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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, September 3, 2014
CA Repubs Block State-Paid Automatic 'Recount' Bill
After gaping flaws in the law revealed by the closest statewide election ever, GOP blocks conservative Dem attempt to make oversight easier and election theft harder before Nov...
After a Year of Digital Detox, David Roberts Returns
The great climate blogger from Grist is finally back on the Internets, with some very helpful thoughts for the information overloaded...
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
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...


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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By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2008 7:24pm PT  

Obama wins for the D's, Huckabee wins for the R's. Consider this an Iowa horse race Open Thread, as you wish...

For my part, I'll take the opportunity to open it up with a few bragging rights, along with a simultaneous warning to those who think Huckabee will be easy for the D's to beat if he were to win the nomination.

Back in January of '07, after seeing Huckabee interviewed for the first time (on The Daily Show), I wrote:

...on the Republican side, I might suggest one of the dark horses that Democrats should be most concerned about is Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. His recent appearance on The Daily Show may give you an idea why. That is, if he can make it through the hard right phony "conservative" hurdles of the primary process.

Daily Show's Huckabee Interview on Vid here: Part 1, Part 2.

I stand by that prediction, and think Dems would be foolish to misunderestimate Huckabee. Period. Discuss.

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Says 'Administration is Simply Shuffling Deck Chairs' by Moving John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner to New Post in Same Division
Conyers and Nadler Also Issue Statement, More Upbeat, Hopeful About Resignation of Tanner
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007 4:19pm PT  

A spokesman for Barack Obama (D-IL) sent us a statement decrying John Tanner's announced resignation today from his post as Chief of the DoJ Civil Rights Division's voting section, charging that his move to another post within the Civil Rights division amounts to little more than "simply shuffling deck chairs."

Obama had previously called upon the Attorney General to fire Tanner outright for his offensive, and inaccurate remarks, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG, that minorities "don't grow elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Obama's statement in full...

"It's unacceptable that the Administration is simply shuffling deck chairs by moving Mr. Tanner to another important position in the Justice Department. During his tenure, he made offensive, intolerant comments about minorities in an attempt to defend voter identification laws that threaten voting rights, and that's why I called on him to be fired. It's time we restore confidence in the Department by appointing public servants who are truly committed to upholding our civil rights."

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, joins Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on the other hand, in applauding the removal of Tanner from his post, saying in a statement (posted in full below) that "John Tanner’s resignation as Voting Section Chief at the Department of Justice provides the department with an opportunity to renew its commitment to the real problems facing voters and elections."

"I am hopeful that Mr. Tanner’s replacement will mark a departure from efforts to limit the participation of elderly and minority voters, and actually serve to remove obstacles to participation in the political process," said the elderly, but not-dead, African-American Congressman and voter from Michigan.

The complete statement from Conyers and Nadler follows below in full...

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

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

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


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

The NY Times:

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

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

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

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

The LA Times:

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

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

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

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

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2007 1:19pm PT  

Our friend Jacob Soboroff, from the election reform site Why Tuesday, is asking folks to vote up his video question for Barack Obama, so that the question might be one of 10 asked of the presidential candidate during an MTV appearance scheduled for Monday (10/29) at 1:30pm ET.

To help ensure Obama gets asked the direct question on Election Reform, please click the green "thumbs up" icon just above Jacob's short video question here.

It'd be nice if the media began asking the candidates such questions about the one issue that underscores all others: What the hell do they plan to do about our crumbling electoral system?

More specifically, we'd love them to answer one question directly --- and hope that those of you out there attending their live events might bring a video camera and ask them directly!: "Do you support a paper ballot --- not a 'paper trail' or a 'paper record,' but a paper ballot, and one that is actually counted --- for every vote cast in America?"

But in the meantime, the question to Obama on MTV would be a step in the right direction. Please take 40 seconds to click the video link above and then click that green thumbs up button!

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Email Sent to Supporters Describes Civil Rights Voting Chief's Comments as 'Pretty Unbelievable,' 'Last Straw'
Says: 'John Tanner has an obvious disregard for the voting rights of minorities and should not be in charge of protecting them'
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2007 2:09pm PT  

"This is pretty unbelievable," begins the email send from the campaign manager of Presidential Candidate Barack Obama to supporters today.

The email, from David Pouffe, calls on members of the public to demand the DoJ fire its Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief, John Tanner, in the wake of disturbing and inaccurate comments, video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG, as made during a recent panel discussion at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles.

The email, which exhorts readers to send emails to DoJ via their new "John Tanner Must Go" campaign at http://Action.BarackObama.com/TannerMustGo continues thusly [emphasis in original]:

John Tanner, the top ranking voting rights official at the Justice Department, was caught on video claiming that photo ID requirements do not disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters because: "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first."

He went on to argue, irrationally, that these requirements actually benefit minorities because: "Anything that disproportionately impacts the elderly has the opposite impact on minorities."

The letter to supporters from Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, is posted in full here.

Last week, Obama had sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler, demanding he immediately fire Tanner. Our coverage, along with his full letter, is here.

"The situation is clear," Plouffe writes in today's email after detailing a number of concerns about Tanner's record at the DoJ. "John Tanner has an obvious disregard for the voting rights of minorities and should not be in charge of protecting them."

Plouffe concludes by charging that "His recent comments are the last straw --- he must go."

Hearings have been tentatively confirmed by The BRAD BLOG as scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties for October 30th at 10:00am ET. Tanner will be called as a witness and likely presented with clips from the video tape that we delivered yesterday in D.C. to committee staffers.

The chairman of the sub-committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), has said he's hopeful that Tanner "will be as willing to provide lawmakers with the same candid views he has been providing at various public venues."

The chairman of the full House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a 78-year old elderly minority member who, contrary to Tanner's assertions has not, in fact "die[d] first," has expressed consternation recently and over the years about the DoJ's chief voting official, including a 2005 letter in which he said he was "flabbergasted" at Tanner's contention that the reason for long voting lines in minority areas in Ohio's 2004 Presidential election was due to African Americans coming to the polls later in the day than non-minority voters.

The twisted conclusions from Tanner's "investigation" of voting problems reported during the 2004 Presidential election, including his assertion that minority voters actually had more access than whites to voting machines, were detailed in a letter, posted here in 2005, which can only be described as an extraordinary (and literal) "white washing" of the facts on the ground that day.

Conyers and his staff published a comprehensive report, entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio," as based on their own, far-reaching investigation after the election. We look forward to his questioning of Tanner next week.

Yesterday, we detailed additional allegations likely to be faced by Tanner in hearings next week.

A quick, video-taped snapshot of Tanner's most offensive --- and inaccurate, according to his former DoJ colleagues --- comments from the October 5th National Latino Congresso panel in Los Angeles, follows below...

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

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Letter to Acting Attorney General Says John Tanner's Recent Remarks Are 'Patently Erroneous, Offensive, and Dangerous'
Comments, Video Taped and First Reported by BRAD BLOG, Have Been Given to Judiciary Committee, Continue to Reverberate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 12:16pm PT  

After recently stepping up, along with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), to block the nomination to the FEC of insidious GOP "voter fraud" zealot Hans Von Spakovsky, Illinois' Democratic Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is calling for the head of the Voting Rights Section chief of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.

In a letter sent today (posted in full at end of this article) to Acting Attorney General, Peter D. Keisler, Obama has requested that John Tanner be sent packing following objectionable comments he made two weeks ago in Los Angeles at the National Latino Congresso.

The remarks by Tanner, video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG, were meant in support of his decision to allow a Photo ID restriction at polling places in Georgia, over the recommendation of four out of five of the career attorneys in the Civil Rights unit. The law would later be found unconstitutional by two federal judges, one of whom declared the practice to be a "Jim Crow-era poll tax".

Tanner told audience members during the panel on October 5th, that while it was a "shame" that the elderly would, in fact, be disenfranchised by the law he approved on behalf of the DoJ, minorities would have less to worry about because, as he told the stunned room, "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Former colleagues of Tanner went on to characterize his comments as "false", "ludicrous" and "cherry-picked" from existing data.

In his letter today, Obama said, "Such comments are patently erroneous, offensive, and dangerous, and they are especially troubling coming from the federal official charged with protecting voting rights in this country."

As we reported several days ago, Tanner is scheduled to testify on this and related matters to a sub-commitee of the House Judiciary Committee on October 30th. The committee has asked The BRAD BLOG for a copy of the entire session with Tanner, as video-taped by our own Alan Breslauer. We have complied with their request.

In breaking the news of Obama's letter this morning, TPM Muckraker's Paul Kiel noted the irony that during his appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Tanner will "get to explain personally to its 78 year-old African-American chairman [John Conyers] that minorities don't 'become elderly.'"

"Through his inexcusable comments," Obama writes in today's letter, "Mr. Tanner has clearly demonstrated that he possesses neither the character nor the judgment to be heading the Voting Rights Section. For that reason, I respectfully request that you remove him from his position."

Since the 2004 election, Republican officials and operatives have been attempting to enact such Photo ID laws at polling places across the country, despite some 10 to 30 million, largely Democratic and minority voters, who do not have such ID's and would be disenfranchised by such laws. Millions of dollars have been spent to support the unevidenced idea of Democratic "voter fraud" by phony GOP front groups such as the "non-partisan" ACVR, created by Bush/Cheney '04's national general counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director, Jim Dyke. Hearne is now laying low since shutting down the ACVR in the wake of calls for phony "voter fraud" prosecutions being found at the center of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Dyke, who parlayed his "non-partisan" ACVR gig into work for Dick Cheney, is now Communications Director for the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Continuing the false GOP meme of Democratic "voter fraud", The BRAD BLOG recently noted unsupported claims of undocumented immigrants being "rounded up, herded into the polls [and] voting illegally" in California as charged by Golden State Rep. Duncan Hunter during a recent Republican Presidential Debate. Both Hunter's campaign and Congressional offices subsequently failed to respond to BRAD BLOG requests to back up with the claim with details or evidence.

During it's current session, the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to review the constitutionality of a similar Photo ID law enacted in the state of Indiana.

UPDATE: AP picks up the story, quotes DoJ as saying Tanner's comments were "grossly misconstrued", fails to credit BRAD BLOG for breaking original story. Details here...

LATER UPDATE: WaPo again picks up the story, and again, as last time (and unlike AP) credits us appropriately. They also offer yet another DoJ spokesman's defense of Tanner, while an insider DoJ source gives us an indication of what's really going on over at DoJ in the wake of all of this. Details here...

The complete letter from Sen. Barack Obama to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler follows below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2007 5:08pm PT  

Paul Kiel at TPM has an interesting late update on the Senate hold, by Obama and Feingold, on Hans von Spakovsky's nomination to the FEC, which we reported yesterday. New details/analysis on the "game of chicken" now in play in the Senate, along with the ramifications for the FEC in 2008 if a stalemate continues...and what Bush could do about it.

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Stops Harry Reid's 'Deal' to Move Forward with GOP 'Voter Fraud' Zealot's FEC Nomination...
UPDATE: Feingold Joins with Obama, Issues Joint Statement
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2007 11:09am PT  

[2/25/08: Welcome to Hugh Hewitt's Townhall blog readers! You should know that you are being misled by Patrick Ruffini's disinformational blog item today. Please see our response to it here so that you get the full story on what is actually going on with the FEC nominations in the Senate, which are currently being blocked by the Republican leadership in that body.]

A Democrat does the right thing for a change! What are the odds these days? And will it hold?

Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama (D-IL), had recently (and correctly) called on Bush to send up an "acceptable" nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), instead of the anti-Democracy, anti-voter villain Hans von Spakovsky.

"His record of poor management, divisiveness, and inappropriate partisanship makes him an unacceptable nominee to the FEC," Obama had previously said. "I am particularly concerned with his efforts to undermine voting rights at the Civil Rights Division during his tenure at the Department of Justice."

And for a change, we have a Democrat who has decided to put his money where his mouth is! For now.

Roll Call (subscription req'd) is reporting that Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic Leadership had shamefully "struck a deal" with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KS) to slide four FEC nominations, including the GOP "voter fraud" zealot, von Spakovsky, through the Senate on a voice vote, unless any Senators objected.

Obama did object today and succeeded in blocking the vote. Bravo! Don't back down, Senator!

TPM has more details from the Roll Call report. Loyola law professor Rick Hasen offers speculation on what comes next.

For more on the evil von Spakovsky, our extensive coverage of the Bush crony/operative began in late 2005 as he was nominated and then recess appointed by Bush to the FEC. While at the Civil Rights division at the DoJ, he was, among other embarrassing affairs, at the heart of the successful national GOP strategy to gut the beloved Voting Rights Act of 1965. Who better to sit on the FEC?! And in a Presidential Election year no less!

We've requested a comment/explanation from Reid's office on what he must have been thinking. Will update this item if we get one.

UPDATE: Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined Obama in blocking the vote on vS. They've just issued this joint statement:

"While at the Department of Justice, Hans von Spakovsky was directly involved in efforts to politicize the Department and use the Voting Rights Section to disenfranchise voters, rather than enforce our nation's civil rights laws. As a recess appointee to the FEC he has been a committed, ideological opponent of the campaign finance laws he is supposed to enforce. Putting him at the head of the FEC is just another example of this administration putting the fox in charge of the hen house. We oppose his nomination, and any effort to tie his nomination to the other pending nominations to the FEC."

Still no word on what Reid must have been thinking.

UPDATE 10/5/07: Paul Kiel updates the story with the "game of chicken" now in play in the Senate, and the ramifications for 2008 if a stalemate continues.

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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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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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