Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...
w/ Brad & Desi
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Citizens United rejected a congressional legislative ban on corporate campaign contributions. It says nothing about the ability to tax such contributions...
We've been covering the extraordinary means by which the GOP establishment has been going to shut out the voices of the organized and well-numbered supporters of Republican Presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul at caucuses and delegate conventions, of late.
Here's our recent coverage of the extraordinary scenes (and, thankfully, video) of what happened at the Missouri Caucuses in St. Charles County over the weekend and in Athens-Clarke County, GA the weekend prior. (You can watch all the videos referenced in this broadcast at that link.)
Here's my appearance on RT TV Tuesday night discussing the entire fine mess, and charging that the "GOP establishment hates democracy". (That video has been viewed more than 13,000 times in the 24 hours since being posted by RT after its airing on the satellite/cable channel.)
Today, on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show, I was joined by two of the key players at both of those of remarkable scenes. My guests were Brent Stafford, the Paul organizer seen, incredibly enough, being arrested while trying to reconvene the aborted caucus in St. Charles after pandemonium had broken out inside, and Lori Bone of Athens, who was seen (also on video, thankfully) trying to demand an explanation from Republican Party officials in GA after they'd rammed through a slate of delegates at the Clarke County GOP convention, and then ended the proceedings, ignoring the Paul supporters majority --- all in blatant violation of the official rules.
Stafford told us the St. Charles County GOP is likely to be forced to hold a new caucus (since they didn't even get to vote on delegates before everything broke down, as police were called to the scene). That ought to be interesting.
And Bone explained how Paul supporters in Clarke County took it upon themselves to reconvene the caucus the next day in order to elect their own slate of delegates for the upcoming district and state GOP conventions. Thought ought to be even interestinger.
After my conversation with Stafford and Bone, we finished things up with a bit of Green News Report with the always lovely and very wise Desi Doyen....
Download MP3 or listen online below (appx 58 mins)...
I was back on RT TV this afternoon (this time, without a wingnut loon to waste our time), to discuss the GOP caucus chaos over the weekend in MO, where Ron Paul supporters stood up for themselves, rather than allowing the Republican establishment to railroad them.
Once again, the host was RT's Liz Wahl. Here's what happened today...
438 756 comments on this video at YouTube in the 3 18 hours since it was posted there, where it has now been viewed more than 10,000 times during that period.
By the way, for those who have asked over there, the complete videos of what happened on Saturday in St. Charles, MO and the Saturday before that in Clarke County, GA, as referenced in the conversation above, are all posted right here.
Also, Brent Stafford, the Ron Paul supporter who was arrested outside the aborted GOP caucus in St. Charles, MO over the weekend, will be my guest on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show Wednesday at 3p PT. It will stream live right here.
UPDATE 3/2/12: My KPFK/Pacifica interview with Stafford, mentioned above, is now posted here.
There was a bit of trouble across Illinois polls today, as some of the paper ballots in about 25 different counties, according to the Chicago Tribune, had been cut too wide to fit into the Diebold AccuVote precinct-based op-scanners.
Officials spent the day in panic, reprinting ballots with on-demand ballot printing systems, where available, and otherwise finding paper cutters to trim about one-eighth of an inch off the edge off the ballots that were said to have been cut incorrectly by two different printing companies.
The Washington Post reported the problems as "widespread" earlier today, but by mid-afternoon, officials were downplaying concerns, saying that they'd been able to get out new ballots to affected locations.
Most ballots that could not be trimmed will reportedly be hand-counted in the presence of officials from both the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Some ballot, however, will be "remade", incredibly enough, according to the Tribune, "under the supervision of representatives of each party." That means that some human being will actually copy votes from one ballot, by hand, onto another, so they can then run the "remade" ballot through an optical-scanner. (Never mind how much more time that takes --- and how votes can be changed in the process --- than simply counting those ballots by hand in the first place.)...
Fresh off of telling women they should just "close your eyes" when they are forced by the state to have the government come between them and their doctor for a mandated ultrasound before being allowed to terminate a pregnancy, Pennsylvania's Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is now just making stuff up concerning "voter fraud" in his state.
Comments highlighted by Steve Benen at Maddow Blog today suggest the Governor is willing to say just about anything to justify the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions just passed and signed into law by Republicans in the Keystone State...
When some of the precincts come in with a 112 percent reporting you have to scratch your head and say how does that happen?" questioned Governor Corbett.
At a certain level, that may seem persuasive. If there were precincts in the Keystone State that had 112% participation, then Republicans would have a pretty strong case for new measures intended to crack down on abuses.
But here's the trouble: there are no examples of Pennsylvania precincts, at [any] time or in [any] election, coming in with 112% participation. Corbett appears to have simply made this up.
We thought we'd double check on that with Marybeth Kuznick, founder of VotePA, the non-partisan election integrity watchdog organization which has been fighting to improve the state's electoral system --- and help stop election fraud --- for years now.
She concurs that Corbett's statement is, as she described it to us, simply "ludicrous"...
[UPDATES: My appearance on RT TV discussing the story below, is now posted here. || Brent Stafford, the Ron Paul supporter who was arrested outside the aborted GOP caucus in St. Charles, MO over the weekend, and Lori Bone seen trying to hold GOP officials accountable after the Clarke County, GA delegate convention was stolen the week prior, both stories discussed and seen on video below, were my guests on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show Wednesday, 3/21/12. You can now listen to those interviews here. - BF]
This is just amazing. At yesterday's GOP caucus in St. Charles, MO --- one of the largest and most conservative counties in the state --- the Republican establishment is seen blatantly attempting to steal the caucus from supporters of Ron Paul.
As the caucus was prematurely shut down before a vote, with state police called in, no delegates were elected at what "was to have been the biggest single prize of the day," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage of the Missouri Caucuses' mess. It was just the latest, of many, embarrassments to arise out of a GOP caucus state this year.
A Facebook page called "Hold St. Charles Republican Tyrants Accountable" includes many cell phone videos of the near riots that occurred as party leaders attempted to commandeer the caucus to thundering cries of protest and shouts of "Point of Order!" and "Division!" (a non-debatable process in Roberts Rules of Order requiring the chair to have an immediate vote by a different means, such as rising, after a contested voice vote) by what seems to be hundreds of Paul supporters.
Despite the GOP ordering recording devices to be turned off at the outset of the meeting for some reason, a number of videos [several are posted below] appear to document what happened as one man declared himself chair --- without the approval of attendees --- before subsequently naming a parliamentarian and other caucus officials, in what looks to be a very clear violations of the rules of order that are supposed to be used in the MO GOP caucuses.
A very similar commandeering of the Athens-Clarke County, Georgia delegate convention was reported --- and also documented on video --- last week. Those videos [also posted below] show state and county GOP officials blatantly ignoring what appears to be a majority of Paul supporters hoping to elect their own as delegates to the district and state GOP conventions. There as well, calls for "Division" votes were summarily ignored by the chair, and the official proceedings were prematurely shut down without the required two-thirds majority vote.
At the St. Charles caucus yesterday, state and local police were called in and the caucus was prematurely "voted" to a close (or, at least, announced as much by the local party apparatchik who had declared himself chairman). An impromptu parking lot meeting of Paul supporters outside the venue afterward was then broken up by several dozen police, a hovering helicopter, police sirens, and the arrest of Brent Stafford, the man who is seen as the local leader of the Paul supporters. Stafford was peacefully addressing the crowd in the parking lot when he was handcuffed and hauled away to shouts of "Right to Assemble!" from the onlookers.
I can't say that I've ever seen anything like the huge St. Charles event or the very similar, if smaller and less unruly, Athens-Clarke County, GA affair. At both events, Republican Party officials appear to be caught in the act --- and on video tape --- of blatantly stealing the democratic processes away from supporters of Paul.
All of that, amidst the background of elected Republican officials across the nation implementing disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions in order to, they claim, deter "voter fraud" from corrupting elections...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
On Friday, an intermediate Wisconsin appellate court denied a request made by WI Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R), on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker's administration, to stay an order issued earlier this month by a Dane County Circuit Court that temporarily suspended the state GOP's polling place Photo ID law.
In Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker --- the first of two cases within the past two weeks to result in an injunction on the voting restrictions, known as "Act 23," enacted by a Republican-majority last year --- Judge David Flanagan temporarily enjoined [PDF] enforcement of the law on the grounds that it was in violation of the WI Constitution's guaranteed right to vote.
As of now, that injunction will still stand. In the bargain, local election officials are now seeking to comply with Judge Flanagan's order, so that Photo ID will not be required at the polls in the statewide April primary elections, upcoming recall elections scheduled for May and June, or for the 2012 general election this November.
Unless the denial of a stay is promptly reversed by the partisan Republican majority on the WI Supreme Court, the ruling could have an immediate adverse impact on the ability of the state's controversial Governor, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the Republican state Senators facing upcoming recall elections to retain office...
"I'm shaken up. I mean, I've never done anything like this before," 55-year old former U.S. Marine Tim Thompson said after being turned away from the polling place for refusing to show a Photo ID when attempting to vote on Super Tuesday under a new Tennessee restriction on voting rights passed by Republican lawmakers.
Last week, we told you about Thompson and his protest at the same Nashville polling place where he'd voted for years without incident. It was the first state election in TN in which state-issued Photo ID was required in exchange for the right to vote at a polling place.
Though Thompson presented his voter registration card as sent to him by the state, it was not enough under the new law to allow him to vote on a normal ballot. "I've used this for 37 years," the former Lance Corporal is seen on video telling the precinct supervisor at the poll. "This was good enough for my father. This was good enough for my grandfather, and I refuse to show you a picture ID," he said.
The new law was passed in TN despite tens of of thousands of legally registered --- disproportionately Democratic-leaning --- voters who lack the requisite ID now needed to vote. Many of them are likely to be disenfranchised this year. Among such voters we've reported on previously in the state: 96-year old Dorothy Cooper and 93-year old Thelma Mitchell, to name just two who had been able to vote for decades there without a problem --- even through the Jim Crow era --- until this year.
Thompson's complete confrontation with the poll worker can be seen in video we published here last week. The story was also picked up by a number of local media outlets and, later that night, by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Part of it was played during an appearance we made on RT TV, as seen around the world, earlier this week.
Today, documentary filmmaker David Earnhardt, director of the award-winning Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, shares his behind-the-scenes video of what happened before, during and after Thompson's protest. [FULL DISCLOSURES: Earnhardt happens to be the brother-in-law of Thompson, and we happen to appear in Uncounted, but it's an excellent film anyway.]
This short and inspiring documentary offers insight into the reasons for Thompson's protest. He explains that he hopes his fight to help restore the rights taken away from Tennessee voters may inspire others to stand up for our democracy, both in his state and elsewhere around the country where similar restrictions have recently been enacted.
In this video, Thompson is seen explaining to media on hand to interview him after he'd left the polling place last Tuesday: "When I took my oath, it was for all people, all Americans --- Republican, Democrat, black, white. It didn't matter what color you were or what religion you believed in. It didn't matter. It was for all Americans. That's what Marines fight for."
"I was willing to sacrifice my vote to stand up today and represent all the people that's not going to be able to vote," says Thompson. "Don't let your right to vote stop because these politicians have passed a law that limits your vote, that's exactly what they want to do"...
But there is now more to the inspiring story, underscoring again how one person standing up for their rights really can make a difference...
Just heard from Mike Malloy, who's a bit under the weather today, asking me to fill in on his nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show tonight. So, as I scramble to prep last minute, I'll leave you all to add the analysis and context for the following item from NPR last week, which was just brought to my attention just last night...
The civil rights organization says the laws are among several measures adopted by some states that violate the human and civil rights of minority voters by suppressing their participation in elections.
The NAACP and other groups also are fighting other election changes enacted by states, such as restrictions placed on third-party groups that register new voters and the reduction of early voting periods. Both measures traditionally have helped increase minority voter turnout.
The United Nations has no authority over American states, of course. And the international organization has often been pilloried by U.S. conservatives concerned about American deference to other nations.
But the NAACP is hoping to exert international pressure on states in the same way it did during the civil rights movement of the 1940s and 1950s, when the NAACP sought the U.N.'s support in combating Jim Crow laws and lynchings in the South.
"The power of the U.N. on state governments historically is to shame them and to put pressure on the U.S. government to bring them into line with global standards, best practices for democracy," NAACP President Benjamin Jealous told reporters Thursday. "There are plenty of examples — segregation of the U.S. to apartheid in South Africa to the death penalty here in the U.S. — of global outrage having an impact."
Very recently related stories at The BRAD BLOG...
3/13/12: VIDEO: Brad v. Wingnut Loon Seton Motley on GOP Photo ID Voter Suppression on Russian TV
3/12/12: DOJ REJECTS TEXAS GOP'S POLLING PLACE PHOTO ID RESTRICTION LAW
3/12/12: Second Injunction, This One Permanent, Issued Against WI GOP's Photo ID Restriction Law
3/9/12: VIDEO: Maddow's 'GOP War on Voting' Update - And an Important Error in Her Report on Ohio...
3/6/12: WI GOP'S PHOTO ID RESTRICTION LAW PLACED ON HOLD IN ADVANCE OF APRIL PRIMARY
3/6/12: Former U.S. Marine Turned Away From TN Poll For Refusing to Present Photo ID Under New GOP Law
3/3/12: DoJ Files Objection in Federal Court to FL's New Early Voting, Voter Registration Restrictions
2/29/12: New Federal Lawsuit Provides U.S. DoJ Golden Opportunity to Challenge Polling Place Photo ID Restrictions Under Section 2 of Voting Rights Act
Wow. Ya know, I love RT (Russia's English language satellite/cable TV channel) and the host of today's show, Liz Wahl, but --- seriously guys? Ya can't find a legitimate, even somewhat informed, non-crazy person to defend Republican voter suppression at the polling place?
Maybe not. So, instead, I faced off today with some wingnut Breitbot clown named Seton Motley who is, apparently, the President of an outfit calling itself (ironically enough) "Less Government".
I'm pretty sure this video of our, um, "discussion", and this guy, and his anti-democracy arguments (and his need to call me a "doofus" in the middle of the debate when he runs out of stuff to make up) pretty much speak for themselves. "Enjoy"!...
P.S. One point (among many) I wasn't able to make, due to Motley's continued, obnoxious interruptions, is the irony of a guy who heads an outfit called "Less Government" --- whose motto is apparently "It's a spending problem" --- calling for millions and millions of tax-payer dollars to be spent combating a "problem" (polling place voter impersonation) for which there is no actual evidence.
It's almost as if he's no more concerned about big government, in reality, than he is about real concerns of election fraud. Go figure.
P.P.S. Yes, since Motley asked, of course I've seen James O'Keefe's hilarious "voter fraud" hoax videos. Here's our coverage of his criminal voter fraud escapades in New Hampshire and of the Republican Manchester Mayor who subsequently called for O'Keefe's arrest. And here is our coverage of his laughable misadventures in Minnesota and our follow up when we learned his fraudulent voter fraud was even more fraudulent than we'd originally given him credit for!
Other than that, we'll wait patiently for Motley's evidence that purported ACORN worker registrants Mary Poppins, Donald Duck and Jive Turkey all voted in the state of Ohio in 2006. Sigh...
The good news for voters, of late, keeps coming --- at least against the title wave of GOP voter suppression laws instituted around the country by Republicans since taking over legislatures and executive branches in 2010.
In addition to last week's temporary injunction of the Wisconsin's GOP polling place Photo ID restriction, and today's permanent injunction of the same law by a second judge in a separate complaint (both judges found the law in strict violation of the state Constitution's ironclad guarantee of the right to vote), today also saw the U.S. Dept. of Justice blocking a similarly disenfranchising Photo ID restriction enacted last year by Texas Republicans.
Currently, according to data supplied to the DoJ by the state of TX, more than 600,000 legally registered voters do not possess the type of ID that would be required to vote under the law passed last year, as previously set to take effect before this year's Presidential Election.
But it is the discriminatory effect of the new law which led the DoJ to nix the new changes to TX' voting laws.
Finding that the state's own statistics reveal legally registered Hispanic voters will be disproportionately disenfranchised by the TX law --- by anywhere from 46% to 120% over non-Hispanics, depending upon which set of a data submitted by TX is used for the analysis --- the DoJ rejected the statute under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That section of the federal law requires preclearance for new election laws in certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. Texas is one of those covered jurisdiction.
Today, the DoJ objected to the new law after determining that the state had not met it's "burden of showing that a submitted change [to an election law] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect"...
In an unambiguous finding stating that "the legislature and governor have exceeded their constitutional authority" and that "voter fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression," a second Dane County Circuit court in less than a week, has determined that the Wisconsin GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction on voters is in strict violation of the state Constitution.
Today, in his 12-page ruling on the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess found that "Act 23," the new law which strips voters of their right to vote unless they are able to produce a state-issued Photo ID at the polling place violates the WI Constitution's Article III which guarantees the right to vote to all state residents who are 18 and over (Section 1) other than in cases where the legislature may place restrictions on convicted felons and those adjudicated to be incompetent (Section 2).
Niess has issued a permanent injunction on the law today, in a complaint filed last October by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin arguing that legally registered voters would be unconstitutionally barred from exercising their guaranteed right to vote under the Republican's new restrictive law.
"The motion documents reveal no disputed issue of material fact requiring further evidentiary proceedings. [The plaintiffs] present a purely legal issue ripe for decision," Niess declared in his ruling, stating that Article III of the state Constitution "is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says."
Last week, in response to a complaint filed the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, another Dane County Circuit Court Judge, Richard Flanagan, also ruled "Act 23" to be unconstitutional on a similar basis. He had issued a temporary injunction on the law in that case, in advance of the state's April primary elections. A trial is currently scheduled to begin on that complaint next month.
In response to both rulings now, the Republican State Attorney General has vowed to appeal, though both his legal and political basis for doing so may be quickly fading with today's second, nearly-identical finding from a second court.
There are also two complaints pending on a federal basis against the same Republican law in Wisconsin. In none of them has the GOP so far been able to demonstrate a case of voter fraud which might have been prevented by the new law. On the other hand, opponents have detailed a mountain of fact-based evidence demonstrating that otherwise legal voters will ultimately be disenfranchised if the law is allowed to take full effect in advance of this year's Presidential election, and as the state gears up for a new round of recall elections meant to unseat the very Republicans responsible for creating the state's new barrier to voting...
Earlier today, we highlighted Rachel Maddow's latest report on the "GOP War on Voting" which, among many other important things, referenced the ridiculously close results from Ohio's GOP Presidential Primary last Tuesday as currently reported, and the fact that there are still a bunch of untallied votes there even today for some unknown reason. Her point in noting the slim margin is to underscore the very serious effect that new Republican voter-suppression laws are likely to have on not just the Presidential race this year, but also on State and local races as well.
But one of the items she does not note about Ohio's reported tally, and which I've been trying to get more information on since Tuesday night, is some of the actual reported numbers out of the U.S. House Primary race between progressive Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich. Their Congressional Districts were combined by the recent Republican redistricting there, so they were forced to face off in last Tuesday Democratic primary.
Kaptur reportedly won the race, according to the numbers posted on the Ohio Sec. of State's website. Those results, summarizing the numbers in each of the five districts which now make up Ohio's new 9th Congressional District, include these reported results out of Lucas County (Toledo):
Now Toledo is Kaptur's current district, so it might make sense for her to win a lopsided victory there. Kucinich reportedly won handily in his own Cuyahoga County district of Cleveland by a 72.5% to 24% margin.
But really? 94% to 3.7% over Kucinich in Lucas County? 22,269 votes to just 870 votes? Those are Saddam Hussein-like numbers. Are they even plausible? I've been trying to learn more and would certainly welcome any input from folks who know the politics in that area of the state better than I do. If there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for those results, I'm certainly open to hearing it.
Unfortunately, all Lucas County voters are forced to vote on 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting machines on Election Day. So whatever the numbers really should have been will ultimately remain unknown, as it's strictly impossible to determine if even one vote, ever cast on any such voting machine, for any candidate or initiative on any ballot, in any election, has ever been recorded accurately as per any voter's intent.
Some 20 to 30% of voters across the nation will still be forced --- shamefully, even after all that we now know about these oft-failed, easily-hacked machines --- to cast their ballots on the very same and other similarly 100% unverifiable voting systems on Election Day during the 2012 Presidential Election.
Last night, Rachel Maddow ran an update on the GOP War on Voting. Her report included a number of items we've covered here recently --- such as the protest by former U.S. Marine Tim Thompson who refused to show a Photo ID when trying to vote under TN's new voter suppression law on Tuesday, the Wisconsin court ruling temporarily blocking the state's Photo ID restrictions after finding it likely violates the WI Constitution's "right to vote" clause.
Here's Maddow's full report...
Maddow also covers several stories that we haven't been able to cover at The BRAD BLOG yet. Among them, the new Photo ID restriction law that was passed yesterday in the Pennsylvania Senate and is likely to become law, if not stopped somehow, this November. As Pennsylvania is not one of the "covered jurisdictions" subject to preclearance of new election laws by Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, it would be another excellent candidate, like the one in Wisconsin, for challenge by the DoJ under Section 2 of that act, as our own legal analyst Ernie Canning persuasively argued recently.
Another story in Maddow's otherwise excellent report, however, is the one about the 86-year old WWII Vet in Ohio who was unable to vote on a normal ballot Tuesday, because his Veteran's ID didn't have his address on it. According to the The Plain Dealer's coverage:
“I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country.”
It's a horrible story, but on this one, Maddow appears to have been in slight error in her coverage...
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