Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|More Special Coverages Pages...|
Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...
A few 'Tea Partiers' --- even in Georgia, of all places --- are finally beginning to discover how they've been had by the very corporate powers who helped create them in the first place. They're now joining forces with some of the folks, like the Sierra Club, who have been fighting for their best interests all along...
My only quibble with the otherwise not-horrible-at-all coverage by Fox "News" here, is their chyron on the bottom which reads: "Using Tea Party values to advance green energy". Well, perhaps we can forgive Fox needing to find some way to save face here, but wouldn't "Joining environmentalists to advance Tea Party values" have been equally as accurate, if not more so? Or "Tea Party joins environmentalist fight for free market competition", or some such?
[Hat-tip to too-infrequent BRAD BLOG contributor, D.R. Tucker.]
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Water wars in the U.S.; Bad year for butterflies; ExxonMobil fined (barely) for Yellowstone River pipeline spill; Russia stockpiles snow for the 2014 Winter Olympics; PLUS: Apple computers goes renewable ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World’s Most Powerful Private Supercomputer Won’t Cure Cancer, But Will Find Oil Super Fast; Ocean warming has accelerated in past 15 years; Scientists work to create fuel from CO2; Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss; Fracking companies win WY disclosure suit; IG: DOE mismanaged stimulus-backed climate program; Peru declares environmental state of emergency; Canada must leave tar sands in the ground: study ... PLUS: Trump trumped: Scottish government approves windfarm opposed by Donald Trump ... and much, MUCH more! ...
In "High Cost of Willfully Misinterpreting the 2nd Amendment" we touched upon the price the American people have paid in lives, injuries and grief, as measured against the extraordinary profits of U.S. small arms manufacturers whose domestic sales of increasingly sophisticated weapons, including the AR-15 and AK-47 styled assault rifles, similar to the one used in the mass shooting in Newton, CT last Friday, climbed to 14 million guns in 2009 alone --- greater than the total number possessed by 21 of the world's standing armies combined.
As the nation reels in the wake of the latest horror at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, it seems a worthwhile task to take a quick look at a partial history of mass shooting events in the U.S., starting with the 1966 University of Texas massacre so that we can take stock of what our nation's strange fascination with guns and ammo has truly wrought --- with increasing frequency since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: We're back! Obama wins and talks climate change, but will he --- can he --- deliver?; Grover Norquist vs. the Koch Bros.; Will US become the Saudi Arabia of oil?; PLUS: Superstorm Sandy was very expensive ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GA utility tries to muscle out solar startup; Forecast: drought and more drought; Chevron Refinery Fire: Chevron won't clean up; Bringing solar to military housing; Water Supply in a Warming World; Researchers Use Rust and Water to Store Solar Energy as Hydrogen; MRSA superbug found in US water treatment plants ... PLUS: CA's Cap-And-Trade System To Launch With First Pollution Permits Auction ... and much, MUCH more! ...
[This article has been cross-posted by Salon...]
Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as "uncertified 'experimental' software patches" being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties which service more than 4 million voters Buckeye State voters.
The story included a copy of the contract [PDF] between Republican Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted's office and ES&S, the nation's largest e-voting system manufacturer, for a new, last minute piece of software created to the custom specifications of the Sec. of State. The contract itself describes the software as "High-level enhancements to ES&S' election reporting software that extend beyond the current features and functionality of the software to facilitate a custom-developed State Election Results Reporting File."
A subsequent story at The Free Press the following day included text said to be from a November 1 memo sent from the OH SoS Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske to a number of state election officials confirming the use of the new, uncertified software on Ohio's tabulator systems. The memo claims that "its function is to aid in the reporting of results" by converting them "into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State's election night reporting system."
On Friday evening, at Huffington Post, journalist Art Levine followed up with a piece that, among other things, advanced the story by breaking the news that Fitrakis and his attorney Cliff Arnebeck were filing a lawsuit for an immediate injunction against Husted and ES&S to "halt the use of secretly installed, unauthorized 'experimental' software in 39 counties' tabulators". Levine also reported that Arnebeck had referred the matter to the Cincinnati FBI for criminal investigation of what the Ohio attorney describes as "a flagrant violation of the law."
[Update: Details and documents from that lawsuit now here...]
"Before you add new software, you need approval of a state board," says Arnebeck. "They are installing an uncertified, suspect software patch that interfaces between the county's vote tabulation equipment and state tabulators." Arnebeck's alarm is understandable.
Since the story initially broke, I've been trying to learn as much as I could about what is actually going on here. During that time, a few in the mainstream media have gotten wind of the story as well, including NBC News and CNN, and have been able to press Husted and other officials in his office into finally responding to the concerns publicly. The Ohio officials have attempted to downplay the concerns, though in doing so, they appear to have given misleading information which, at times, seems to conflict even with the contract itself.
I've also spoken to computer scientists and election integrity experts, in trying to make sense of all of this, though many of them seem to be scratching their heads as well. My own queries to the Sec. of State's office have gone unanswered, as had Fitrakis' and Bello's before they published their initial story, begging the question as to why, if this software is as benign as Ohio officials are suggesting, they didn't respond immediately to say as much. Furthermore, why did they keep the contract a secret? Why did they wait until just before the election to have this work done? And why did they feel it was appropriate to circumvent both federal and state testing and certification programs for the software in the bargain?
I'd like to have been able to learn much more before running anything on this at all, frankly. But the lack of time between now and Tuesday's election --- in which Ohio's results are universally believed to be key to determining the next President of the United States --- preclude that.
So, based on the information I've been able to glean so far, allow me to try to explain, in as simple terms as I can, what we current know and what we don't, and what the serious concerns are all about.
And, just to pre-respond to those supposed journalists who have shown a proclivity for reading comprehension issues, let me be clear: No, this does not mean I am charging that there is a conspiracy to rig or steal the Ohio election. While there certainly could be, if there is, I don't know about it, nor am I charging there is any such conspiracy at this time. The secretive, seemingly extra-legal way in which SoS Husted's office is going about whatever it is they are trying to do, however, at the very last minute before the election, along with the explanations they've given for it to date, and concerns about similar cases in the past, in both Ohio and elsewhere, are certainly cause for any reasonable skeptic or journalist to be suspect and investigate what could be going on. And so I am...
Well this item from Washington Posts' "The Fix" blog today is rather troubling. It seems the the media consortium which previously ran Exit Polls on Election Day --- the best indicator of fraud and failure in election results (as opposed to pre-election polling which is far less accurate) --- is being scrapped in some 19 states, for the very first time, in the upcoming Presidential Election...
Dan Merkle, director of elections for ABC News, and a member of the consortium that runs the exit poll, confirmed the shift Wednesday. The aim, he said, “is to still deliver a quality product in the most important states,” in the face of mounting survey costs.
The decision by the National Election Pool — a joint venture of the major television networks and The Associated Press — is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country.
Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
That would seem to be an invitation to fraud in those states, since Exit Polls have traditionally served as a helpful check and balance against fraudulent or simply inaccurate election results, particularly for the almost 100% unverified election results that the media now count on to report results in all 50 states. Those results come from often-failed, easily-manipulated computer tabulators used across the entire country.
This news is disturbing, as you probably already noticed, for a number of reasons...
Unless civil rights groups suing, incredibly enough, for the right of legal voters to cast their legal vote in Pennsylvania this year are successful in blocking the new GOP law, hundreds of thousands of voters --- of all parties, but disproportionately Democratic-leaning --- could be disenfranchised in the Keystone State alone this November, under the Republicans' new polling place Photo ID restriction.
Democrats now have to make sure voters are aware of the law, know whether they comply, know how to meet the requirements if they don't already - and do it all before Election Day. This could be a steep climb. Only one of five voters approached by TPM at Obama's Pittsburgh rally Friday knew the law existed.
"I heard about it in Florida but not here," said Martin Hoberman, a voter from the Pittsburgh area.
At the same time, AP reports today that based on its study of recent elections in Indiana, Georgia and Tennessee --- states where GOP-backed polling place Photo ID restrictions have already been in effect for some time --- "legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent."
That, of course, is the point.
As the AP story points out in its opening grafs, perfectly legal votes of Republican voters will also be tossed out (in the story they mention a 90-year old WWII veteran and his wife who had no idea their votes for Romney in this year's Indiana primary were never counted) along with the disenfranchisement of untold numbers who don't even bother to show up to vote at all because they don't own one of the very narrowly defined state-issued Photo IDs approved for use under these new voter suppression laws.
And, yes, when Republicans lose their right to vote, it pisses us off just as much as when Democrats lose their right to vote, even when it happens under voter suppression laws passed by Republicans.
We can think of little that is more blatantly and appallingly anti-American than what the GOP is now doing in hopes of purposely and systematically undermining the very core of democracy in this nation.
The mainstream media doesn't much seem to be noticing as they chew their cud over and over about Romney Bain this and Obama Birther that, in endlessly looped (non-)"news" cycles, but things are looking pretty good for supporters of Ron Paul these days.
At least in as much as the Paul folks seem to be doing one helluva job of deliberately taking over their party from the inside through a seemingly very smart and certainly persistent and definitely well-organized strategy of taking over local district, county and state party conventions (and even party executive positions), all while seeing to it that Paul delegates get nominated to the Republican National Convention in state after state in the bargain.
What will come of all of those delegates once we get to Tampa remains to be seen. But make no mistake, they will be there and in force, and likely not shy about exercising the same strong (small "d") democratic voice that got them there in the first place. Whether the corporate media has figured out that all of this is newsworthy yet is a different matter. (My bet is that it is.)
But while the persistence of the Ronulans may be paying off with both short and long term political dividends, the democratic process they are participating in itself is also seeing a number of victories, as evidenced by at least one comeuppance to GOP establishment types in the state of Georgia, where we now have a happy-ish ending to a story we reported on earlier this year.
The latest good news resulted in one of the players offering a remark we don't often hear from inside the Republican Party --- at least not by folks who mean it: "This decision re-affirms the party's commitment to fair, open and honest elections"...
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.
[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
Since taking power in statehouses across the nation in 2010, Republicans have been feverishly implementing new restrictions on democracy in advance of the 2012 Presidential election. A number of those laws, clearly --- and often deceptively --- designed to carve out blatant partisan advantage for the GOP next year, were examined during a recent hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The video of the hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot" can be viewed here.
This is the second of our two-part analysis of the hearing.
In Part 1, we covered the subcommittee's examination of new polling place photo ID restrictions designed to make it more difficult for lawfully registered (and disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters to cast their ballots at the precincts on Election Day. That issue --- which included some devastating cross-examination of long-time GOP "voter fraud" front-man Hans Von Spakovsky by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) --- was the first of three categories, as defined by committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) of new state voting laws covered in the hearings. All of the new voter suppression laws have been recently rammed through Republican-majority statehouses across the country.
In this concluding piece, we will cover the two additional categories examined: laws erecting barriers to the ability of individuals and non-partisan, non-governmental organizations to offer convenient registration for new voters and laws imposing significant reductions on early voting periods. Both are likely to restrict the number of voters able to cast their lawful vote in 2012 and, again, each is likely to disproportionately affect Democratic-leaning voters.
Finally, We'll also touch upon the status of legal challenges to these new laws by democracy proponents and challenges to the Voting Rights Act itself by operatives on the Right. Moreover, it's impossible to look at any of these issues without drawing inferences about what the combination of new laws in all three categories means, particularly in light of the fact that the models for these new laws were drafted by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.
The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, and a witness in the second three-member panel, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."
"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.
Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.
In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles made its decision less than three hours before Samuel David Crowe, 47, was to be executed, according to a spokeswoman for the state's prisons.
"After careful and exhaustive consideration of the requests, the board voted to grant clemency. The board voted to commute the sentence to life without parole," the parole board said.
In March 1988, Crowe killed store manager Joseph Pala during a robbery at the lumber company in Douglas County, west of Atlanta. Crowe, who had previously worked at the store, shot Pala three times with a pistol, beat him with a crowbar and a pot of paint.
Crowe pleaded guilty to armed robbery and murder and was sentenced to death the following year.
"David (Crowe) takes full responsibility for his crime and experiences profound remorse," according to Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, an advocacy group, who welcomed the board's decision.
The BRAD BLOG last night, after the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had denied clemency to a different prisoner:
In his last words, according to witnesses to the execution, Davis spoke to the family of Officer MacPhail in the front row, and told them again he was sorry for their loss, but that he was innocent, did not have a gun, and did not kill their "son, father, brother."
Other than the confessed murderer being spared, and the man who maintained his innocence for 20 years being killed, I wonder if the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles saw any other significant differences between the cases of Samuel David Crowe and Troy Anthony Davis.
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