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ALSO: Voting Machine, Registration Roll Problems Reported to National Election Protection Hotline...
By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2008 1:37pm PT  

The non-partisan Election Protection coalition offers a mid-day press release detailing some of the problems being reported to their 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline today from both Indiana and North Carolina.

The Supreme Court's recent, outrageous approval of Indiana's restrictive and disenfranchising Photo ID law --- better described as their Voter Suppression Act, despite Scalia's claim that "the burden at issue is minimal," to him, anyway --- is already "working" to disenfranchise legal voters, denying them their right to cast ballots like everyone else.

According to EP, it's not just veterans, elderly, and minorities who are being affected by the ruling, so are young voters and, yes, nuns, who have reportedly already been disenfranchised today under the Republican law...

This morning, in South Bend, Indiana, a freshman student at St. Mary's College, excited to vote for the first time, left the polling place in tears because she only possessed a private college ID and was unable to vote. The poll workers, nuns at a local convent, were trying to help the young student through her problem. While they were helping her, they realized that some of their fellow nuns, who had just arrived at the polling place, also could not vote because of the photo ID law. Not only was this group of nuns disenfranchised, but so would be four floors of retired nuns in their convent.

Remember, the law was upheld by the Supremes just last week, despite Indiana's inability to point to a single instance of in-person, polling place, voter impersonation fraud (the type of "voter fraud" the law was purportedly meant to deter) in the entire history of the state.

UPDATE: Brad Jacobson has more on the dangerous "roaming pack of octogenarian and nonagenarian hooligans [nuns, who] attempted to exercise their right to vote," including one of them, a clearly-up-to-no-good, 98 year-old, trouble maker who Catholic Antonin Scalia and friends don't believe deserves the right to cast a ballot.

Additional updates at the end of this article, including details on the evil nuns, a newly married woman, and more disenfranchised students.

Milwaukee Magazine's Bruce Murphy notes today that if a study recently done in Wisconsin correlates to numbers in Indiana, as many as 620,000 citizens in the Hoosier State might lack the Photo ID needed to cast votes there. That, even as the state downplayed the numbers in the SCOTUS case, arguing that there were only 43,000 such voters there. The authors of the WI study were unable to check the same numbers in Indiana, because "the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles would not provide the data needed to do the study," reports Murphy.

EP's news release goes on to list a number of other incidents being reported (if not yet by the corporate media) so far during voting today in IN and NC both, including multiple reports of voting machines problems; paper ballots not being offered to voters when machines go down; registered Independent voters being disallowed from voting in either party's primary; or voters being given Republican ballots when they believed they were registered as Democrats.

A few of the specific incidents as reported by EP so far, (which we post along with the usual caveat that frequently the most serious concerns do not come to light, if ever, until the days and weeks following such e-elections) include, from Indiana...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




ALSO: Unverifiable, Decertified, Virus-Prone, Failed E-Voting Systems Set for Use in Hoosier State Primary Tomorrow...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2008 1:23pm PT  

[Ed Note: Please see the update at the bottom of this article, for the state's explanation concerning the 1.1 million voter records discussed in the following.]

The Republican War on Voting continues apace.

In addition to the recent, outrageously bad decision by the Supreme Court to approve Indiana's draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions, sure to keep thousands of legal voters from even being able to cast votes in tomorrow's important Primary Election --- despite the state's inability to offer up a single instance of in-person polling place voter impersonation that's ever occurred during the state's entire history (as we've covered here, here and here, for example) --- another 1.1 million voters have now been purged from the voting rolls altogether, reports Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, as based on the Hoosier State's own data.

Moreover, the state will use unverifiable touch-screen style voting systems across the state. One widely used system, made by MicroVote, will be used despite having been decertified, and two other systems, made by ES&S and Diebold, have been found vulnerable to undetectable vote-flipping viruses by several reputable universities.

According to Harris' report...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2008 8:05pm PT  

Couldn't find many more on this topic this week. Guess ensuring that legal voters can actually cast their ballot this November isn't all that important. On the other hand, there are dozens of toons this week about that guy who said some stuff and who also happens to know someone that's running for President (to paraphrase Jon Stewart on the Rev. Wright nonsense).




Why Do Republicans Hate our Troops? And the U.S. Constitution?
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2008 11:54am PT  

As I've been trying to help people understand, this Indiana polling place Photo ID restriction law, as upheld last week by the Supreme Court, is so much worse than most folks realize right now.

It is, as previously predicted, already beginning to spread like wildfire to other states, such as Missouri, where the Republicans control both legislature and state house, and where even a few thousand legal Democratic votes, shaved cynically off of the results in places like the city of St. Louis next November, can be the difference between the state going "red" instead of "blue."

The following remarkable tale of a U.S. Army vet who has fought in three conflicts for our country, and who has won multiple medals for his service, including two bronze stars, purple heart, etc., who has been registered to vote since 1968, but who is now having a helluva time being able to cast a ballot in Indiana, will likely become all too typical now. The report comes from from the Nuvo weekly in the Hoosier state, and was sent in by BRAD BLOG reader "RC."

It is absolutely maddening, at least to those of us who give a damn about American values, such as democracy, the U.S. Constitution, patriotism, love of country, etc., so it may mean little to the vast majority of Republicans out there today. Please, at least, read the lede to the story below and --- if you're a Republican who supports this anti-American bullshit --- please let us know, in comments, why why this sort of treatment of our troops is okay with you. All of this, despite Indiana's own admission during the SCOTUS hearing, that there has never been, in the state's entire history, a single known instance of polling place voter impersonation fraud of the type this law is supposedly meant to keep from happening...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2008 11:49pm PT  

I just finished a very lively late-night hour (actually 26 minutes with all the commercials removed, you're welcome) on San Francisco's KGO with Christine Craft. The discussion concerned the Supreme Court's outrageous ruling in the Indiana Photo ID restriction case, and my article yesterday detailing how difficult it now is to vote in Indiana if you don't happen to have one. Rights shmights.

The audio features plenty of wingnut callers who just don't get it, demonstrating why it's so damned difficult to fight off this out-and-out GOP voter suppression scam/assault on your democracy and Constitution. If it's this difficult in "liberal" SF (albeit, on "conservative" KGO), this nation is in big trouble. And, if the articles from the last few days here haven't made that clear, we are. Big time. This November is gonna be a nightmare. Big time.

Give it a listen. If only for the clueless callers and chickenshit racist emailers (MP3 Download, 26 mins)

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By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2008 12:45pm PT  

Media Bloodhound nails the latest corporate mainstream media disgrace. This time, courtesy of NBC's Brian Williams, and Dick Cheney's longtime former protégé turned NBC News "reporter" Pete Williams...

Last night, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams allotted eighty seconds to yesterday's momentous Supreme Court ruling that there's nothing unconstitutional with Indiana's law requiring a photo ID to vote. Meanwhile, during the same broadcast, it spent over two minutes on the concern caused by photos of teen star Miley Cyrus in Vanity Fair.

That would be embarrassing enough for a news organization purporting to be credible.

But earlier in the day on the Nightly News blog The Daily Nightly, anchor and managing editor Brian Williams (in a post titled "What Times Is It?") actually took The New York Times to task for publishing puff pieces.

Well, at least Williams covered the outrageously anti-Constitutional Supreme Court decision, sure to disenfranchise thousands, if not millions, of voters, right? Even if only for 80 seconds. But, as it turns out, no coverage would have been preferable to Williams' unfair, unbalanced (and inaccurate) coverage...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Polling Place Photo ID Restrictions in Indiana Upheld by SCOTUS in Courageous and Historic Dredd Scott-like Decision
But Why Stop at Keeping Black and Elderly Fraudsters from Stealing Elections?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2008 3:22pm PT  

As the great voting rights advocate, Rush Limbaugh, trumpeted at the beginning of his radio show this morning, today's 6 to 3 Supreme Court ruling allowing new, modern restrictions regarding which citizens may or may not cast votes at American polling places on Election Day, is "a huge, huge, huge move forward to undercut Democrat efforts to commit voter fraud this fall."

Fortunately, instead of coming in June as expected, this decision on an Indiana Photo ID restriction case comes just in time to prevent massive voter fraud at the polls in Indiana's Democratic Primary two weeks from now, when millions of fraudulent Democratic voters were almost certainly plotting to try and show up to vote on electronic voting systems on which it's impossible to prove one way or another whether they did or didn't vote the way the machines will tell us they did. With voting systems like those in use across the Hoosier State, and elsewhere around the country, it's all the more reason to ensure those Democrats can't show up and commit the fraud they were probably planning to engage in on May 6th!

The news is certainly the most important SCOTUS decision pertaining to elections since the triumphant, well-considered, and much-beloved Bush v. Gore decision of 2000. Today's verdict will undoubtedly be heralded and taught at American institutions of learning for decades to come, with the same reverence as that dedicated to landmark Supreme Court decisions like 1857's Dredd Scott v. Sandford ruling, which thankfully found that "people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants --- whether or not they were slaves --- could never be citizens of the United States, and that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories."

The Supremes have done it again! But no such important American political battle like that which was won today is ever fought alone. Due thanks must go to the long-fought efforts of countable simple citizens around our nation, concerned about the integrity of voting. We'd be remiss without noting some of the selfless freedom fighters who helped make today's great news a reality: Courageous, unheralded voices, such as those of "longtime advocate of voter rights" and Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, tireless Republican "voter fraud" information-wareness man John Fund, and Bush-appointed DoJ Civil Rights Division guardians of the ballot box, like Hans von Spakovsky, Bradley Schlozman and its former Voting Section chief, John "Minorities Die First" Tanner.

Thanks to brave men like them, and Mr. Limbaugh, of course, it'll be a new day at the polling place this fall! One in which, if Republicans legislators around the country hurry up and get on the anti-voter fraud ball, they can assure that millions of Democratic-leaning citizens won't be fraudulently mistaken for actual voters when they show up at their polling places this November.

But are restrictions that may keep just blacks and the elderly from casting a ballot enough to ensure the true integrity of our vote? Shouldn't we keep fighting to ensure that legitimate voters like you and me don't have our voices diluted by even more fraudulent groups out there, like gays, communists, and dead people, who every year change the results of election after election through their insidious anti-American efforts, because I say they do?

Read on for a couple of new ideas. Clearly, today's SCOTUS decision is a good start, but it hardly goes far enough to ensure that the right American voices are heard, as our founders intended! 14th Amendment, equal protection, blah, blah, blah, my ass!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




VIDEO UPDATE: U.S. Named One of 'Top Five' Executioners with China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia; Bush Kids Around With Pope: 'All human life is sacred'
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2008 10:51pm PT  

Speaking of perverse discordance on the same day the Pope was serenaded with "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the White House (where Bush told him he gave an "awesome speech!"), the Supreme Court found that state-sponsored executions by lethal injection were just fine and dandy, as far as the U.S. Constitution was concerned.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the most common method of lethal injection used to execute condemned prisoners is constitutional, a decision sure to restart the nation's dormant death chambers.
...
"Simply because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of 'objectively intolerable risk of harm' that qualifies as cruel and unusual," wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Roberts, of course, is Catholic. As are a total of 5 of the 9 justices now on the bench, 7 of whom gave the thumbs up to the continued use of a three-drug cocktail in order to kill citizens convicted of capital crimes. That, despite plaintiffs arguments that "if the first drug does not work, the second induces a 'terrifying, conscious paralysis' and the third causes an 'excruciating burning pain as it courses through the veins.'"

Of course, the Catholic Church strongly opposes all such state-sponsored executions. Yet all 5 of the Catholic justices joined the majority decision to end a temporary national moratorium on state-sponsored killing of criminals. All on the very same day the Pope came to D.C.

You'll forgive us then, if we see something --- yes --- perversely discordant in that. Again.


UPDATE 4/17/08: This morning, Democracy Now covered the Supremes' end to the de facto Death Penality Moratorium, noting that "the decision came one day after Amnesty International named the United States one of the top five executioners in the world, along with China, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia."

Couldn't be prouder to be in such fine company. Good luck finding that AI stat --- reporting that of the 1200 people executed by governments last year, 88% of them occurred in those five countries alone --- in the American corporate media today.

No doubt, George W. Bush feels equally proud, even if we're not yet #1 in that area. And even though he said yesterday to the Pope, during the WH ceremony, as our own Alan Breslauer notes in the perversely discordant :38 second video at right: "In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred."

Bush was, of course, just kidding.




By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2008 9:10am PT  

As Pope Benedict XVI was met with a resplendent ceremony on the White House lawn this morning, George W. Bush noted the visit would remind Americans to "distinguish between simple right and wrong."

"We need your message to reject this dictatorship of relativism," Bush said.

Is it just us? Or, given the news of late, concerning meetings in the White House to discuss what kind of torture America would officially carry out, isn't there something perversely discordant in Bush's remarks?

The Pope, who is celebrating his 81st birthday today, gave a few of his own remarks in turn (to which Bush replied "awesome speech") before being serenaded with a rousing rendition of "Battle Hymn of the Republic", as performed by a U.S. military choir.

Is it just us? Or is there something perversely discordant in that, too?

UPDATE: As is to help shore up our point, Rush Limbaugh positively gushed (full transcript here) for most of the first hour of his show today about the performance of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the WH ceremony today...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Rep. Vern Ehlers Steps Briefly Off the Reservation at Recent Congressional Hearing, as Election Integrity Advocates Condemn the Privatization and Outsourcing of America's Electoral System
VoterAction's John Bonifaz Testifies: 'Growing Influence by Private Companies in How We Conduct Elections Puts Democracy at Serious Risk'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2008 8:05pm PT  


Last week our friends, voting rights attorney John Bonifaz of VoterAction.org and Greg Moore of the NAACP National Voter Fund, testified at a U.S. House Administrative Committee hearing on the 2008 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses and "What we've learned so far."

What we've learned, as Bonifaz explained in his opening statement (written version here [PDF], full video at the end of this article) is that "jurisdictions across the country are increasingly outsourcing, to private vendors, key election functions, and in the process, compromising the transparency and public control of our elections."

While all of that is likely old hat, by now, to readers of The BRAD BLOG, where our hair has been on fire about same for many years now, there was an interesting moment during the Q&A with a Republican congressman and panelists Moore and Bonifaz, as seen in the very short exchange (just under two minutes) in the video clip posted above left.

The Congressman --- at least momentarily --- stepped off the GOP reservation, to admit that the private corporations that fail in their outsourced election duties "should be fired"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Says Bush Ran 'Premeditated, Carefully Orchestrated Torture Program'
Constitutional Attorney Jonathon Turley Tells MSNBC Congress Refuses To Investigate Because They 'Do Not Want to Deal With That Fact'
By Alan Breslauer on 4/3/2008 6:21pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Jonathan Turley: It really is amazing because Congress, including the Democrats, have avoided any type of investigation into torture because they do not want to deal with the fact that the President ordered war crimes. But evidence keeps on coming out - the only thing we don’t have is a group picture with a detainee attached to electrical wires. I mean every time we see more evidence we have more and more high ranking people at the scene of this crime. And what you get from this is that this was a premeditated and carefully orchestrated torture program. Not torture, but a torture program.





By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2008 2:11pm PT  

Is this your America?

The long saught DoJ "Torture Memo" written by John Yoo, offering a defense to George W. Bush and his sadistic friends to order the torture, and even killing, of detainees, has finally been made available. Not by the DoJ to Congress as they'd long sought, but to the ACLU via a FOIA request. (Thank you, ACLU!)

Yoo's document is some 80 pages long, offering what he feels --- or what the Administration wanted him to feel --- is a reasonable legal defense for the use of torture, even where it is explicitly disallowed by international treaties to which the U.S. has signed on.

Paul Kiel at TPMMuckraker, who offers his own summary on all of this, has posted one of the more remarkable sections here.

In short, that 7-page section amounts to:

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Univ. of Missouri's Jeffrey Milyo Can't Recall Name of Thor's ACVR-Funded Group That Funded His Photo ID/Indiana Study
'An organization called the Center for Ethics Research, or Something Like That,' Says Academic When Asked Who Gave Him Grant Money...
By Howard Beale on 3/13/2008 1:05pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Howard Beale of Fired Up! Missouri...

Thor Hearne and his phony White House/GOP "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) front group may be officially disbanded, but that simply means their still mysteriously-funded, tax-exempt scam to push for disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at polling places around the country continues beneath the radar and by occasionally different names. Same anti-democracy thugs. Same money. A few less discredited (so far) names.

One of those names was front and center yesterday during a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, as the huckster Hearne could be heard faintly in the distance, still pulling the strings.

When the U.S. Senate's Committee on Rules and Administration held a hearing yesterday to discuss whether Photo ID Voting Laws lead to disenfranchisement, University of Missouri academic Jeffrey Milyo was among those who were present to give testimony.

The primary reason for Milyo's inclusion in the panel was his recent publication of a study purporting to show that restrictive photo ID voting laws had no adverse effect on voter turnout in 2006 elections in Indiana. Never mind that voter turnout is not necessarily indicative of whether or not voters were disenfranchised by such laws or not. More to the point, for the moment, while Milyo's testimony poured forth easily for the committee when he was talking about his contention that Photo ID laws do not disenfranchise voters, he became less erudite when the simple question arose of how his research had been funded.

There was good reason for his sudden hemming and hawing...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




'We will not fear anymore'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2008 10:35pm PT  


(Deddicated to Dredd)




Republican Vote Suppression Scheme, Said to be 'Most Important Voting Rights Case Since Bush v. Gore' to be Judged by Republican Supreme Court
[UPDATE: USA Today Allows Discredited GOP Vote Suppressor, Con Man, Thor Hearne to Blog on Their Website in Reply!]
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2008 6:40pm PT  

In advance of Wednesday's hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court on the landmark case concerning the Republican Photo ID polling place restrictions in the state of Indiana, USA Today reports...

WASHINGTON — The League of Women Voters has tried to put names and faces on the people who could be hurt by a strict Indiana voter-identification law that the Supreme Court will take up Wednesday.

The league, in a court filing, refers to Mary Wayne Montgomery Eble, 92, who had no driver's license or ready access to the birth certificate she needed to get an alternative ID.

Ray Wardell, a stroke victim, made one trip to a state office for an alternative ID in vain. He did not have the proper document and returned home on foot with the aid of his walker.

Kim Tilman, a mother of seven whose husband, a janitor, is the family's sole source of income, found it would cost $26-$50 to round up the necessary papers for a proper ID.

The league is among the groups backing Indiana challengers to the law who say it impinges on the right to vote and mostly hurts elderly, disabled, poor and minority voters. A Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure in 2005.

Backers of the law have been unable to cite a single case of "voter fraud", apparently in Indiana history, that would have been prevented by this law, which is, as BRAD BLOG readers know well by now, meant to do little more than keep as many Democratic-leaning voters from being able to exercise their right to cast a legal vote in an election.

UPDATE 1/8/08: Where USA Today did themselves proud with the article linked above, they did themselves in by giving space to discredited GOP operative, snake-oil salesman, vote suppression front man, Thor Hearne to blog in reply. Hearne shouldn't be allowed outside of a jail cell, much less allowed to post his lies, disinformation and propaganda with impunity at USA Today. And I've said as much in the comments section (typos and all, in my middle-of-the-night, outraged response) below his blog item at the newspaper's website.

It's incredible that USA Today did not note Hearne's dozens of conflicts of interest with the very item he wrote on their pages. As to Hearne, it would hardly be the first time this conman has slid by without telling the truth about who he actually is.

Shame on USA Today. If readers here are unaware who and what Thor Hearne is, see our years long special coverage on him and the GOP propaganda scam he has been running right here: www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.




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