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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 20, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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...


From DREs to the ACVR to the DOJ, The Republican Alphabet Soup Blueprint for Disenfranchisement and Miscounting in Next Year's Election Has Been a Well-Crafted and Well-Funded Work, Long in the Planning...
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman on 10/21/2007 5:04pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Columbus Free Press

ED NOTE: The following feature was originally published in the Autumn '07 print version of the Columbus Free Press. The comprehensive aerial overview --- connecting dots from 2000 to 2004 to the outlook for 2008, as based on a wide body of years-long investigative reportage and exposés as collected from a variety of sources, including The BRAD BLOG and many others --- offers such a useful round-up of "our story until now" that we thought running the piece in its entirety here would be a very good idea. We hope you agree.

With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP's neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare?

Think again – the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election.

With his usual devious mastery, Rove has seized upon the national outrage sparked by his electoral larceny and used it as smokescreen while he makes the American electoral system even MORE unfair, and even EASIER to rig. Thus the administration has fired federal attorneys when they would not participate in a nationwide campaign to deny minorities and the poor their access to the polls. It has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to install electronic voting machines that can be "flipped" with a few keystrokes. And under the guise of "reforming" our busted electoral system, it is setting us up for another presidential theft in 2008.

Thus it should come as no surprise that our exclusive investigations into the firings of eight federal prosecutors who refused to execute Rove’s plans for massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters reveal a pattern of illegalities and fraud aimed at reducing the number of minority, poor and young voters at the core of Democratic support. In the wake of major news breaks, two felony convictions have come from the rigging of the illegal Ohio 2004 vote count and recount that gave George W. Bush a second illegitimate term. Stunning new admissions from county election boards that illegally destroyed voter records will almost certainly lead to new convictions. And the multi-million-dollar electronic voting machine scam that made possible the biggest electoral frauds in US history is under massive new attack, with key states moving to scrap the machines altogether in a desperate attempt to restore American democracy – but with the job far from done.

Rove, Ney and the Undead

Indeed, the Rovian theft engine is far from dead. The media groundwork has already been laid out for the Republicans to claim that hordes of illegal aliens have registered to vote. The Bush administration has been caught ordering public agencies – possibly in violation of the law – to cease registering voters. In an April, 2006 speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association, Rove openly alluded to the strategy of demanding photo ID and purging voter roles of poor, minority voters just as had been done in 2000 and 2004. And, as always with Bush/Rove, there is much more beneath the surface.

All that has happened to challenge the GOP death grip on the American vote count has been reported in the pages of Hustler and on the internet at FreePress.org, The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and is being seized upon by a national grassroots movement determined to restore American democracy next year.

Nowhere has that movement been more in evidence than with the high profile firestorm surrounding Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ firing of eight federal prosecutors without legitimate cause.

Evidence continues to surface from throughout the United States about this blatant Bush abuse of executive power. But we have traced the roots of the firings to an obscure Congressional hearing held at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 21, 2005, and to a shadowy GOP operative named Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.

The hearing was conducted by none other than former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-18th OH). The once-powerful Ohio Congressman (who is now behind bars) was the godfather of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the national boondoggle that mandated electronic voting machines for the American electoral process.

That the machines would cost taxpayers billions was a big plus for Ney. They would come from Diebold and other companies that poured money into Republican coffers. Thanks largely to the manipulations of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, these e-voting machine companies would help guarantee the GOP’s ability to steal elections.

Ney’s hearing featured a marquee appearance by J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State responsible for delivering Ohio’s decisive 2004 electoral votes to Bush. Blackwell was a key operative for the Bush election campaign in Florida in 2000 and co-chaired the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign in Ohio...

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

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Wire Service Reports on Obama Letter, Fails to Cite BRAD BLOG for Breaking Story, Misses Much of the Point in General...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 1:46pm PT  

AP is notorious for refusing to give appropriate credit to blogs that break stories. They've done so again in their coverage today of Barack Obama's letter calling for the firing of DoJ Voting Rights section chief John Tanner in the wake of our video coverage of his recent objectionable comments [emphasis ours]:

"That's a shame, you know, creating problems for elderly persons just is not good under any circumstance," Tanner said, according to video posted on YouTube. "Of course, that also ties into the racial aspect because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Setting aside the de rigueur BRAD BLOG slight, AP received a response to Obama's call for Tanner's head from DoJ spokesman Erik Ablin:

"Mr. Tanner is an attorney who works to protect civil rights on a daily basis," Ablin said, adding that the official had won numerous awards from African-American groups. "Nothing in his comments deviated from his firm commitment to enforce the law, and it is unfortunate that they have been so grossly misconstrued."

"Grossly misconstrued"? AP does not detail in what way Ablin believes the comments to have been "grossly misconstrued," but quotes him as saying the department "continues to have full confidence" in Tanner.

Former colleagues of Tanner's, however, don't seem to agree that the comments were misconstrued...

--- 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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Anybody Feel Like Covering the Talk, Video Taping it, and/or Asking a Few Tough Questions on Behalf of The BRAD BLOG?
ALSO: October 30th Named as Date for Tanner's Testimony to House Judiciary Subcommittee...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2007 5:35am PT  

U.S. House Judiciary Committee staff informs us that October 30th will be the day for hearings with John Tanner, the DoJ Civil Rights Division's Voting Section chief. Tanner has caused a bit of a stir of late by suggesting that minorities needn't worry about being disenfranchised at the polls by restrictive Photo ID laws because they "die first" before become elderly (the original twisted BRAD BLOG video exclusive of Tanner's comments here). As well, Tanner's previous bizarre and unprecedented justifications on behalf of the DoJ, for why minorities have only themselves to blame for not being able to vote in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election have once again attracted the attention of John Conyers and his staff.

Though the hearing where Tanner will testify is currently planned for the 30th, we're told it won't be "official" until it appears on the official schedule for the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties --- usually a week or so prior to the hearing.

In the meantime, however, democracy and accountability fans in the Northern California area may get their Tanner fix this Thursday, as he's schedule to appear for a talk at UC Berkley's Institute of Governmental Studies. The talk is scheduled for 3:30p-5:00p at the Institute's Library, 109 Moses Hall, as sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research and the Election Administration Research Center (EARC). More details here.

Tanner's recent unbelievable comments to the National Latino Congresso --- "It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame. Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first." --- made their way to both the Washington Post and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

So who knows what he'll say next?!

We hope a few BRAD BLOG readers who may be concerned with some of Tanner's statements and behavior at the DoJ might find their way to showing up at his UC Berkeley event this week to video tape and/or ask a few tough questions of the man who oversees voting rights on behalf of the federal government.

If so, we hope you'll share any notable comments (hopefully on video or audio) with us!

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Statement Suggesting Whites More Disenfranchised Than Minorities Because Minorities 'Die First' Before Becoming Elderly, Disputed by John Tanner's Predecessor, Former Colleagues
An 'Imus Moment' Declares a BRAD BLOG DoJ Source...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2007 1:09pm PT  

Paul Kiel at TPM Muckracker has picked up on, and advanced, our Exclusive report yesterday concerning the remarkable comments made last Friday by John Tanner, the Chief of the Civil Rights Division, Voting Unit, at the DoJ, concerning Photo ID restrictions at the polls.

In a follow-up report today, Kiel gets reactions from former DoJ officials, including the man who previously held the same job as Tanner at the DoJ, charging that the remarks and logic behind them were "frankly ludicrous" and "false" and based on "cherry-picking the data that he wants to use."

A DoJ source of our own wrote to us after yesterday's report and characterized the comments as Tanner's "Imus moment."

Tanner had told a group in Los Angeles last Friday --- and our own Alan Breslauer was there to catch it on video tape --- that non-minorities were more likely to be disenfranchised by such restrictive polling laws laws than African-Americans.

"It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame," Tanner told the audience. He then added: "Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first." The implication being that, therefore, minorities are somehow less likely to be disenfranchised by draconian Photo ID laws at the polling place.

Tanner had approved a disenfranchising Georgia Photo ID scheme on behalf of the DoJ in 2005, despite the fact that 4 out of the 5 career civil rights unit staffers who had reviewed the law recommended against pre-approval under the Voting Rights Act. The law, once approved by Tanner, was later found unconstitutional by two federal courts, and described by one of the judges to be little more than a "Jim Crow-era poll tax."

ePluribus Media has much more on Tanner's resume and discriminatory reign as voting section chief in the Civil Rights Division.

Restrictive Photo ID laws, being strongly and strategically pushed by elements of the GOP around the nation, are controversial since anywhere from 10 to 30 million Americans, largely Democratic-leaning voters who are elderly, minorities, and/or urban dwellers, are believed to have no driver's licenses. Most states already have requirements for some form of ID when voting, though not necessarily state-issued Photo ID.

Further, the federal Help America Vote of Act of 2002 already requires proof of identity when a voter registers to vote. In the meantime, by even the DoJ's own numbers, voter fraud at the polls is exceedingly rare in America. That, despite GOP kool-aid drinkers like Rep. Duncan Hunter and his recent unfounded claims to the contrary.

According to Kiel at TPM Muck today, both Tanner's predecessor Joe Rich and the man who analyzed the numbers for Tanner at the DoJ in the Georgia case, Toby Moore, strongly dispute Tanner's comments, characterizing them as "not only wrong, but way off, and typical of the type of decision making" in the current DoJ's Voting Rights section...

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

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Incredibly, John Tanner Argues Restrictive Photo ID Laws at the Polls Actually Give Minorities a Greater Voice!
Rest of Panel, Audience Members at 2007 National Latino Congresso in Los Angeles Strongly Disagree...
By Alan Breslauer on 10/8/2007 4:10pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

Unbelievably, the Chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, John Tanner, contends that while it's "a shame" that elderly voters may be disenfranchised by new Photo ID restrictions at the polls because many don't have driver's licenses, minorities don't have to worry quite as much. Why? Because "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Yes, that's what Tanner said last Friday at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles and The BRAD BLOG was in tow with video camera to prove it...

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

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U.S. Rep from the Golden State Makes Unsubstantiated Claim at Last Week's Republican PBS Debate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2007 11:48am PT  

At last Thursday's Republican Debate --- the one which the four Republican front-runners refused to attend --- sponsored by PBS and hosted by (egad!) African-American broadcaster Tavis Smiley, the question of Photo ID restrictions on voters was raised by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker.

California Rep. Duncan Hunter's answer was interesting. And it's no small matter given that trying to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters seems to be Strategy #1 (once again, but moreso than ever) for the desperate GOP in 2008.

That's just one of the reasons why Barack Obama's block of the Dem "deal" to slide through the nomination of Bush's evil GOP anti-voter zealot, Hans von Spakovsky, to the FEC today is so important.

Tucker's question from last Thursday: "Many voting rights advocates are worried about rigid voter ID laws which require photo ID like a driver's license. Are you concerned that some eligible voters will be denied the right to vote simply because they don't have a driver's license?"

Hunter's imaginative answer: "We have right now a real danger of people that are illegally in the country being rounded up, herded into the polls, we've seen that in California, voting illegally. That disenfranchises everybody in that community."

Really? We've "seen that in California," have we? Undocumented (illegal) aliens being "rounded up [and] herded into the polls" and "voting illegally"?

Living out here in the Golden State, we hadn't heard of that one. And we do follow these issues fairly closely. So we checked with Hunter's campaign to find out if they could offer any examples of such illegal votes from herded aliens in our state...

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

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PLUS: Guest Hosting Tomorrow on San Francisco's Green 960am...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2007 2:26pm PT  

Whatever they have to do to win. And given the odds against them in '08, expect them to pull out every stop imaginable between now and the election in order to "win."

Add this to our "DoJ is the New ACVR" article last week, describing how the DoJ has now institutionalized "vote caging" at the federal level via, among other things, a recent letter sent to 10 states ordering them to purge their voter rolls. While Thor Hearne's ACVR is no more (at least officially) and the RNC is barred from minority-targeted caging by a court-ordered consent decree, state parties can do whatever the hell they damn well please, according to our friend Greg Gordon at McClatchy today...

WASHINGTON — Ohio and Florida, which provided the decisive electoral votes for President Bush's two razor-thin national election triumphs, have enacted laws that election experts say will help Republicans impede Democratic-leaning minorities from voting in 2008.

Backers of the new laws say they're aimed at curbing vote fraud. But the statutes also could facilitate a controversial Republican tactic known as "vote caging," which the GOP attempted in Ohio and Florida in 2004 before public disclosures foiled the efforts, said Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief in the Bush administration who's now with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Caging, used in the past to target poor minorities in heavily Democratic precincts, entails sending mass mailings to certain voters and then using the undelivered letters to compile lists of voters for eligibility challenges.
...
Asked whether they might employ vote caging in 2008, Executive Director Jason Mauk of the Ohio Republican Party and spokeswoman Erin Van Sickle of the Florida Republican Party said they couldn't discuss election strategy.

See Gordon's complete report for more details.

As well, we'll have more on all of this Thursday and Friday while Guest Hosting for "Progressive News with John Scott" on San Francisco's Air America affiliate Green 960am (formerly "The Quake"), where we'll be bringing these issues to drive-time listeners (4p-6p PT) in the Bay Area! Hope you'll tune in! (See "Media Appearances" box at top-right for more details.)

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ALSO: Supreme Court to Hear Photo ID Case...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2007 12:51pm PT  

We're getting really tired of picking on Democrats. But with clueless Senators like Nebraska's Ben Nelson, it seems like we continue to have little choice.

Picking up from where we left off yesterday regarding this morning's vote in the Senate Rules Committee on whether or not to send a recommendation for approval on the FEC nomination of the DOJ's GOP "Voter Fraud" flim-flam operative, Hans von Spakovsky, to the full Senate. Again we again defer to Paul Kiel's TPMMuckraker report that the Democrats, thanks to a defection from Nelson, were unable to reject the nomination outright and will have to pick up the fight on the Senate floor, where the GOP (unlike the Dems) will march in lockstep to get what they want. Even from the minority...

This morning's result: faced with the defection of a Democrat on the committee, later revealed to be Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) chose to agree to send all four nominees, two Democrats and two Republicans, to the floor without recommendation. In other words, the committee did not vote to approve von Spakovsky, but he got through nonetheless.

Next up is a vote before the full Senate, and how that vote will occur will be determined by negotiations between the Democratic and Republican leadership. Republicans are likely to seek a vote on all four nominees at once and have threatened to spike all the Democratic nominees if Democrats seek to block von Spakovsky.

Feinstein only said during the hearing that a Democrat had advised her that he would support von Spakovsky's nomination. In comments to reporters after the hearing, she identified that senator as Sen. Nelson.

More on the evil von Spakovsky here.

More details on today's negotiations here, including Feinstein's statement: "I don’t feel that this is an unbiased individual." Minority Leader Mitch McConnnel's (R-KY) hardball in return: "None of these nominees will move across the Senate unless they move together."

In related your-right-to-legally-cast-a-vote-is-under-attack news, as Arlen Parsa covered for us in a bit more detail earlier, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a Democratic challenge to Indiana's voter disenfranchising Photo ID law.

The very smart Election Law Blog's Rick Hasen sees this as good news for opponents of such laws, but we've got our money on a 5 to 4 ruling in favor of the GOP law, created (by Thor Hearne and Friends) in the hopes of keeping Democratic voters from being able to cast their votes on Election Day. We hope we're wrong, but Bush's Supreme Court hasn't given us much to be hopeful about.

You'll note the supporters of the restrictive, Jim Crow-type legislation have been unable to offer a single case of a voter in the state voting as someone else at the polling place.

Perhaps Sen. Ben Nelson would like to issue a resolution in support of such laws? Idiot.

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Republicanists Using Their Politicized Big Government Tools to Fight Against Democracy in America
Voter Roll Purges Ordered for 2008 by DoJ in 10 Key States...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2007 8:35am PT  

Gonzalez and Schlozman and Griffin may be gone, but the long-term politicization and damage at the DoJ was done and institutionalized long ago. The usual suspects --- Thor Hearne, Hans von Spakovsky, Joe Tanner, et al. --- are still plying their insidious anti-democracy trade with all of the tools of big Republican government at their disposal.

If you Dems think "nothing could possibly go wrong in 2008," you'd better think again. As Steve Rosenfeld at AlterNet reports, the Republicans aren't taking '08 lying down. Not by a long shot.

Earlier this year, the DoJ sent another round of threatening letters to 10 key battleground states, threatening to sue them if they do not purge their voter rolls. Yes, the Republicanists have found a "legal" way to use the DoJ to do the illegal vote-caging work the party and their phony well-funded "grass-roots" used to have to do. No wonder Thor's American Center for Voting Rights was able to go "out of business."

The DoJ is the new ACVR.

"They want more people showing up on Election Day and not finding their names," former DoJ Voting Section attorney David Becker, now of People for the American Way (PFAW), tells Rosenfeld. "They want people not voting."

If you don't haven time to read Rosenfeld's entire in-depth investigative report (which should have been on the front page of the NY Times) here are a few of the key grafs...

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

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Conyers Closes in on Karl and his Rove-bots...
By Greg Palast on 6/17/2007 7:52pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast

Boo-hoo! I made Tim Griffin cry.

He cried. Then he lied.

You remember Tim. Karl Rove's right hand (right claw?) man. The GOP's ragin' cagin' man.

Griffin is the Rove-bot exposed by our BBC Newsnight investigations team as the man who gathered and sent out the infamous 'caging' lists to Republican state chairmen during the 2004 election.

Caging lists, BBC discovered, were used secretly as a basis to challenge the right to vote of thousands of citizens - including the homeless, students and soldiers sent overseas. The day after BBC broadcast that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, sought our evidence on Griffin, Tim resigned his post as US Attorney for Arkansas. That job was a little gift from Karl Rove who made room for his man Griffin by demanding the firing of US prosecutor Bud Cummins.

Last week, our cameras captured Griffin, all teary-eyed, in his humiliating kiss-off speech delivered in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas where he moaned that, "public service isn't worth it."

True. In the old Jim Crow days in Arkansas, you could get yourself elected by blocking African-Americans. (The voters his caging game targeted are - quelle surprise! - disproportionately Black citizens.)

But today, Griffin can't even get an unemployment check. When he resigned two weeks ago following our broadcast, the cover story was that the voter persecutor-turned-prosecutor had resigned to work for Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson. But when Thompson's staff was asked by a reporter why they would hire the 'cagin' man,' suddenly, the 'Law and Order' star decided associating with Griffin might take the shine off Thompson's badge, even if it is from the props department.

Griffin, instead of saying that public service "isn't worth it," should have said, "Crime doesn't pay." Because, according to experts such as law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 'caging,' when used to target Black voters' rights, is a go-to-prison crime.

By resigning, Tim may not avoid the hard questions about caging - or the hard time that might result. When I passed the first set of documents to Conyers (a real film noir moment, in a New York hotel room near midnight), the soft-spoken Congressman said that, resignation or not, "We aren't done with Mr. Griffin yet..."

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

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UPDATE: Compared Vote Caging With 'Caging Animals'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 10:28pm PT  

Tim Griffin, former Karl Rove protege, former interim US Attorney from Arkansas and felonious vote cager, finally answered some charges in a speech yesterday in Arkansas. Apparently, he welled up with tears at various points in his presentation --- "crying as he said he had no plans to return to politics," reported AP --- to the point that the person who forwarded us the articles on the matter, said we should "call him a wahhhhmbulance."

We'd never be so cruel as to say or report any such thing, of course. That, despite the thousands of voters that Griffin sought to keep from exercising their franchise in America in 2004. During a time of war, no less. All to benefit his Republican paymasters.

AP reports that Timmy says that he plans to stay in Little Rock to "open a 'bipartisan' public affairs firm." We're sure he does.

Concerning the vote caging charges --- the ones based on the pre-2004 emails he sent, with the subject line "Re: caging," which included spreadsheet attachments with the names of thousands of minority (read: Democratic-leaning) voters he'd hoped the GOP would challenge at the polls, including folks in the military serving overseas, by the way --- Arkansas Business reports the former US Attorney is in denial:

"Griffin’s remarks about reports that he participated in effort to suppress Democratic votes, using a technique called "caging," came in response to a question at the end of his speech."This is all made up of whole cloth," he said. "I didn’t cage votes."

Some evidence for the "made up of whole cloth" charges, including some of Griffin's email, is available in this earlier BRAD BLOG exclusive from Greg Palast, who tells us he may have some more comments for us tomorrow on all of this. (UPDATE: Palast's comments on "Tears of a Clone" now here...)

The audio of Griffin's full speech (bring kleenex) is below...

UPDATE: 6/15/07 ThinkProgress quotes more from Griffin's speech in which he refers to the "Internet stuff" about vote caging, and "made jokes comparing caging to tending zoo animals" [emphasis TP's]:

Obviously, I’ve seen the Internet stuff about caging. First of all, the allegations that are on the Internet and have spread through the tabloids are completely and absolutely false, number one. And ridiculous. Caging, as you may know, I had it looked up, is a direct-mail term for basically organizing returned mail. … And I’ll just say that it’s so untrue. … This is all made up and faux pas. I didn’t cage votes, I didn’t cage mail, I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper.

UPDATE: 6/26/07 Video of part of Griffin's speech is now available at BRAD BLOG.

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While Aggressively Enforcing Minor Provision of Law to Rework Voter Rolls, Purge 'Ineligible' and 'Dead' Voters
400 'Dead' Voters in Michigan Alone Complained About Being Kicked off the Rolls...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2007 6:21pm PT  

McClatchy's Greg Gordon today:

Representatives of three liberal-leaning groups came to the Justice Department in 2004, armed with evidence that hundreds of public-assistance agencies had illegally failed to offer voter registration to their mostly poor and minority clients.Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, which imposed the requirement, in 1993. But after these agencies registered 2.6 million people to vote in 1995-1996, the total registered plunged to about 1 million in 2003-2004.

Michael Slater, the Oregon-based deputy director of the national registration group Project Vote, said officials of the Justice Department's civil rights division showed little interest in enforcing that part of the law.
...
He said the groups' representatives told the Justice Department officials: "Look, we have physical hard evidence that states aren't doing this. They're taking their eye off the ball. We want to see some enforcement."

Slater said [Bush-appointee to the DoJ Civil Rights division, Hans] von Spakovsky listened quietly and then made comments to the effect of "hmmm" and "that's interesting," but took no action.

Emails from Von Spakovsky recently revealed that he was also busy strong-arming and attempting "deals" with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) on a number of issues concerning disenfranchising Photo ID poll restrictions around that same time. For his efforts in all of the above, of course, von Spakovsky would later be recess-appointed by Bush to chair the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). We yelled about that appointment back in January of 2006 when nobody was listening.

A sampling of the extraordinary disparity in numbers of voter registrations taken by government agencies under the Clinton DoJ v. Bush DoJ...

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

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By Greg Palast on 5/28/2007 12:53pm PT  

*** Investigative Journalist Greg Palast replies to Internet commentary following his Exclusive Report filed here at The BRAD BLOG on Monica Goodling's testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last week, including her admissions concerning "Vote Caging" by former Karl Rove aide, now Arkansas U.S. Attorney, Tim Griffin.

Saturday morning, when most sensible folks were unfurling flags or taking their setters and children for a Memorial Day frisbee toss on the beach, someone using the nom d’puter of “DRATIONAL” was in his big sister’s bedroom furiously typing, “Greg Palast is Dangerous!” on her iMac.

Drat is quite right: I am dangerous, though not for the reasons in Drat’s screed.

So while the twins are off with the dog, let me respond between bites of this bagel, beginning with this immutable distinction:

There’s two kinds of illiterates in this world: those who can’t read, for whom I’m entirely sympathetic — and those who CAN read but WON’T, for whom I have no sympathy whatsoever.

Drat is of the latter. He (she/them/it?) has mounted a full-scale assault on the seven-year-long effort of my BBC and Guardian team investigating systematic suppression of the minority vote by the Republican Party and our latest revelation: ‘caging voters.’ His “evidence” is 100% limited to snippets of my conversations on talk radio or phone interviews, second-hand reports on websites and some musings of one of my good researchers, Zach Roberts, posted to this site.

Nowhere does he suggest he’s bothered reading the one hundred-page description of the attack on voters, including caging, in the new edition of Armed Madhouse. Shame that. Law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., using the book as a source, verified by his own corroborative work, found the matter therein convincing enough to call for putting Rove’s right hand man, Tim Griffin, “in prison, not in office.”

Picking up a book won’t hurt you, Mr. Drat, at least until Patriot Act IV goes into effect...

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

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Joseph Rich Discusses Politicization of DoJ Voting Rights Unit
ACORN Rep Discusses Vast Right Wing 'Voter Fraud' Conspiracy...
By Alan Breslauer on 4/24/2007 1:56pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Amy Goodman interviews (18:04) former Justice Department Attorney Joe Rich and Bertha Lewis of New York's ACORN on today's Democracy Now! Rich, who left Justice in 2005 after 36 years in the Civil Rights Division, was the head of the voting section from 1999 to 2005. He discusses the politicization of virtually all elements of the Justice Department including the administration's emphasis on voter fraud with aims at suppressing the vote....

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

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