After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
With just over 40% of the ballots in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, the gap has now shrunk to just 129 votes at the end of the second day of counting.
According to tonight's update of the MN Secretary of State's "recount" webpage, Coleman has so far lost a total of 212 votes and Franken has lost 126 during the counting. The net gain is 86 votes for Franken out of the original 215 vote advantage certified by the state for Coleman before counting began yesterday.
The original numbers were based on the tabulations reported by the state's faulty ES&S and Diebold optical-scanners. But today's numbers may be equally misleading, for the moment, as there are some 360 ballots so far challenged by Coleman, and 374 by Franken, which will be judged later by the canvassing board. Those numbers are not included in today's totals.
Last night, after the first day's counting with just over 15 percent of the ballots manually inspected across the state, Franken had a net gain of 43 votes. Today, with slightly over 40 percent counted, Franken's net gain has exactly doubled that to 86 votes...
Of all the shameful behavior by the Republicans during this last election cycle, the National Republican Senatorial Conspiratorial Committee's continuing baseless charges that Al Franken and the Democrats are trying to "steal" the U.S. Senate election in Minnesota has to be near the top of a difficult list to top! If only because that rejected sort of politics continues despite the thorough spanking their party took in an election which would seem to have been a rejection of such tactics.
Even Minnesota's own governor, Tim Pawlenty, has now reversed his previous conspiratorial tone to declare on yesterday's Fox "News" Sunday that there is "no actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in the process." He was referring to the currently reported election results --- where Franken trails the incumbent Sen. Norm Colman by just over 200 voters --- and in the upcoming manual recount plans.
None of that has kept the RNSC from keeping up their shameful "Minnesota Recount" conspiracy theory website with postings that declare Franken "lost the election, so he is pulling an Al Gore, with his supporters manufacturing postelection votes by the hundreds" and shoveling, without correction, the now wholly debunked theory that "his supporters discover mislaid ballots in places like the trunks of their cars. By a mysterious coincidence, none of these includes votes for Franken’s rival Norm Coleman."
Though the last post on their conspiracy website was made on Friday --- so perhaps that signals they're getting the message --- all of it still remains there, as unretracted garbage, even after Pawlenty himself has now acknowledged it as such. But the RNSC isn't the only bad actor here. So are the networks, cable channels and even the New York Times...
For those following the nonsense being put forward by the GOP conspiracy theorists (such as Sean Hannity, Norm Coleman, RedState blog, PowerLine blog, and all their fact-free friends), David Brauer at MinnPost.com does a terrific job of debunking the whole "32 ballots driven around in an election director's car for days" nonsense.
They weren't driven around in her car, they weren't all votes for Franken, they weren't "lost" for days, and the claim, which is being used by the national GOP at their conspiracy theory "Minnesota Recount" site to prop up their unsubstantiated claims of a "stolen election," turns out (surprise surprise) to be entirely false...
The Democrats, as usual, have only themselves to blame. But we're still happy to help both them and the Republicans if it means the voters might see their votes counted and counted accurately, no matter who will ultimately be declared the winner of any election. You're welcome, Republicans (and Democrats).
After years of Democrats refusing to use the f-word (fraud) or discussing concerns about the s-word (stolen) for elections, for fear of being declared conspiracy theorists and sore-losers by the Republicans, we'll note that Republicans have no such fears. They never did. And they are happy to don enormous and shiny tin-foil hats any time to claim any conspiracy they need to, regardless of the actual evidence (or lack thereof) to support their theory.
They will claim --- even at the highest official levels of their party --- that "Democrats are stealing the election," "stuff[ing] new ballots into the ballot box" and all other manner of unsubstantiated allegations, if they believe it might help their candidate "win." The voters be damned.
To that end, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has now gone so far as to set up a "Minnesota Recount" conspiracy theory blog. The site is devoted to the advancement of making and reposting unsubstantiated claims from around the wingnut 'sphere --- and that would include liar John Fund's Wall Street Journal --- that Al Franken and the Democrats are in the process of "stealing" the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota...
An ironic and interesting item that we missed as it ran yesterday, but which we'll store away for future reference [emphasis added]...
On Tuesday, Forensicon, a Chicago computer forensic company, said that it was contacted last week by a security firm last week to assist the Republic National Committee (RNC) in challenging cases of "computerized voter fraud."
"If the election returns vary significantly from the polled numbers in any precincts that proves crucial to the election outcome, I expect that a legal struggle over the validity of the election results will ensue," said Forensicon's President, Lee Neubecker in a press release.
The move seems to indicate a future move by the RNC to challenge certain voting results, in some contradiction to past RNC actions regarding electronic voting
I've written both here and at the UK's Guardian to point out that not a single case of ACORN "voter fraud" has been shown anywhere despite the Republican's phony outrageous and MSM's knee-jerk reporting of it.
That changed on Friday (for about a minute) when the GOP and their always-reliable and incurious media echo chamber began trumpeting "undeniable proof that a significant number of fraudulent votes were cast in Democrat primary races for the New Mexico legislature as a result of ACORN’s voter registration fraud."
Knock us over with a feather, but those charges have now fallen apart as well...
Nathan Sproul of Sproul & Associates, Accused of Shredding Democratic Registration Forms in Several States, Now Working on the Republican Presidential Campaign, According to Campaign Disclosure Forms...
And speaking of GOP voter registration hucksters, it looks like Nathan Sproul of Sproul & Associates, the group accused of destroying Democratic registrations in several states during previous elections, has been hired by the McCain-Palin campaign and the RNC again this year. Knock us over with a feather...
Hopefully, soon will come the GOP's ACORN "voter fraud" fraud backlash, though I realize that's still very much a hope given the continuous rightwing media's full-throated reporting attempt to punk American democracy in regards this issue.
Palm Beach Post, thankfully, bothered to do some actual reporting yesterday, and led with the following good news:
Republican National Committee officials are turning up the heat on a left-leaning organization linked with Sen. Barack Obama that tried to register "Mickey Mouse" to vote this summer, but state officials say accusations of voter fraud in Florida are mostly unfounded.
The story goes on to quote FL Secretary of State Kurt Browning who says: "'we have not seen a persistent problem across the state of Florida' with registration fraud by ACORN or other groups."
And FL's Republican Governor Charlie Crist who says: "There's some who sort of enjoy chaos. That's kind of what's going on more than fraud."
Bingo, Charlie. And rather ironic, given the outrageous statement John McCain made during last night's debate; the GOP's own far-worse-than-ACORN's record of registration form problems in California; Crist's own record of voter purges in his own state; and the Republican Party's dismal history of trying to use ACORN at the last minute, just before elections, in order to wreak the "chaos" that Crist was referring to...
After being asked a question about keeping Obama supporters from also voting for Democrats down the ticket at a press conference in D.C., Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), a former chair of the National Republican Congressional Commitee (NRCC) said: "Well you're talking about voter suppression and we would never, ever do anything along that line, for the record."
The room broke into laughter during his comment! (video 1:14 mins)...
Ari at the Oxdown Gazette covered it also and notes that nearly one-quarter of John McCain's laughably and insultingly named "Honest and Open Election Committee," "chaired by Warren Rudman and John Danforth, has been involved in GOP voter suppression efforts or unfounded partisan claims of voter fraud. Of the 21 members of the committee, five have been engaging in these shady efforts."
See his report for the details on those liars, hooligans, and anti-democracy champions. Transcript of the above video follows below...
Fox "News" and its Rupert Murdoch-owned print brethren, the New York Post, continue to bang the GOP's phony ACORN "voter fraud" drum, but as far as I can tell, they've failed to come up with a single incident of any actual voter fraud committed by the dastardly "left-wing extremists."
Yes, Ann Coulter has committed felony voter fraud, but neither of the Murdoch outfits has yet to note that point, even while they go wall-to-wall with misleading reports claiming that ACORN is committing massive "voter fraud" on behalf of the Democrats.
Those who wish to believe in the hoax, however, attempt to link to article after article about allegations of voter fraud carried out by ACORN. And yet, the articles themselves --- if one bothers to actually read them --- reveal that either 1) They describe allegations and investigations brought by Republican agents, with little or no evidence of any wrong doing, and certainly no "voter fraud," 2) Where voter registration fraud has occurred it has been by rogue ACORN employees, originally reported to authorities by ACORN themselves (who are the actual victims of any such fraud by their employees), or 3) Smoke and mirrors are used to cloud the fact that not a single fraudulent vote has actually been cast by anyone.
Let's take a look at just two recent, oft-linked, oft-quoted New York Post articles from today and last week to give you an idea of how the scam works, and how the rightwing suckers fall for it. Every time...
Golly, for a group that's committed so much "voter fraud" for so long (if you're gullible enough to believe the lies that RNC/FNC has been telling you) it's mighty strange that, as News One notes, "McCain attended an ACORN convention just two years ago."
The once-honorable Republican's campaign has even seen fit to produce a video smear ad, attempting to tar Obama with "associations" with ACORN, and alleging the group has committed "massive voter fraud" to boot! (They've yet to produce any actual evidence for that, unfortunately.)
But more than just attending the ACORN-sponsored February 2006 rally, ACORN confirms in a statement today that McCain was actually the keynote speaker!
So now, they wonder, why it is that McCain seems to have "lost that loving feeling"?
"It has deeply saddened us to see Senator McCain abandon his historic support for ACORN and our efforts to support the goals of low-income Americans. Maybe it is out of desperation that Senator McCain has forgotten that he was for ACORN before he was against ACORN," noted Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer of ACORN.
"We expected Senator McCain to support our efforts to give voice to millions of Americans who have never participated in an election before," she continued. "We are surprised at his efforts to vilify an organization that, until recently, he saw as an ally."
Hmmm...So, why was John McCain "palling around with" an organization that "has violated more Americans' civil rights to have their votes counted than any group since the KKK," as described by noted Florida 'vote-rigger' and McCain surrogate Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Abramoff)? Or was Feeney speaking out of school? If so, we've yet to hear McCain condemning the outrageous remarks, or distancing himself from Feeney, the three time winner of CREW's "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" Award.
Also, we can't help but wonder, in regard to McCain's meeting with ACORN, where he spoke on immigration reform, by the way...were there were any preconditions before he agreed to meet with them?
Any questions? If so, first see this and then this, and then read the following list of ACORN FACTS before getting back to me with any of your questions, as I'm happy to help straighten you --- or any of the clueless and lazy media folks who have fallen for the GOP's "voter fraud" fraud --- out, as needed.
The following FACT list is from a recent press release from ACORN, pointing out their success in registering hundreds of thousands of low-income voters whom few others care to go out and register, and the fact that in almost every instance where there have been concerns about registrations turned in by the group (by law, they must turn in all registration forms they collect, problematic or not), it has been ACORN themselves who have first notified officials about the potentially fraudulent or incomplete applications.
The following FACTS need to be read by everybody (apparently), even those who believe they are progressives, yet have fallen for the GOP's Dixie-Chicking of ACORN...
The GOP's October "Surprise" continues...Even as it's no surprise at all that they are hoping to cause absolute bedlam at the polls. They are off to a good start, as the Democrats seem to be caught flat-footed, despite years of warnings about all of this.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Law enforcement officials in southwest Ohio are seeking information on hundreds of voters who registered and voted during Ohio's weeklong same-day voting window.
Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and representatives of County Prosecutor Stephen Haller have contacted the local Board of Elections asking for the voter registration cards of everyone who voted during the six-day window, which ended Monday.
Haller is the former law partner of Mike DeWine, the former Republican senator who is chairing presidential nominee John McCain's Ohio campaign.
[Update: In an updated version of the AP report quoted above, it's noted that Sheriff Fisher is "a Republican," that Green County is "rich with Democrat-leaning college students," and that Fisher requested the voter information after "he had been inundated with phone calls from people concerned about possible fraud." In other words, no actual evidence of anything, just angry Republicans, fired up by chasing their own tails after Fox/RNC told them too. Smelling the rats here, yet?]
Of course, the GOP's ACORN "Voter Fraud" Scam was picked up today by John McCain on the stump (and, mercilessly, on Fox "News" all morning, naturally). Here's McCain putting the scare tactics first, and democracy and country second, if even that high on his list. Here's the shameful video...
Remember yesterday when we told you about the transcript of the Fox & Friends show yesterday morning, discussing the bogus raid of an ACORN office in Las Vegas, and then implying "more" ACORN "voter fraud" occurring in Missouri? The RNC actually issued that transcript verbatim as an official RNC press release. Remember when we told you that, given the hints within the RNC/FNC report that swing state MO was likely next on the RNC/FNC/FBI hit-list?
Well, late last night, AP delivered right on schedule, open their story with "Officials in Missouri...are sifting through possibly hundreds of questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy group that has been accused of election fraud in other states."
The report quotes GOP tool & Jackson County (Kansas City), MO election director, Charlene Davis complaining they are "bogged down" with registrations right now, and insinuating that it's ACORN causing the problem for them.
Of course, as with the pageant staged in Las Vegas, the Missouri action is also a scam. Read a little closer into the AP article, and you'll see the tell-tale signs of this October "Surprise" joke rather clearly...
The RNC isn't even trying to pretend like they are independent from their media arm, Fox "News", anymore, apparently.
Here's today's RNC press release. It's, quite literally, a transcript of this morning's Fox & Friends, wherein the FNC/RNC clowns "report" on yesterday's PR stunt/raid on a Las Vegas ACORN office and then, for good measure, prime the pump for yet another similar raid in Missouri (another swing state, go figure.) Needless to say, it's utter stuff and nonsense, with zero evidence of "criminality" by ACORN --- as explained in our coverage yesterday, all civic organizations are required by law to turn over ANY signed voter registration applications even when they are known to have problems -- and includes plenty of unsubstantiated hearsay and garbage, as if it were actually fact. So, naturally, it's been released as a press release by the RNC, as is.
Unless they find that yesterday's PR stunt in NV has blown up on them (and it might, as folks, even some in the corporate media, are beginning to understand what a desperate scam this GOP "voter fraud" hoax really is) we'll expect a similar stunt or two, akin to the one in Vegas, soon in MO, OH, and anywhere the GOP feels they need a phony reason to challenge elections, intimidate voters, and otherwise cause havoc at the polls before, during and even after Election Day.
Earlier today, I was reminded that similar nonsense occurred just days prior to the 2004 Presidential Election, when the wingnuts falsely reported that ACORN had registered a terrorist to vote in Ohio. And, of course, the DoJ famously violated it's own written rules when it brought similar "voter fraud" charges against ACORN workers just days before the '06 election.
Why do these people hate democracy? Oh, yeah, because if legal voters are actually allowed to vote, and to have their vote counted accurately, the Republicans will lose. At least this year. So, let's hear it one more time for modern-day Republican Deity Paul Weyrich who sent out this year's marching orders some 28 years ago (the video is 40 seconds, but it should tell you just about all you need to know)...
It shouldn't be necessary --- at least if we had a corporate media which did their Constitutionally-protected jobs --- but since ACORN doesn't have the budget of FNC/RNC, here's an ACORN press statement, issued late this afternoon, concerning the bogus Vegas raid/PR stunt yesterday...