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...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Drill-Baby-Drill and Frack-Baby-Frack: Obama talks energy in his State of the Union address --- featuring actual clean energy! --- while climate denier Republicans double down on dirty energy; PLUS: Speaking the forbidden words --- out loud! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Conoco profits jump 66%; 5 energy issues to watch for in tonight’s GOP debate in FL; WH pressured scientists to underestimate BP spill; State Dept: Don’t mess with us on Keystone; CO2 is “driving fish crazy”; NHTSA: 'Chevy Volt is safe'; Judge blocks health studies from mine permit; NASA animation charts modern global warming ... PLUS: Raiding the bread basket: use and abuse of the Mississippi River basin ... and much, MUCH more! ...
I think the expression captured on the face of House Speaker John Boehner in the photo above, taken during tonight's State of the Union Speech, is actually more accurately representative than the one of President Obama. Boehner appeared simply stultified at times during the presentation, and for very good reason...
The conventional wisdom is that Mitt Romney has been attempting to withhold his tax returns from public scrutiny so that we'll not learn just how small the percentage is that he pays on his enormous income (which is said to be largely reported as capital gains, and thus taxed at just 15%.)
But there's another interesting issue that could be revealed when he releases his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday, as promised.
Remember last June when little-known Republican candidate Fred Karger filed a complaint with the state of Massachusetts charging that Romney committed voter fraud by using the unfinished basement of his son's house in Belmont, MA as his address for voting purposes after he'd sold his own him there in 2008, rather than registering to vote at his $12.5 million ocean front home in La Jolla, California or at his $10 million compound in New Hampshire?
Voter registration fraud in MA is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to five years in jail. Residency requirements in MA are defined as "where a person dwells and which is the center of his domestic, social, and civil life." Yet, when Karger filed his complaint last Summer he noted that local residents in Belmont had told him at the time that the Romney's had "moved to California".
"I haven’t seen Mrs. Romney in over two years, and she used to come in here all the time," Karger says a local merchant told him. A member of the nearby Mormon Temple and Meetinghouse in Belmont, where Mitt and his wife Ann had attended weekly church services when they lived there, said she "hadn’t seen the Romneys since 2008."
If you don't recall all the specifics, here's our detailed coverage at the time, where the case didn't look good for Mittens, even while the state of Massachusetts seemed to be more interested in ignoring the allegations all together for some reason. The piece also includes details on some other recent apparent GOP voter fraud felons too.
What a difference two years and one brutally ugly, obscenely cash-based GOP Primary Election cycle makes. One wonders if even Republicans, at this point, are finally beginning to realize the problems wrought by the U.S. Supreme Court's infamousCitizens United decision two years ago yesterday.
If this Rasmussen poll can be believed, the Right-leaning polling firm now finds that 58% of Americans are calling for new campaign finance laws. That's up from three years earlier when, as ThinkProgress notes, a majority of the nation, according to the same polling firm, felt that it would be "good" if then-existing campaign finance laws were struck down by the court.
Well, they got their wish two years ago yesterday. Wonder how they feel about it now.
To mark yesterday’s somber and embarrassing anniversary, John Wellington Ennis, filmmaker of the wonderful, smart, insightful and often deftly amusing 2008 documentary FREE FOR ALL!: One Dude's Quest to Save Democracy, has another one on the way. The new one will focus on our now even-sorrier state of "democracy" in the long dark shadow of Citizens United. While the new feature-length film, Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes is due later this year, yesterday Ennis released a short documentary, based on some of the work he's done on that film, focusing on how Citizen's United came about, and what is has meant to the nation.
His new soulful short, Citizens United: How Did It Happen? follows below. I'm honored to say that I appear in it myself, but it's very good anyway. Ennis has a few additional thoughts on it all right here today. But, at the very least, you owe it to yourself to give his new short documentary below a look on this 2nd anniversary of the horrific SCOTUS decision that is actively undermining our absolutely most central values as a nation...
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By the way, The BRAD BLOG's 8th(!) anniversary is this Tuesday! Unfortunately, we have not been the recipient of secret millions from corporate "people" in the wake of Citizens United. In fact, we have never enjoyed either corporate or foundational support for our completely independent work here, and continue to rely almost solely on you, our readers, to keep going. We have survived this long, barely, thanks to you! But we desperately need your support to continue.
Please consider an 8th Birthday donation to The BRAD BLOG to help us continue our important work in what is guaranteed to be a long, ugly and difficult Election Year, when your help here is needed the most. Also quite welcome are sustaining monthly donations of any amount you choose! For that (or our snail mail address for olde tyme paper check contributions), please see the light blue box about halfway down the right sidebar of all of our pages. Anything you can offer is greatly appreciated! My sincere thanks in advance!
At the precise moment the polls closed across South Carolina tonight, with zero votes tallied by the 100% unverifiable e-voting systems the state forces voters to use on Election Day, all the news nets, save for CNN (which, in a short-lived moment of being responsible, thought it inappropriate to call the race with only 2 precincts actually reporting, so they waited until 3% were in before calling it), announced that Newt Gingrich was the "winner" of the all-important "First-in-the-South" 2012 Republican Primary.
Steven J. Dorst, however, posted the following shocking statement said to be from the South Carolina Election Commission disputing the news network's reported results which are based completely on the same Exit Polls they told us could not be relied upon after the Presidential Election in 2004 and the NH Primary Election in 2008...
The voting systems in use for the nation's first three all-important electoral contests in the 2012 primary --- from Iowa to New Hampshire to Saturday's South Carolina Primary --- go from pretty great to intolerably horrible. And then comes Florida, which deserves its very own special category, thereafter.
As of the "First-in-the-Nation" primary in New Hampshire, however, election transparency for voters and their ability to oversee their own elections began to disappear. While a lucky 10% of voters enjoyed hand-marked, publicly hand-counted paper ballots, the rest of the state's voters were allowed to vote on hand-marked paper ballots, but forced to tolerate secret tabulation on oft-failed, easily-manipulated Diebold optical-scan systems programmed by a company (LHS) with a history of criminal behavior and convictions. The results from those 90% of Granite State voters may have been tallied accurately by the Diebold op-scanners or, as seen in the disastrous 2008 Presidential Primary, not. Since NH doesn't bother to actually check to see if their machines tallied the hand-marked paper ballots correctly, we're unlikely to ever know if they did --- barring a recount request where, by then, the secure chain of custody of the paper ballots would be uncertain (to put it mildly.)
And now we come to the "First-in-the-South" Republican primary in South Carolina, where all evidence of how voters vote disappears entirely as the voters will be forced across the entire state to vote on easily-manipulated, oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems made by the nation's largest voting machine company, ES&S. When the machine-reported results are announced tomorrow night they will either be accurate or not. Either way, there will never be a way for anybody to know one way or the other as there will be nothing to prove how voters voted and nothing to "recount", even if anybody wanted to.
Appropriately enough, perhaps, Saturday's primary in the Palmetto State will offer 100% "faith-based" voting, since it will be scientifically impossible to prove that even a single vote for any candidate on the ballot has been recorded accurately by the ES&S iVotronic touch-screens as per any voter's intent. Known what we mean, Alvin Greene?...
At the end of a January 3rd's Caucus Night in Iowa, our headline, written initially when Rick Santorum was momentarily up over Romney by just 4 votes, was "Santorum 'Wins' Iowa, Everyone Else Doesn't". An hour or so after we'd called it a night, the Iowa GOP stepped forward to declare Romney, not Santorum, had actually "won" by a slim 8 votes out of some 122,000 cast.
Finally today, the GOP has been forced to admit that Santorum was indeed the winner. Though our headline three Tuesday's ago was just slightly more accurate than the GOP's declaration for Romney that night. In truth, there was another winner in Iowa: The Voters.
It took just over two weeks for the GOP to admit it, but the party's final reported results from the hand-marked paper ballots cast on January 3rd, hand-counted in front of the public on Election Night (cast by voters who were not turned away for lack of a state-issued Photo ID) are there to tell the tail of who really won the all-important "First-in-the-Nation" Iowa Caucuses. The GOP couldn't have successfully lied about it if they'd wanted to. Oh, they could have tried. In fact, they did as Iowa's GOP chair Matthew Strawn announced just after 1p ET "Congratulations to Governor Mitt Romney, winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses." And the corporate media would have gone along with them --- and, in fact, they did, ever since the GOP's attempted lie on Election Night --- but the truth would have always been there for the public to see nonetheless.
Nobody ever had to rest their faith on a single source, like a political party or a candidate or a voting machine company --- though the media was all too happy to do so before moving on to New Hampshire. There was always a transparent, overseeable, system of checks and balances --- just as our Constitution envisions for the nation's governance as a whole --- there to assure that self-governance had a fighting chance to be more than a bumper sticker slogan hauled out when convenient, ignored when not.
Because the Iowa GOP allowed the people to oversee the counting of their own election, right then and there at the caucus sites, before ballots were moved anywhere, it was next to impossible for them to successfully game the system --- just as Edward True had proven two nights after the Jan 3rd Caucuses.
And speaking of Edward True, the Republican Party of Iowa owes this man, this patriot, this Ron Paul supporter a huge apology...
As of today, I'm happy to say, my show on Pacifica Radio's KPFK here in Los Angeles has been expanded to a full hour. We made pretty good use of all of those minutes today, thanks in no small part to Rick Santorum (of all people) raising the issue of felon voting rights at Monday's GOP Presidential Debate in South Carolina. (And one heck of a largely unnoticed Freudian slip by Mitt Romney on that topic!)
P.P.S. Anybody wanna submit a suggestion for a cool logo for "The BradCast"? Happy to crowd source ideas, especially since you all actually came up with that name for the KPFK show in the first place! If so, here's a photo or two that may, or may not, come in handy.
Fed up with the hard-right's oligarchic, union busting agenda, on Tuesday, opponents of Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker (R) delivered a Recall petition to the state's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) containing more than one million signatures --- approximately 459,792 more than the 540,208 valid signatures required to trigger a statewide gubernatorial recall under WI law.
Those one million signatures are about to run into an attempted roadblock, however, courtesy of two questionable rulings by Republican Waukesha Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis in the Friends of Scott Walker vs. Brennan case.
The Judge's first questionable ruling was to deny the state Democratic Party's motion to intervene as defendants in the case. The second ruling, issued orally, also found in favor of the GOP, aspiring to force a significant delay in the process of validating signatures (and, therefore, the recall election itself) by shifting the statutory burden for challenging the validity of signatures from Walker to the G.A.B. That second ruling is in direct contradiction to decades of recall history in the Badger State and upends existing law --- a law that went unchallenged by Republicans previously, and worked rather well, even as recently as last year's recall elections of 6 GOP state Senators and 3 from the Democratic Party.
Both rulings, currently the subject of an appellate challenge by the Democrats, may border upon judicial misconduct by a partisan jurist with disturbing ties to a previous statewide scandal...
I admit it, I was skeptical they could even come up with the 540k they needed to trigger a recall election of the Republican anti-union Gov. Scott Walker in the Badger State, much less the 720k that was their goal. But they did. And then some. And then a whole lot more, actually.
Wisconsin Democrats announced Tuesday that they have collected over a million signatures to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker — nearly twice the 540,208 signatures, or 25 percent of the total votes in the previous election for governor, needed to trigger a new election.
The Dems are also submitting separate petitions for: Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (845,000 signatures, showing some amount of drop-off from the Walker papers, but still well above the same 540,208 threshold); State Sen. Pam Galloway; State Sen. Terry Moulton; State Sen. Van Wanggaard; and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (who was not originally a top target of the state party, but against whom the local Walker-recall organizers took the extra initiative).
They really must not like that Walker guy or something. Special kudos to Lori Compas of RecallFitz.com for taking the extra initiative to lead the effort to put Fitzgerald's job on the line as well. As noted above, the state Democratic Party hadn't targeted the Senate Majority Leader, who was thought to be in a safely Republican district. Compas felt otherwise and decided to take action on her own without the backing of the party. That action appears to have been wildly successful, so far. (I interviewed Compas on the Mike Malloy Show back in December just before Christmas. That interview is here.)
For his part, Walker said in response to the more-than-one-million of his constituents who want him fired: "I expect Wisconsin voters will stand with me and keep moving Wisconsin forward."
For my part, I'm deeply buried in a mess of a story in an entirely different state right now. So, for the moment, I'm happy to pass you on over to Kleefeld's coverage for more on what comes next in the process. Suffice to say, this busy year is going to be much busier than planned. For everybody.
According to a supposedly "legitimate" rightwing news outlet today, the evangelical protestant backers of Newt Gingrich are now accusing the Catholic supporters of Santorum of election fraud and actual voter fraud!
If they did, it would hardly be the first instance of actual election fraud in the GOP camp to rear its ugly head during the Republican primary process to date...
[Now UPDATED with tonight's nightmarish audio archives below! Enjoy!!!]
Mike has the night off! So we're back! Guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show on Friday the 13th! It's a Nightmare on Malloy Street!...
We'll be BradCasting all the horror LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
Scheduled tonight (so far):
YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE! Me! With three hours over our public airwaves to talk about Iowa, New Hampshire & South Carolina voting nightmares! The nightmare that is Election 2012! And other related and unrelated nightmares!
GRAEME ZIELINSKI, Spokesman from the Wisconsin state Democratic Party, with some late breaking news on the "Recall Scott Walker" effort in the Badger State!
PLUS! The fraud that is James O'Keefe; the "cold" War against Iran; the failure that is the NY Times; the GOP wants more corporate money in campaigns; and all the nightmares on your minds, via your calls over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Tonight's show was a NIGHTMARE! Don't believe me? You can now listen to the full show, sans commercials, in the archives posted below. (You can also read the nightmarish chat room archives below too!) Be afraid...Be very afraid!...
I am old enough to remember not only the civil rights movement but that, amongst all the Southern Jim Crow states, Mississippi had absolutely the worst reputation. It was the state where, in 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year old African-American from Chicago was lynched, burned and so badly mutilated his own mother couldn't recognize his corpse --- all because he whistled at a white woman (we'll spare you the horrific photo, but it's available here if you'd like to see it); where, in 1963, the NAACP's Medgar Evers was gunned down outside his home; where, in 1964, three civil rights workers attempting to register voters were lynched.
I have no doubt that the 83% of MS whites who, this past November, as we now learn in a new analysis, voted in favor of a state constitutional amendment that would mandate polling place photo ID restrictions as a prerequisite to voting --- as compared to more than 75% of non-whites who voted against polling place photo ID --- would vehemently deny their vote was racially motivated. They would do so even though African-Americans are more than three times more likely to lack photo IDs than whites and even though study-after-study has exposed the lie in the GOP's baseless claims that such laws are needed to prevent "voter fraud."
But I am also relatively certain that race played a role in the inability of so many of the children and grandchildren of formerly Jim Crow Mississippi to appreciate what it is that photo ID truly seeks to accomplish...
Just one quick update to our full dismantling of James O'Keefe's latest hoax video, this one purporting to show "voter fraud" in NH (as carried out by O'Keefe and his co-conspirators!). As ThinkProgress details today, the liberal Democrat Mayor of ... I mean, the conservative Republican Mayor of Manchester is now calling for O'Keefe and his pals to be "arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law"...
After James O'Keefe's latest video, released yesterday, featured individuals committing voter fraud during Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, two prominent Granite State officials are calling for their arrest and prosecution. Ted Gatsas, the Republican Mayor of Manchester, told the New Hampshire Union Leader, "They should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." Similarly, Nashua City Clerk Paul Bergeron told ThinkProgress by phone that what these individuals did "is a crime, regardless of what the intent might be. What they did was wrong." Bergeron said he hopes the case gets prosecuted because it "appears to be a violation of the state's wiretapping code for one thing, which is a Class B felony in New Hampshire, in addition to a possible violation election fraud."
TPM reports tonight that others are now piling on, furious at O'Keefe and calling for accountability. Moreover, as TPM's Ryan Reilly notes, O'Keefe's latest fund-raising plea touts that he received $50,000 from an unnamed "extremely generous funder," to create this two-bit "voter fraud" scam, and now he's asking for more to help float further projects and line his own pockets. As his ironically-named Project Veritias has somehow been approved as a tax-exempt, "non-partisan," non-profit 501(c)3, he'll have to disclose who that "generous" funder is eventually though it'll take a while. (Anybody wanna place some guesses what that is in the meantime? There are plenty of suspects here!) In the meantime, O'Keefe previously disclosed on his application for tax-exempt, non-profit status that his salary is scheduled at $120,000/year for heading the propaganda outfit.
Oh...and by the way. Please note that O'Keefe has been pimping yesterday's video as "part one of the Voter Fraud investigation" with a promise of "More to come!" Um, what do you suppose the odds are that "Part One" will prove to be the only part of this particular O'Keefe "investigation"?
And for those who like to do math, with 247,000 votes in the NH Republican primary, you'd need to recruit, persuade, and pay 2,470 different people, all over the state, to walk into polling places and impersonate dead persons.
Not an efficient (or in any way plausible) way to commit election fraud.
She goes on to point out that had those 2,470 different people been paid to commit felonies across the state, to vote on Election Day as "dead people" (assuming there are even enough recently deceased people who hadn't yet been removed from the voter rolls), the effort would have yielded, at best, a 1% tamper rate. Yes, that's just the way to defraud an election! Better to risk one person getting caught in a huge conspiracy, than simply paying off, say, one or two guys to remove legal voters from the voter rolls or change the results in the computer tabulators with just a few keystrokes or --- well, just institute polling place Photo ID restrictions and keep thousands of your opponents' legal voters from being able to cast a vote at all..."legally"!
Long ago discredited, federally convicted criminal, Rightwing con-artist, pretend journalist, and accomplished liar James O'Keefe is pimping another secretly-taped and selectively-edited video sure to be a sensation on Fox "News" and at other Republican propaganda venues. It purports to show several voters showing up at polling places during New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday and giving the names of recently deceased voters to poll workers before procuring ballots to vote under those names.
The video, about which O'Keefe lies on his own website, is certain to add more phony fuel to Republicans' long-unsupported claims that people are regularly impersonating dead people at the polling place in order to vote illegally, an allegation which has absolutely no evidence to support it. The aim of the video is clearly is to shore up GOP attempts to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions, meant to do little more than disenfranchise Democratic-leaning constituencies such as the elderly, minorities and student voters, under the fraudulent guise of curbing "voter fraud."
As New Hampshire does not require a Photo ID before one is allowed to cast a legal vote, O'Keefe uses the video to try and create the impression that voting under the name of a recently deceased person is both simple and regularly done. It isn't. But that's his scam this week.
As usual, O'Keefe's video looks as if it represents something that is damning. That's his stock in fraudulent trade, and that's usually more than enough to reinforce the biases of the incurious who've been long-brainwashed, through a well-organized and well-funded GOP effort, into believing that something Rightwingers say is happening certainly must be happening --- despite a dearth of evidence to show that it actually is happening.
At the Project Veritas site, O'Keefe lies about the video, claiming at the end of his short article accompanying it, that "the unedited videos from part one of the Voter Fraud investigation" have been made available as well. They haven't. He has lied about that. Again. Moreover, as several other sites reported on Wednesday, it's possible that O'Keefe and his band of merry fraudsters have also broken both federal and state laws.
But setting his various lies and possible criminal actions aside for now, let's first look at the supposedly "unedited" version of the videos O'Keefe offers up, and then I'll be happy to dismantle the underpinnings of this ruse below it...