The BRAD BLOG Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! 2015-01-30T21:42:58Z Copyright 2015 WordPress Brad Friedman <![CDATA['True the Vote' Founder Says She's 'Not a Victim', Just Subject of U.S. Government 'Inquisition']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11027 2015-01-30T14:03:29Z 2015-01-30T14:03:29Z Election Irregularities Texas Election Fraud Photo ID Laws Accountability Dept. of Justice FBI U.S. Senate Republicans Eric Holder 'Tea Party' IRS True the Vote Loretta Lynch "I am not a victim," Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the Rightwing voter suppression group calling themselves "True the Vote" told members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning. It was an odd turn of phrase given all that came before it in her testimony, both written and oral, at the confirmation hearings for U.S. Attorney General-nominee Loretta Lynch.

"I'm here today because I was targeted by the government for daring to speak out," the non-victim informed the Senators and those watching via C-Span at the very top of her remarks, much of which followed her written testimony [PDF] submitted in advance, and much of which did not. She is, she explained, just "one of thousands of Americans who have become living examples of a kind of trickle down tyranny that is actively endorsed by the current Administration and rigorously enforced by the Department of Justice."

"Over the years it has become clear to me that they don't just want True the Vote shut down, they want me broken," Engelbrecht wrote dramatically, but, for some reason, didn't say during her spoken testimony [video posted at the end of this article].

But, remember, she is "not a victim" at all. She is, on the other hand, the head of a wingnut Tea Party grifter organization which has, as we described in detail earlier this week, stepped on one rake after another since its ignominious appearance on the "voting rights" scene in 2010 when, in their introductory video, the group included a Photoshopped photo of an African-American woman holding a sign at a protest reading: "I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!" Another faked sign behind her head read "I'M WITH STUPID." (In actuality, as the original photos from a protest during the Presidential election theft in Florida in 2000 show, the woman's sign read: "DON'T MESS WITH OUR VOTES." The sign behind her had read "Gore/Lieberman 2000.")

During her testimony, Engelbrecht, after years of faking voter fraud statistics to try and help the GOP case for polling place Photo ID restrictions, even had the temerity to describe her organization as "a national non-profit initiative to protect voters' rights and promote election integrity."

Faking the truth seems to come easy to Engelbrecht and her group, as they've spent years attempting to intimidate voters at the polls under the guise of protecting against pretend Democratic "voter fraud". At the Senate hearing on Thursday, however, it was often what she didn't say during her oral testimony, as contrasted with her written testimony submitted beforehand, that may have been most revealing.

For some reason, for example, she --- or, perhaps a staffer on the new Republican-majority Senate committee --- must have thought it better not to discuss "pigment of skin" in polite company at the confirmation hearings for the first African-American woman to be nominated as the nation's chief law enforcement official. That part didn't make it into to Engelbrecht's spoken outrage...

Last September, when current AG Eric Holder announced his plans to resign after a successor was sworn in, True the Vote released a statement quoting Engelbrecht blasting what she described as the first African-American AG's "radical, racialist assault on voters' rights across America."

"Engelbrecht has called voter protection efforts 'race baiting,' an attempt to 'exact racial justice on their presumed enemies,' and even called Attorney General Holder's defense of the freedom to vote a 'radical, racialist assault on voting rights,'" ColorOfChange.org's Executive Director Rashad Robinson said prior to the hearings. "These remarks should prohibit her from testifying on an expert panel to confirm the first black female AG."

But the remarks didn't prohibit her from testifying. In fact, they arguably may have helped win Engelbrecht her ticket to be an "expert witness" in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, where, according to her written testimony, she was prepared to repeat the "radical, racialist" charge. That part, however, didn't make it into her oral testimony, it seems.

Engelbrecht --- "not a victim", remember --- spent the bulk of her time speaking to what she believes is a conspiracy by the federal government to destroy her. Since filing for a tax exemption as a supposed non-partisan, non-profit organization, she explained, the government has been relentless in its assault against her.

"Since those filings in 2010, my private businesses, my non-profit organizations, and I personally, have been subjected to more than fifteen instances of audit, inquiry, or investigation by federal agencies, including; the IRS, OSHA, ATF, and the FBI."

She didn't explain if any of those supposed inquiries and investigations (she described them as an "inquisition" during her oral testimony) had anything to do with the time True the Vote polling place observers were denied access to precincts by every member, both Republican and Democratic, of the Franklin County, Ohio Board of Elections after it was determined that the group had forged signatures on the permission forms. Or maybe federal authorities wanted to chat with Engelbrecht about the time the NAACP Houston branch accused the Houston-based TTV of having "attacked" volunteers for legally assisting disabled and elderly voters at the polls.

The NAACP was forced to release a statement about True the Vote, who they described as "a right wing extremist group", on Election Day 2012, after they said TTV's poll watchers attacked "volunteer poll monitors for handing out water to voters at Early Vote locations and for assisting Disabled and Elderly voters by standing in line for them or asking younger people in line to let the elderly and disabled go ahead of them in the line to vote."

Perhaps that was one of the reasons the FBI wanted to talk to Engelbrecht? She didn't mention that incident one way or another to the U.S. Senators via either written or oral testimony when she described the "government subterfuge" that has been unleashed against her.

Engelbrecht didn't tell the Senators, as she had prepared to in her written testimony, that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." Instead, she asked at that point in her remarks: "Is there the will to ever get to truth behind this nightmare of citizen targeting?"

Part of that "citizen targeting", no doubt, includes the time last year when revered, conservative, Reagan-appointed federal appeals court Judge Richard Posner described True the Vote's "evidence" of massive Democratic voter fraud as "downright goofy, if not paranoid."

While there is no evidence that Rightwing con-artist groups like True the Vote were targeted in some sort of criminal political conspiracy by Holder or Obama or the IRS (which should have targeted such scam operations, of any political bent, for taking advantage of the tax-code for partisan purposes), once Engelbrecht finished explaining her non-victim status as a victim of virtually every Executive Branch agency, she moved on to her real passion: pretend "voter fraud" and the fight to ensure some 20 million legally registered American voters lose their right to vote for the crime of not owning one of a handful of state-issued photo IDs that Republicans find acceptable for voting.

But with ACORN now out of business --- the community organization targeted for years by the Right, including Engelbrecht who decried them in TTV's introductory video, even as she was unable to cite any actual evidence of voter fraud by the group when we asked for it in 2010 (because none actually exists) --- "voter fraud" fraudsters need fresh villains. And Engelbrecht has found them in "illegal aliens" who are, apparently, "flooding" government agencies to register to vote.

Well, the depth of that "flood" may depend on whether one examines her written or oral testimony. The facts of the matter seem to have changed somewhat between the time Engelbrecht submitted her written version, when "Drivers License Offices" were "being flooded with new requests" by non-citizens "registering in droves" to vote, and the time the words actually came out of her mouth in the Senate hearing room, when the concern had subsided to only a "coming influx of illegal aliens"...

As written:

The most significant threat of voter disenfranchisement facing our country was made possible by Executive Amnesty. Drivers License Offices are being flooded with new requests. As a standard part of the program sign up, non-citizens are offered the opportunity to register to vote. And they are registering in droves.

As spoken:

The most significant threat of voter disenfranchisement facing our country was made possible by Executive Amnesty. States are not prepared to deal with the coming influx of illegal aliens wanting social service programs like medicaid, welfare and, of course, drivers licenses. Federal law requires that these programs offer voter registration opportunities --- which is a wonderful thing for American citizens --- but these programs were not designed to verify citizenship, leaving many states without the necessary firewalls to make sure that non-citizens do not end up as registered voters.

With the illegal alien voting situation somewhat less dire, apparently, than she had previously thought, perhaps the "complete chaos" she had also originally predicted --- or hoped to incite --- wasn't as appropriate for her closing remarks.

What she said, as seemingly ripped straight from the gullet of every Fox "News" pundit, was this:

If you remember nothing else from my comments, remember this --- I am not a coward, I am not a victim, I am a messenger for all of those Americans who love our country, love our fellow countrymen and pray for a better tomorrow. And I am here to say we are, right now, at the tipping point.
We have replaced rule of law with moral relativism. We have replaced truth with political correctness. And in all of the double-speak and double-think, we have become increasingly unsteady about how we the people factor in to a future left into the hands of our current leaders.

What she had originally planned to say, or warn, or threaten, as revealed in her written testimony, is this:

If you remember nothing else from my comments, remember this --- I am not a coward, I am not a victim, I am a messenger, and I am here to say we are, right now, at the tipping point. Who will this Committee entrust to protect the rights of all citizens? The wrong choice, and one more season of government stoked civil unrest, could well tip our country back into total apathy or forward into complete chaos.

So writes the messenger...Who is totally not a victim.

* * *

Engelbrecht's written testimony is here [PDF]. Her actual testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on 1/29/2015 follows below...

* * *

Previous coverage of True the Vote by The BRAD BLOG:

9/22/2010: "Houston Voting Machine Fire Update and Shouting 'Voter Fraud' in a Crowded Midterm Election"
11/6/2012: "True the Fraudsters: Rightwing 'True the Vote' Forged Pollwatcher Applications in Ohio"
11/6/2012: "Houston NAACP: 'True the Vote' 'Attacking' Volunteers for Giving Water to Voters in Line"
12/10/2012: "'True the Vote' Fakes the 'Voter Fraud'"
11/14/2013: "U.S. Government Opposes Motion By Right Wing 'True the Vote' to Intervene in TX Photo ID Case"
12/16/2013: "Federal Court Denies 'True the Vote' Attempt to Intervene in Texas Photo ID Restriction Law Case"
12/20/2013: "Disgraced Former Members of Bush Justice Department Challenge Order Denying 'True the Vote' Intervention in Texas Photo ID Case"
10/11/2014: "Reagan-Appointed Federal Judge Who Approved First Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent AGAINST Photo ID Voting Restrictions"
11/6/2014: "Rightwing 'Voter Integrity' Group 'True the Vote' Fails To Find Polling Place 'Voter Fraud' (Again)"
1/26/2015: "Senate Repubs Call Founder of Fake 'Voter Fraud' Group to Testify at Real AG Nomination Hearings"

* * *
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Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - January 29, 2015]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11026 2015-01-29T23:42:15Z 2015-01-29T23:42:15Z California Pennsylvania Environment U.S. Senate Barack Obama Republicans Green News Fracking Natural gas Coal Canada Nuclear power Oil U.K. Keystone XL Oceans India

 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: U.S. pipelines now rupturing faster than we can keep track of them; So, U.S. Senate passes Keystone XL bill with Dem help; Obama's India trip a boost for US nuclear industry; IMF calls for end to fossil fuel subsidies; PLUS: Some good news: fracking banned in Scotland, and great 'Fox News' for a change!... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
Embed:

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): It's not too late to stop climate change, and it'll be super-cheap; Americans are out of step with science on pretty much everything; Climate models don't over-predict warming; Big Utilties' 'Kodak Moment': a phase-change builds; Air pollution plunges in AL; Feds open waters to largest offshore wind farm; EPA sued over industrial livestock pollution... PLUS: Oceans on the verge of a 'mass bleaching event'... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[2-Vote Margin, 15 Rejected Legit Ballots, 1 Notorious Election Official: KPFK 'BradCast']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11025 2015-01-29T02:45:20Z 2015-01-29T02:45:20Z Election Irregularities Election 2004 Ohio California Election Reform BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Missouri Paper Ballots Legislation Photo ID Laws Accountability U.S. Senate San Diego Cuyahoga County Vote-by-Mail KPFK Election 2014 BradCast True the Vote Loretta Lynch If you were looking for a fresh reminder as to why Vote-by-Mail is a terrible idea, why provisional ballots are not the same as actually casting a vote, and why there needs to be more accountability for and oversight of election officials, today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio should fit the bill.

    In short, we cover the election contest now pending in the race for City Council (Seat 1) in the San Diego County city of Chula Vista, CA. The certified results from the November 2014 election show a 2-vote margin between the John McCann (R) and Steve Padilla (D) in a race with some 37,000 ballots cast. McCann has been certified as the "winner".

    Trouble is, according to the lawsuit [PDF], at least 15 mail-in and provisional ballots were rejected, even though the signatures on them matched the signatures from the voters' registrations on file. That, argues attorney John S. Moot (my guest this week, and a former Chula Vista City Council Member himself), is in violation of the law.

    The other trouble is, those ballots were rejected by San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu, who was the infamous Election Director of Cuyahoga County, Ohio's most populist (and most Democratic) county during the 2004 Presidential election, when two of his immediate subordinates were indicted and found guilty of rigging the Presidential "recount" in Cuyahoga. Yes, if you didn't know or don't remember, there was a partial "recount" of that election, across the entire Buckeye State, as requested by the Green and Libertarian Parties. And, yes, it was found to have been rigged in a court of law.

    Vu, who was protected at the time by the Republicans who ran the Cuyahoga Election Board, was never charged and was happily hired not long thereafter by San Diego County, where elections have been little more than a joke for many years, even before Vu got there.

    For the full story on this, listen to this week's show and Moot's commentary on the suit he's filed on behalf of his client, a long-time poll worker and voter from Chula Vista.

    ALSO on this week's program: Accountability, finally, for an election official elsewhere (in St. Louis County, MO), and the fake "voter fraud" activist set to testify at AG-nominee Loretta Lynch's very real U.S. Senate nomination proceedings. Plus, as usual, much more, including Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.

    Enjoy!...

    Download MP3 here or listen online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]


    ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Dinesh D'Stupid: 'Intellectual Wing of the Conservative Movement' On Global Warming]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11024 2015-01-28T21:30:53Z 2015-01-28T21:30:53Z Environment Climate change Dinesh D'Souza As our friend Digby noted after re-tweeting this genius/grifter/federal felon: "I just wanted to share some thoughts from the intellectual wing of the conservative movement"...

    I had retweeted him as well. With comment. Those comments, and one from an actual scientist, follow below...

    For a less snarky response, from actual climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, there's this...

    Since D'Souza, who the Rightwing regards as one of its smart ones, may have trouble with the scientific --- I mean "liberal" --- chart posted by Mann above, here's a hint: "DJF" on the bottom right globe stands for "December January February".


    ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[BMW Super Bowl Ad: 'What is Internet Anyway?']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11023 2015-01-28T19:08:47Z 2015-01-28T19:08:47Z Environment Green News Wind Transportation Prepping for today's BradCast (in which we'll be covering a fascinating election contest concerning a two vote margin, several questionably tossed provisional and mail-in ballots, and an election official with a notorious past), so I've only got time to pop this item very quickly for now.

    It's an upcoming SuperBowl ad for BMW. But it's very cute. And since Tesla has shamefully failed to donate an electric car to The BRAD BLOG's Green News Report despite years of persistent prodding (okay, begging), maybe its time we start kissing up to a totally different electronic car company by posting their commercial for free...

    [Hat-tip to far-too occasional BRAD BLOG contributor D.R. Tucker]


    ]]>
    Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - January 27, 2015]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11022 2015-01-27T23:47:47Z 2015-01-27T23:47:47Z West Virginia Alaska New York Environment Barack Obama Republicans Green News Lisa Murkowski Natural gas Oil Climate change Extreme weather Keystone XL Transportation

     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hits, misses and hype in a not-so-historic Blizzard 2015!; The influence of global warming on the storm, with a 100% chance of denial; U.S. Interior Dept. to expand offshore drilling, as another pipeline explodes in West Virginia; PLUS: Obama calls on Republicans to permanently protect the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

    Link:
    Embed:

    Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): We can solve climate change, but it won’t be cheap or easy; Study: Global warming 'doubles risk' of extreme weather; 10 predictions for clean energy in 2015; Greenland lakes speeding ice sheet melt; Obama and Modi agree to advance nuclear energy in India; Anadarko's record $5 billion settlement; PA fracking companies routinely violate environmental laws... PLUS: Fossil-fueled Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    • We can solve climate change, but it won’t be cheap or easy (Grist):
      Long story short, most decarbonization scenarios are thought experiments, not practical roadmaps. But when they are reported to the public, that distinction is often lost. More to the point, we are past the time when thought experiments are enough.
    • Study: Global warming 'doubles risk' of extreme weather (BBC):
      Extreme weather arising from a climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean will get much worse as the world warms, according to climate modelling....The latest data - based on detailed climate modelling work - suggests extreme La Nina events in the Pacific Ocean will almost double with global warming, from one in 23 years to one in 13 years.
    • Michael Liebreich: 10 predictions for clean energy in 2015 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance):
      Right now in the energy sector, everyone is transfixed by the big fight going on in the oil industry between conventional and unconventional production, OPEC vs non-OPEC, Saudi Arabia versus the frackers....The press, right now, is only interested in “dinosaur stories”. Welcome to 2015!
    • Fossil-fueled Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
      The massive financial goal was revealed to donors Monday during an annual winter meeting hosted by Freedom Partners, the tax-exempt business lobby that serves as the hub of the Koch-backed political operation, according to an attendee. The amount is more than double the $407 million that 17 allied groups in the network raised during the 2012 campaign.
    • Greenland Lakes Could be Speeding Ice Melt
      (Climate Crocks) [emphasis added]:

      As happens so often in science, Mike Willis wasn’t actually looking for what he ended up discovering. The glaciologist was combing through satellite and GPS data to see what small, local effects could be clouding satellite measurements of larger changes in Earth’s gravity from ice loss. What he did not expect to find was a hole twice the size of Central Park in a small ice cap in the northern reaches of Greenland.
    • India PM Modi’s Clean-Energy Goals Face Funding, Political Hurdles (Bloomberg) [emphasis added]:
      Following meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama in New Delhi, Modi said India, a nation with some of the dirtiest air in the world and 400 million people without access to electricity, is prepared to use renewable power to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The leaders also announced a breakthrough that may herald an expansion of carbon-free civilian nuclear projects.
    • Anadarko Pays Record $5.15 Billion Environmental Settlement (Environment News Service) [emphasis added]:
      “The Kerr-McGee Corporation spent decades despoiling our nation’s natural resources, leaving a toxic legacy for communities across the nation, from Sidney, New York, to the Navajo nation,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York. “Then, Kerr-McGee tried to escape the consequences of its misdeeds by transferring its most valuable assets to affiliates, leaving an insolvent shell behind, unable to pay its environmental liabilities,” said Bharara.
    • Pennsylvania Fracking Companies Regularly Commit Serious Environmental Violations (Climate Progress):
      [The report] found that the top 20 most frequently-violating companies broke the rules 1.5 times per day on average. “These violations are not ‘paperwork’ violations, but lapses that pose serious risks to workers, the environment and public health,” the report’s authors write.
    • Senate blocks measure to build Keystone XL pipeline; discussions will continue (Washington Post):
      Senate Democrats stalled the Republican-led push to construct the Keystone XL pipeline on Monday, dealing the first significant blow to the new GOP majority less than three weeks after it was sworn in.
    • VIDEO: Inside A Coal Ash Community That Can’t Use Its Tap Water (Cliamte Progress):
      Just this past summer, Gobble found out via tests from the group Waterkeeper Alliance that the water wells surrounding her home — including the one that provides her tap water — contain aluminum, chromium, lead, iron, manganese, and hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. Duke Energy, the company that owns the coal ash pond, has denied that the contamination is its doing.
    • VIDEO: New Senate Environment Chair Gets His Gavel, Goes On Rant Arguing Climate Science Is A Hoax (Climate Progress)
    • VIDEO: “..a Bloodbath”: Efficiency, Renewables and Smart Grid will Kill Old Energy (Climate Crocks):
      Not much doubt that everyone gets that we are transitioning to renewables, and soon. Obviously some spread in how fast they think it will happen.
    • Another Climate Denial Myth Scuttled as 2014 Confirmed Planet's Hottest Year Ever Recorded (The BRAD BLOG):
      How fossil-fueled global warming hoaxsters cherry-pick scientific data to con the incurious...


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Senate Repubs Call Founder of Fake 'Voter Fraud' Group to Testify at Real AG Nomination Hearings]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11021 2015-01-27T02:27:34Z 2015-01-27T02:27:34Z Photo ID Laws Accountability Dept. of Justice U.S. Senate Barack Obama Republicans ACORN 'Tea Party' True the Vote Loretta Lynch While it's amusing enough that former CBS News reporter Sharyl "BENGHAZI!!!" Attkisson has been scheduled by Republicans to appear at this week's Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, another "expert witness" called by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans is, arguably, even more absurd.

    Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the fraudulent Republican "voter fraud" group calling themselves True the Vote, is also scheduled to be called as a witness. Last September, as Dave Weigel notes at Bloomberg, when AG Eric Holder announced his intention to resign after a replacement was confirmed, Engelbrecht accused Holder of having carried out a "radical, racialist assault on voting rights."

    That's her opinion, of course, but for her own sake, given her group's hilarious track record of failure, prevarication and complete fabrication, the GOP may not want to force this woman to be sworn in before she testifies this week...

    True the Vote (TTV) and Engelbrecht have a short if storied history of utterly beclowning themselves. Over and over and over again.

    They first appeared on the Republican grifter scene in 2010, pretending to be a non-partisan, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) "election integrity" group. Their purpose, however, was quickly revealed as little more than an outfit set up to support the GOP push for polling place Photo ID restriction laws that serve to disproportionately disenfranchise poor, minority, student and elderly (read: Democratic-leaning) voters. That, despite the complete and total dearth of almost any actual polling place voter fraud that might be deterred by such GOP-supported voter suppression measures.

    It was unclear, when they first appeared, if Engelbrecht and her crew actually believed the horseshit they were selling about an epidemic of Democratic voter fraud at the polling place, or if they knew better, but didn't give a damn. In their inauspicious introductory video, TTV included the following photograph to underscore how "some people" are willing to cheat to win elections...

    Trouble is, the photo --- like the group itself, as we would subsequently learn (over and again) --- was a fake.

    "Here's the real photo," as we reported at the time, "and another one from the same series, taken at a protest in Florida following the 2000 election after tens of thousands of voters were incorrectly removed from the voting rolls by then Gov. Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State Katherine Harris, before voters were denied a full and fair count of the ballots by the U.S. Supreme Court"...


    At the time, Engelbrecht told The BRAD BLOG that the photo was included in their introductory video because it was "the subject of much speculation".

    She never responded to our follow-up queries asking for details about what the "speculation" was concerning the faked photograph, but TTV was subsequently embarrassed enough to remove the video in question and re-render it without the phony photo.

    "When it was brought to our attention that there were questions about the photo, we took it out," she told us at the time (before she then stopped replying to our emails). "It was added as a filler between personal testimonies of election fraud and its omission did not change whatsoever the message of the video."

    "The message of the video," as she described it, included, among other nonsense, commentary from Republican crackpot David Horowitz alleging all matter of evil-doing by supposed Democrats, such as the charge that "ACORN is a voter fraud machine." Naturally, the video included exactly zero evidence of ACORN having committed any voter fraud, no doubt, because, in fact, there is no such evidence of the now-defunct community organization ever having actually committed any. There is, however, pretty decent evidence --- as we demonstrated first-hand in 2012 --- that David Horowitz himself is an unapologetic liar.

    But TTV's failed introductory video turned out to be the least of their embarrassments. Since then, while the funding from Rightwing Koch-funded Tea Party organizations has poured in (even while they continue to use the claim of being non-partisan as a tax dodge), things have gone down hill for them as they've failed to find fraud in election after election and, sometimes, resort to just making shit up out of whole cloth.

    Last November, for example, when we covered their most recent failure to unearth any voter fraud (Democratic or otherwise) across the nation, "despite an army of monitors and a new smartphone app," we summarized the discredited "voter fraud" fraudsters this way...

    "True the Vote"...has, since its dubious inception, received and spent a fortune over the years tripping over its own wingnut feet to publish fake "voter fraud!" data, find itself tossed out of courts, harass legal voters attempting to cast legal votes, and otherwise make repeated jackasses of themselves by attempting to perpetuate the well-worn, but fact-shy Republican hoax that there is a massive Democratic voter fraud epidemic at our polls.

    TTV was made even more famous lately when they were cited, by name, by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Richard Posner, a very well-respected Reagan-appointed conservative jurist, in his recent opinion on Wisconsin's Photo ID voting law. In Posner's devastating, must-read dissent decrying such discriminatory laws, the most well-cited legal scholar of the 20th century, according to the Yale Law School's Journal of Legal Studies, described the group's "evidence" of voter impersonation fraud as "downright goofy, if not paranoid," citing "the nonexistent buses that according to the 'True the Vote' movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places" to illegally cast a ballot.

    The solution to the pretend problem that TTV lies to its followers about, is, of course, polling place Photo ID restrictions that, as Judge Lynn Adelman of the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin wrote in striking down that state's discriminatory, unconstitutional law after a full trial earlier this year, serve only to "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

    So the group's newest embarrassing failure to uncover virtually any "voter fraud" at the polling places it monitored in dozens of states during Tuesday's mid-term general elections --- with an army of righteous and disinformed civilian wingnuts armed with a brand-new smart phone app --- comes as little surprise. It is, however, kind of amusing...

    You can click here to find out what they actually did find at the polling places across the country last November, since it is pretty hilarious.

    One might think being described as "downright goofy, if not paranoid" by perhaps the Right's most revered, Reagan-appointed federal judge might disqualify someone from being called to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. But, of course, one might have thought that before today's Republican Party took control of the committee this year after gaining the majority when Democrats appear to have failed to carry out their notoriously ingenious voter fraud skills last November.

    So Engelbrecht will, for some reason, be called to testify by Republicans in the U.S. Senate at the otherwise very serious confirmation hearings for the next Attorney General of the United States. What, James O'Keefe in a pretend pimp suit wasn't available?

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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Sorry, Fox, But No 'News' Is Good News]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11019 2015-01-26T18:23:46Z 2015-01-26T18:23:46Z Fox 'News' SOTU Barack Obama There's a reason why we always refer to Fox "News" here with quotes around that second word. Simply put, they're not a news outlet, they're a Republican propaganda outlet. That's fine, but it ain't news. Looks like the White House may have finally developed their own quiet version of that, as noted by Shepard Smith following his pre-SOTU luncheon at the White House last week...

    In 2009, the White House took a bunch of push-back (and largely folded to it), when their Communications Director at the time told CNN: "What I think is fair to say about Fox --- and certainly it's the way we view it --- is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party. They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is."

    They were right (correct, I mean, if not necessarily politically wise), in calling out Fox back then for what they are, even as they publicly backed off the accurate assertion in the face of the usual outrage --- OUTRAGE! --- from the Fox "News" Stooge Brigade. They are no less correct now in dropping the word "News" when referring to Fox...even if it wasn't necessarily meant as a slight in this case. It just happens to be true. Sorry, Shep.

    [Hat-tip Blue Nation Review & @JillEBond on the Twitters.]


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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[It's BRAD BLOG's Eleventh Anniversary!]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11020 2015-01-25T15:35:28Z 2015-01-25T15:35:28Z BRAD BLOG The BRAD BLOG is now 11 years old! Seriously. And holy crap.

    I can't thank all of our readers enough --- not to mention all of our many content contributors over the years --- for all you've done to help support our work here over so many years.

    While 11 years is not as much of a milestone as, say, our 5th or 10th birthdays, it still kinda blows my mind as we head into our 12th year of non-stop, independent trouble-making and muckraking. Even as we do, of course, I still need your help as we continue to fight the sometimes-impossible odds of remaining completely independent of corporate or partisan or foundational control.

    So, if you can help us out with a Happy Anniversary present today, it'd be greatly appreciated! If you can afford to make that gift a monthly sustaining pledge, it is all the more appreciated as I continue to fight to figure out ways to afford to keep us going here. (Yes, I hate the fund raising even more than you do! Unfortunately, its a necessity, no matter how bad I am at it!) At any rate, my thanks for whatever you can do to help support us, whether that means donating, commenting, sharing links or simply taking action in some way on something that you've learned here. It all means a great deal. So, thank you. Very much. For all. --- Brad

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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Republicans Remove 'Civil, Human Rights' From Name of U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11018 2015-01-23T23:33:54Z 2015-01-23T23:33:54Z Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution John Conyers U.S. Senate Immigration Republicans Jeff Sessions While the specific names of U.S. Senate and House committees don't always foretell precisely what very specific areas they may oversee or regard as their own purview, the renaming of such a committee by its new chair, as is occasionally done at the start of a new session, particularly when control of the chamber changes hands from one party to another, can be very telling.

    I believe this may be one such instance where quite a bit can actually be read into the new name for what had previously been the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee's "Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights"...

    As reported by Dana Liebelson and Ryan J. Reilly of Huffington Post...

    WASHINGTON --- Senate Republicans revealed this week that they have eliminated the phrase "civil rights and human rights" from the title of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee charged with overseeing those issues.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) became chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this month and announced the members of the six subcommittees this week. With Grassley's announcement, the subcommittee formerly known as the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights suddenly became the Subcommittee on the Constitution.

    The new chairman of the newly named subcommittee is Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). His office confirmed that it made the switch.

    "We changed the name because the Constitution covers our most basic rights, including civil and human rights," said Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. "We will focus on these rights, along with other issues that fall under the broader umbrella of the Constitution."

    In his press release, Cornyn never used the phrase "civil rights" or "human rights." Instead, the release said he would be a "watchdog against unconstitutional overreach and will hold the Obama Administration accountable for its actions." Cornyn is an opponent of legislation that would restore federal oversight over some local and state election changes that were eliminated when the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

    Nancy Zirkin, executive VP at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights noticed the named change and described it as "discouraging".

    "Names matter. This, after all, is a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the implementation and enforcement of many of our most important civil rights laws," she told HuffPo in a statement Friday. "We only hope that this troubling name change doesn't foretell a heedless retreat on civil and human rights."

    Well, of course it foretells exactly that. Bank on it. Just as assuredly as hardline anti-immigration Senator Jeff Session (R-AL)'s new name for the Senate Judiciary committee's "Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security" foretells new plans (or lack thereof) for that committee.

    As HuffPo noted, Sessions has renamed that committee to the "Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest".

    What's in a name? In these cases --- particularly given what they've changed from and now to --- I'd say quite a bit. But, as they say, "elections have consequences". Hopefully all of those civil and human rights, not to mention refugees, all deliberately and ostentatiously thrown overboard by the U.S. Senate's new Republican regime, can hang on until January of 2017...


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