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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, February 27, 2015
'Green News Report' 2/26/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate change and our extreme winter; Geo-engineering is madness, but... (CUE THE CHEMTRAILS!); Shell nixes Canadian tar sands; PLUS: Sucker born every minute...
Previous GNRs: 2/24/15 - 2/19/15 - Archives...
'U.S. Electoral Integrity Worst Among Long-Established Democracies': New Report
Worse than Mexico, better than Barbados: Harvard, Univ. of Sydney study finds U.S. elections ranked 45th among 107 nations...
'Green News Report' 2/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR's 6th Anniversary! VETOED: Obama nixes KXL; EXPOSED: Top denier outed; BUSTED: Feds clip Duke Energy; PLUS: Sorry, deniers, don't blame the sun...
Previous GNRs: 2/19/15 - 2/17/15 - Archives...
Top Climate 'Skeptic' Hid Fossil Fuel Payments
Docs reveal oft-cited Dr. Wei-Hock 'Willie' Soon failed to disclose funding from the Kochs, ExxonMobil, others when publishing 'scientific' papers disputing global warming...
Democrats Call for 'Right-to-Vote' Amendment
DNC adopts resolution calling for explicit individual right to vote to be added to the U.S. Constitution and for 2016 state ballot referendums in support...
Not Very Funny
"You don't have to 'Approve' or 'Disapprove' of Obama in some simplistic overall sense. There is no requirement in life or politics to be as stupid as a pollster's questions" - David Swanson
When Presidential Selfies Were Hilarious [VIDEO]
A sitting U.S. President joking about signing up for health care insurance isn't funny or dignified! But you know what's hilarious?...
'Green News Report' 2/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Another day, another oil explosion, this time in CA; 'Anti-petroleum' activists a security threat, says Canada; Jan. 2015 is 2nd hottest on record; PLUS: Obama on 'our best idea'...
Previous GNRs: 2/17/15 - 2/12/15 - Archives...
Photo ID Restriction Bill Killed by Nebraska Legislature
A solid, bipartisan defeat of a polling place Photo ID law the Nebraska's 'non-partisan' legislature is very good news for voters...for a change...
Fox 'News' Exposes 'Biggest Science Scandal Ever Known!'
Except, you'll be shocked to learn, it isn't a scandal at all...and they are absolutely wrong. Again...
'Green News Report' 2/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Another day, another TWO oil train explosions; Schizophrenic extreme weather pounds U.S.; Southwest about to get a lot drier; PLUS: Ohio bans local fracking bans....
Previous GNRs: 2/12/15 - 2/5/15 - Archives...
House Judiciary Comm. Preps for Possible Impeachment of Wife-Beating Federal Judge
Goodlatte, Conyers appear to be taking job of accountability for Judge Mark Fuller seriously; Request budget for experts, hearings, etc...
Shell Shocked: Big Oil Boss Seeks 'Balance' on Climate
After decades of fossil fuel industry lies about global warming, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is suddenly desparate to stave off the inevitable...
'No Homosexuals Doing Homosexual Things'
Jeremy Todd Addaway of 'Redneck News' offers a remarkable report from Alabama, on the front lines of the gay marriage epidemic...
'Green News Report' 2/12/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP passes Keystone XL bill - again; Apple invests big in solar; Oil cos dump toxic waste into CA aquifers; PLUS: Uncle Sam wants YOU to save the monarch butterfly...
Previous GNRs: 2/5/15 - 2/3/15 - Archives...
#JeSuisChapelHill
Three Muslim students were shot in the head execution style by a neighbor in NC. Police say it was a 'parking dispute'. The victim's families are calling it a 'hate crime'. Shouldn't Fox 'News' call it 'terrorism'?...
MSNBC's Credibility Problem
When it comes to the greatest existential threat facing the planet, the cable news channel that should cover it best ends up pulling its punches...
What?! MSM Lied About the Iraq War?!
NBC's Brian Williams appears to have made up his own war stories. And if there's anything the MSM can't stand, it's lying about the Iaq War...
Climate Denying PM Hangs On in Australia
Right-wing Tony Abbott survives the heat of an attempted ouster by his own party, but world may not be as lucky...
Did Late Vote-by-Mail Ballots Flip Results of CA's First Election of 2015?
A new state law has some election watchdogs concerned -- and you'll never guess who authored it...
Walker Attempts to Cut $300M, 'Truth', 'Wisconsin Idea' from UW System
And the GOP's latest 2016 front-runner gets caught in a lie while doing it...
'Green News Report' 2/5/15
Aussie's climate denying PM takes a drubbing; Baby sea lions wash ashore in CA; BP's missing oil found; PLUS: LBJ issued warning about global warming 50 years ago...
The Biggest Winners of 'Citizens United'
Money is now blatantly corrupting US politics, but don't forget who ultimately receives the vast majority of those campaign billions...
'Green News Report' 2/3/15
EPA gives Obama room to reject Keystone XL; Feds must account for sea level; Scarborough says liberals deny science; PLUS: GOP's 2016 climate prob...
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...


With razor-thin 812 vote margin, proponents charge 4,600 ballots remain illegally uncounted due to 'problems' with signatures
Questions about state procedures underscore shortcomings of Vote-by-Mail balloting...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2014 2:44pm PT  

[Update: An 'emergency lawsuit' has now been filed by proponents. See details at bottom of this article.]

A statewide hand-count of millions of hand-marked paper ballots is currently underway in Oregon, as proponents of a GMO-related ballot initiative hope to overcome the computer-tallied margin of less than one-fifth of one percent, as reported by the state following the November 4th election.

But proponents of the measure are expressing concern about the process of the count, including corporate interference and thousands of votes that have been excluded, due to questions about signatures on mail-in ballots.

We recently detailed how the "Yes on Measure 92" campaign trailed by just over 800 votes (.02%) out of more than 1.5 million cast, in what has become the most expensive ballot measure battle in Oregon state history. $21 million dollars were reportedly spent to defeat the measure by corporate opponents of the "Right to Know" initiative. Monsanto, DuPont, Kraft, Pepsico and other national food companies had worked to block Measure 92's mandate requiring food sold in the state containing genetically modified products be labeled as such. Proponents reportedly spent just $9 million in support of the initiative.

As the statewide "recount" is now underway (we use quotes around the word to denote that, until now, the paper ballots have never actually been counted by human beings, only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated, sometimes wildly-inaccurate computer optical-scanners), proponents are citing a number of concerns about the way the state is carrying out the hand count, including what they describe as attempted illegal interference by Measure 92's corporate opponents, and the exclusion of thousands of ballots which, proponents believe, are being inappropriately left out of the final count.

While the number of ballots excluded from the tally could be more than enough to reverse the results of the contest, according to proponents, the complaints also serve to underscore a number of serious drawbacks to Oregon's all Vote-by-Mail election system, as well as mail-in voting in other states...

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

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State Republicans' attempt to delay next summer's trial described as 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
UPDATE: Court Denies Motion to Delay Trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/5/2014 2:03pm PT  

North Carolina Republicans are now seeking to delay the full federal trial challenging their massive election reform law, which has been described as the worst-in-the-nation and as a "monster" voter suppression law.

The tactic threatens to, once again, undermine any ruling by the court, should it be made too close to the state's 2016 elections. The trial in the case had previously been set, according to a timetable established in federal court in December of 2013, to take place during the July 2015 trial calendar. State Republicans, however, now argue that a separate state court challenge to one section of its massive voter suppression law, scheduled during the same period next summer, will "severely prejudice" their ability to defend themselves in the federal case which follows it.

Plaintiffs argue in response that the move is "another step in Defendants continued attempts to delay the ultimate resolution of this action."

The attempt to re-schedule comes from the same North Carolina Republicans who, this past October, successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court order restoring a number of voter registration and voting provisions that were blocked by the state GOP's law, simply because the court order restoring those voting rights was issued too close to the Nov. 4, 2014 election.

The state's argument at the time was that "Court orders affecting elections...can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase."

The trial which the state is now attempting to stall is in response to the same federal lawsuit involving legal challenges to the state's Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA"). This site, and many others, described the legislation as the "nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era," when state Republicans enacted the extraordinarily wide-reaching restrictions on voting and registration in NC within days of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in the summer of 2013...

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

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Razor-thin margin, failed tabulators, untallied ballots, terrible 'recount' provisions leave Barber-McSally contest unsettled...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2014 3:46pm PT  

Yes, we're still working on Election 2014 around here. As we've told you many times, problems in elections often take days, weeks or even months or years to reveal themselves, even after the mainstream media has long since moved on.

Last week we told you about the "recount" that awaits the GMO labeling ballot initiative in the state of Oregon and the amazing appearance of 21 "new" mystery ballots that flipped the results of a state Senate recount in Maine. And now, a "recount" lies ahead for the one remaining "too close to call" U.S. Congressional election in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.

The state's first-ever "recount" of a Congressional race will be very different from the one that will be carried out for Oregon's Measure 92 and --- as demonstrated via a federal court ruling issued on Thanksgiving Day that disallowed the tally of some 133 provisional and early ballots before today's state certification of the race --- much more controversial. We can only hope no mystery ballots appear, as occurred in the still-unexplained contest in Maine.

The razor-thin contest in AZ-2 is between incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D) and his challenger Martha McSally (R). Out of some 220,000 votes cast in the AZ-2 race --- in Pima and Cochise Counties --- the paper ballot computer tabulators report a margin of "victory" for McSally over Barber of just 161 votes, according to results posted by the Sec. of State.

The U.S. House seat in Arizona's 2nd District was formerly occupied by Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) until she was critically injured in a 2011 mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13 during a public event in Tucson. After Giffords' resignation following the shooting, she was replaced in a special election by Barber, one of her top staffers who was also shot twice himself during the massacre. Barber then went on to defeat McSally in the 2012 general election by less than one percent.

Prior to today's certification of this year's rematch, there were a number of oddities and controversies during the tabulation period. Among the problems, the reported Election Night failure of the paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators in Cochise County to read a number of memory cards from the Early Voting period. Those sensitive cards store results of precinct-scanned paper ballots. They had to be flown by helicopter to another county before their contents could be discerned (even though paper ballots existed that could have simply been counted by human beings, rather than relying on electronic tallying systems.)

In addition to the troubling ruling last week by the U.S. District Court and the flawed electronic tabulation of some early ballots, local election integrity experts are also concerned about the state mandated process for "recounting" the ballots, a process which includes using the same flawed electronic scanners once again to determine if the initial scan was carried out accurately...

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

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11-vote edge given to GOPer after 21 unexplained ballots - all for her - mysteriously appear in tiny Town of Long Island...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2014 8:21pm PT  

An election fraud mystery has emerged in Maine's tiny Town of Long Island. The strange case has not only changed the previously announced "winner" of the election, but the contested results affect the entire state Senate and are now the subject of an investigation demanded by the Maine Democratic Party.

On Election Night this year, Democrat Catherine Breen reportedly won the race for state Senate by a very slim 32 votes in Maine's Senate District 25, according to the then-unofficial tally. However, during a hand recount of the votes last week, 21 previously unaccounted-for ballots were discovered to be in the locked Long Island ballot box. All of the "new" ballots included votes for Cathleen Manchester, the Republican candidate who had requested the recount.

Those 21 "new" ballots were above and beyond the 171 votes counted by hand on Election Night (which proved to be an otherwise perfect count) and the 171 voters listed as having voted on the "voter manifest" at Long Island's only precinct.

The "new" votes, combined with a few other adjustments to the tallies in the 25th District's six other towns, were enough to reverse the results, giving an 11-vote victory to the Republican candidate after the recount, even as neither party is able to explain the appearance of the "phantom ballots" in Long Island...

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

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Hand-count of paper ballots likely after computer tallies report margin of fewer than 900 votes out of over 1.5 million cast...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2014 2:48pm PT  

The November 4, 2014 elections are not over in several parts of the country. One of those places is Oregon, where progressive candidates and ballot measures were largely successful in bucking the rightward trend of election results produced by much of the rest of the nation. Nonetheless, a GMO-related ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods appeared to have failed on Election Night in the wake of a record amount of campaign cash spent by food manufacturers to defeat it.

The measure, however, now appears headed toward a statewide "recount" as the official computer-reported results have greatly narrowed in the weeks following Election Day, with the race now regarded as "too close to call" by some. The "No" margin decreased to less than 1,500 votes as of late last week, after the Yes on 92 campaign was said to have been "reaching out to 13,000 voters whose ballots had signature problems and weren't counted," according to Oregon's KPTV.

[Note: The BRAD BLOG tends to use quotes around the word "recount", since most ballots in the U.S., even hand-marked paper ballots, are never actually counted by human beings in the first place, with most jurisdictions relying only on easily-manipulated and sometimes wildly inaccurate computer tabulators which tally ballots either correctly or incorrectly. Without an actual hand-count by human beings, its impossible to know either way.]

For the first time this year, the state publicly released the names of voters whose ballots had signature problems. That transparency allowed Measure 92's supporters to attempt to notify those voters to request they contact election officials to work out any discrepancies in order to have their ballots tallied.

As of Monday afternoon, numbers posted on the Oregon Sec. of State's results page show the margin having narrowed even further, with just 809 "No" votes outpacing "Yes" votes, out of more than 1.5 million ballots cast across the state. Finalized results are due from all counties by 5pm today...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2014 1:39pm PT  

It's investigative Election Integrity muckraking in East Coast/West Coast stereo!

My thanks to Thom for inviting me for this week's longer-than-usual panel conversation on his Big Picture TV show, and to Palast for being the inimitably indefatigable Greg Palast!

Lively discussion includes everything from the secret GOP Crosscheck program to Greg's assertion that it cost Democrats several key U.S. Senate races to the U.S. now ranked 26th in electoral integrity among world democracies (last among Western nations) to the Republicans' long hard fight to return to Jim Crowism in TX and beyond...

[Thanks to Palast's office for stitching both segments together in one easy-to-watch clip! I've replaced the original embed with that version above.]

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Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now completing our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2014 6:05am PT  

A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with "Moderate" election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries.

The report, compiled earlier this year and published last month in the American Political Science Association's PS: Political Science and Politics journal, "aims to evaluate the quality of elections held around the world." It is the first of a planned annual series from the Electoral Integrity Project. The organization describes itself as "an independent non-profit scholarly research project based at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the University of Sydney's Department of Government and International Relations, funded by the Australian Research Council and other research bodies."

The group aims to document "why elections fail and what we can do about it."

This year's assessments by 855 election experts around the world are indexed and included in the survey which covers "all national parliamentary and presidential elections held in independent nation-states (with a population of more than 100,000) over an eighteen month period from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2013."

"Based on a survey collecting the views of election experts, the research aims to provide independent and reliable evidence to compare whether countries meet international standards of electoral integrity," the report's introduction explains. "The study collects 49 indicators to compare elections and countries around the globe."

While the researchers found even worse problems in the elections of many younger countries, some of those nations still managed to out-perform the U.S. on the overall ranking, as we brought up the tail end of Western democratic nations, according to the experts' analysis, as described in one of bullet-points summarizing the report's findings [emphasis in original]...

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

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Emails obtained by BRAD BLOG show County election chief ignored warnings from experts, leading to long lines, voters turned away...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2014 2:27pm PT  

Election officials in St. Louis County, Missouri were repeatedly warned by local Election Integrity advocates that a plan to supply enough paper ballots for only 15% of the electorate at polling places on Election Day there would not be enough, according to emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

The emails, sent well before Election Day, expressed concern and doubt about "enough paper ballots at every polling place on November 4th to cover all of the voters who would like to have one," as one of advocates wrote to the Democratic Director of Elections in St. Louis County.

The warnings were ignored, the missives suggest, and, as reported by local media, the result was a widespread shortage of paper ballots on Election Day 2014 at sites throughout the county, including in the embattled city of Ferguson, MO. Throughout the county, the shortage of ballots resulted in long lines and voters who were turned away or forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems which the county has long encouraged voters to use. Some precincts were required to stay open at least an hour after the normal closing time in order to accommodate those who were in line to vote before the close of polls at 7pm local time.

St. Louis Public Radio reported the day after the election that "unexpected demand for paper ballots caused a shortage at about 95 polling places throughout the county Tuesday. That's more than 20 percent of the county's 444 balloting sites."

"The paper shortage," they explained, "was the biggest unexpected problem on Election Day."

But, in truth, it wasn't unexpected at all, at least according to emails we reviewed to and from the county's chief election official, suggesting that the Board of Elections simply ignored the clear warnings they had received from local Election Integrity experts...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2014 8:19pm PT  

Bill Maher offered a very reasonable response to the ridiculously lazy argument that there's "no difference" between the two major parties or in who wins elections or that "voting doesn't matter." Part of his argument, however, includes a bit of tantrum thrown against those who don't vote at all...

I'd like to counter that latter part of his argument (his tantrum against those who didn't vote) with this point:

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2014 6:35pm PT  

On this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast I was joined by investigate journalist and author Greg Palast to discuss his disturbing report on the GOP's secret "Interstate Crosscheck" database and the hundreds of thousands of voters it may have knocked off the rolls this year.

PLUS: A flashback to my interview with then 25-year old paralyzed Iraq War veteran turned anti-war activist Tomas Young at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX in August of 2005. It was Young's first national interview proceeding his story being told on CBS 60 Minutes in 2006 and in Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's documentary Body of War in 2007. During the interview, Young (who had driven 13 hours from Kansas City on his honeymoon, despite unceasing pain) describes the tragic story of how he was wounded during a rescue mission in an unarmored truck in Sadr City; how and when he turned against Bush's war; we joke about BBQ in Missouri and more; and then hatch a (successful) plot to bring his story to national attention.

After years of demanding accountability for the Bush/Cheney Administration war criminals, Young died earlier this week just before Veterans' Day and just weeks shy of his 35th birthday.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2014 5:06pm PT  

On thousands of "missing" votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. "results", on "True the Vote" clowns, and on much more...all on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture last night...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2014 7:02am PT  

This is a very smart post, particularly from someone calling themselves "potatohead" at DailyKos: "About Touch Screen Voting".

I'd quote something from it, but then you'd be less likely to click over and read the whole thing.

The author has almost everything exactly right, discussing concepts that BRAD BLOG readers should understand very very well by now, but using different words than I usually do, so it may help everything soak in a bit more.

He (presuming a "he" here) even extends his explanation of the inherent, unfixable problem that make touch-screen voting systems 100% unverifiable (and, therefore, antithetical to American democracy) to explain why both "open source" computer voting systems and Internet Voting can't work either, for the same reasons.

Only quibble: He needs to put the word "hand-" before the words "marked ballots" and we'd be 100% golden. Thank you, "potatohead".

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Early data suggest new 'discriminatory', 'unconstitutional' Republican voting restriction seems to have worked well for them...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2014 2:58pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Despite a larger population and a contested race for an open gubernatorial seat, turnout in the state of Texas was reportedly down this year, as compared to the last mid-term election in 2010, by more than a quarter of a million votes.

That data point --- a decrease of some 271,000 total voters this year --- is one of several, at least anecdotal early indicators that suggest the Texas GOP's strategy of suppressing the vote this year with polling place Photo ID restrictions seems to have worked.

Since 2003, Texas law had already required every voter to present an ID when voting at the polls in the Lone Star State. But the newer draconian restrictions that have been so controversial were finally in place for a federal general election for the first time this year, after state Republicans have been attempting to enact them since at least 2007.

We've spent quite a bit of time over the past year(s) reporting on the GOP attempt to implement these new polling place Photo ID voting restrictions, with all evidence suggesting that they are meant only to suppress the votes of minorities, students, the poor and other disproportionately Democratic-leaning constituencies.

In virtually every instance that the new, exceedingly restrictive law has come before federal authorities, it has been found plainly discriminatory. The law was struck down in 2012 as a discriminatory violation of the Voting Rights Act by both the U.S. Department of Justice as well as a three-judge federal panel on the D.C. District Court. It was struck down once again this year by a U.S. District Court in Texas after a full trial and a 147-page ruling [PDF] which found the law to be "purposefully discriminatory", an "unconstitutional poll tax", and likely to disenfranchise some 600,000 legally registered Texas voters as well as more than a million eligible voters.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to stay in place during this year's election, as the Republicans who run the state of Texas appeal the lower court's unambiguous ruling.

In the meantime, early data coming in from Texas suggests the law appears to have had its intended effect...

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

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Popular, oft-malfunctioning computer tabulator used in WI, many other states, tallied just 16 votes out of 5,350 cast in Stoughton, WI...
UPDATED: Hand-count finds 4,440 YES votes, 992 NO votes...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2014 9:05am PT  

Though some 5,350 voters are known to have voted in the city of Stoughton in Dane County, Wisconsin on Tuesday, just 16 of those voters were interested in voting in a local ballot referendum calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to help overturn the infamous Citizens United decision --- at least according to the results reported by paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators there.

"A malfunction with the voting machines in Stoughton Tuesday led to an incomplete outcome of the city's referendum on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution, Stoughton clerk Lana Kropf said," according to a terse and somewhat cryptic report in the Wisconsin State Journal on Thursday.

The city's ES&S DS200 paper ballot optical-scanners (a computer tabulation system plagued with problems in many states over the years) reported zero votes for the initiative in five of the city's six voting wards, and just 16 votes (7 Yes, 9 No) in the other.

"Never in my years working in clerks' offices have I seen something like this," Kropf told the Journal.

The initiative in question was added to the ballot after citizens gathered enough signatures last July to have it included on the November ballot. According to the wording of the measure, it seeks "to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending." It is similar to referenda passed overwhelmingly in other WI communities.

"Last Tuesday, nearly 5,350 good citizens of Stoughton went to the polls," writes Karen McKim of the progressive Wisconsin Grassroots Network. "If you believe the city's voting machines, exactly 16 of them had an opinion they cared to express on the matter. The rest thought 'Whatevs' and left the referendum blank."

She adds: "Fortunately, no one believes the city's voting machines"...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2014 6:02am PT  

It's been happening for years now. On the day after elections like last Tuesday's, media figures begin navel gazing to figure out how pre-election polls, created by dozens of independent pollsters using dozens of different methodologies, could all find the same thing but turn out to be so wrong once the election results are in.

The presumption is that the results are always right, and if they don't match the pre-election polling, its the polling that must be wrong, as opposed to the election results.

On Wednesday morning, after Tuesday's mid-term election surprise in which Republicans reportedly won handily in race after race despite pre-election polls almost unanimously predicting much closer races or outright Democratic victories, FiveThirtyEight statistics guru Nate Silver declared "The Polls Were Skewed Toward Democrats".

His analysis of aggregated averages from dozens of different pollsters and polls this year found that the performance of Democrats was overestimated by approximately 4 percentage points in Senate races and 3.4 points in gubernatorial contests. Silver's assessment relies on a "simple average of all polls released in the final three weeks of the campaign," as compared to the (unofficial and almost entirely unverified) election results reported on Tuesday night. He doesn't suggest there was anything nefarious in the polling bias towards Dems this year, simply that the pollsters got it wrong for a number of speculative reasons.

Citing the fact that nearly all of the polls suggested Democrats would do much better than they ultimately did, when compared to the reported election results, Silver asserts it wasn't that the polls were more wrong that usual, per se, but that almost all of them were wrong in a way that appears to have overestimated Democratic performance on Election Day.

"This year's polls were not especially inaccurate," he explains. "Between gubernatorial and Senate races, the average poll missed the final result by an average of about 5 percentage points --- well in line with the recent average. The problem is that almost all of the misses were in the same direction."

Silver is much smarter than I when it comes to numbers; I'm happy to presume he has the basic math right. But he seems to have a blind spot in his presumption that the pre-election polls were wrong and the election results were right. That, despite the lack of verification of virtually any of the results from Tuesday night, despite myriad and widespread if almost completely ignored problems and failures at polls across the country that day, and despite systematic voter suppression and dirty tricks that almost certainly resulted in election results (verified or otherwise) that were skewed toward Republicans...

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