even the standby "desire to spend more time with his family" --- suggests he plans to cash in on his four decades as a Washington insider and power broker by becoming a lobbyist.

Lott, who made his comments about Thurmond at the late senator's 100th birthday party, is the sixth Senate Republican who has announced retirement this year, according to the AP.

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Slips Up And Accidentally Tells Hometown Republican Crowd the Truth
Doubtless Will Not Happen Again
By Jon Ponder on 11/23/2007 7:46am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) is considered an intellectual lightweight back home in Chattanooga, where he once served as mayor. So you know it's getting bad when Corker slips up and tells a hometown audience the unfortunate truth that in meetings with George Bush, he has been "underwhelmed" by Bush's knowledge and understanding of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

In remarks to a group of about 500 Republicans on Tuesday, Corker "raised some eyebrows," according to a local media outlet, when he recounted details of his recent visits to the White House:

"I was in the White House a number of times to talk about the issue [of Iraq], and I may rankle some in the room saying this, but I was very underwhelmed with what discussions took place at the White House," Corker said.

A few minutes later during a question and answer session a man in the audience asked him to clarify his statement.

"I was concerned about your statement that you were underwhelmed with what was going on in the White House. Did you mean with him or with his staff?"

In response, Corker said, "Let me say this. George Bush is a very compassionate person. He's a very good person. And a lot of people don't see that in him, and there's many people in this room who might disagree with that.... I just felt a little bit underwhelmed by our discussions, the complexity of them, the depth of them."

Corker quickly added that he supports Bush's occupation of Iraq --- even though he just admitted that Bush himself doesn't understand it --- and that all that is needed to turn things around is an increase in both the size of the U.S. government and the amount of happy-talk propaganda it spews at the public:

...I do believe that the most recent course of action we've pursued is a good one. I feel like what we've lack in our country is a coherent effort that really links together the Treasury Department, all the various departments of our government in a way that really focuses not just on the hard military side of things, but also the soft effort that it takes to build good will among people.

The senator then hastily added that he regretted having just expressed his true assessment about Bush's feeble intellect:

I really think much of that has righted itself, I'm just telling you that at that moment in time I felt very underwhelmed, and I'm just being honest. I've said that to them, and to him, and to others. I kind of in a way wish I hadn't said it today."

The last comment was greeted with laughter in the crowd.

Rest assured that Sen. Corker will never make the mistake of expressing an honest opinion in public again.

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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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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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