On today's BradCast, a self-identified "establishment Republican" pushes back against Donald Trump's claims that the election will be "rigged", but goes on to deny that his own party has promoted the very "voter fraud" conspiracies that the Republican nominee is now exploiting. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]
Trump has been increasingly strident of late in his rhetoric charging that the election is being "rigged" by "large scale voter fraud" and more. As he does so, his supporters are using more and more violent rhetoric to describe "bloodshed" and even assassination should their candidate fail to win on November 8th. As a disturbing Boston Globe report noted over the weekend, it has now fallen to establishment GOPers to try and calm the increasingly dangerous waters.
Former New Hampshire GOP chairman Fergus Cullen, a self-described 'Never Trumper' who characterizes the increasingly violent rhetoric from Trump supporters as 'very scary', joins us today to rebut Trump's charges about fraud and decry threats of violence by his followers. "He's doing terrible damage to the Republican brand," Cullen says. "Even after he's defeated, he's going to be causing trouble for our party for quite awhile, probably, in terms of how it's identified in the eyes of millions of Americans."
"On election night when Donald Trump is defeated, he's going to have a really important choice. Does he say responsible things that are aimed at accepting the outcome and telling his supporters that they should accept the outcome as well. Or, does he in fact pour gasoline on a fire, and continue the rhetoric that he's been using in the last ten days?"
But later, in the course of our conversation, it took a very bizarre turn. Cullen went on to reject the very premise of the idea that the Republican Party bears some responsibility for the effectiveness of Trump's claims, given the party has loudly forwarded false claims of massive Democratic 'voter fraud', for political gain, for more than a decade. He doesn't think that has happened.
"I don't think there's any argument that, certainly, some Republicans do believe that voter fraud takes place on significant scale enough to affect elections. I don't think the party has been pushing that line," Cullen tells me. As you'll hear, and as you might expect, that notion took me by complete surprise during the conversation. He compares "various conspiracy theories out there" with those from "the black helicopter crowd" and UFO spotters, but says "please don't blame the party for institutionalizing this nonsense."
I remain as gobsmacked here as anyone who has ever spent more than 15 minutes reading The BRAD BLOG or has even watched Fox "News" for about the same amount of time. While I expected to disagree on a few points (including computer tabulators vs. hand-counts in NH, which we discussed as well) and while Cullen was very nice and very generous with his time in joining us today, I'm still stunned that he is actually denying the very existence of the years-long, very well-funded effort by the very top echelon of the national GOP meant to deceive the public about "voter fraud". (See this Special Coverage page and this one for just a tiny taste of their efforts and our decade plus coverage of it. Listen to the conversation and its follow-up segment on today's show for much more.)
Also today: A bit of good news for voters, as a federal court has once again smacked down the state of Florida, this time for a GOP-enacted scheme that would have unnecessarily rejected thousands of absentee ballots; Ohio's Republican Sec. of State continues to fight a federal court order to restore more than a million illegally purged voters to the rolls; And we cover a fresh spate of violent and political terror attacks and plots by Trump-supporting Rightwing extremists against Muslims and others.
And, finally, a few thoughts on the curious case of the weekend firebombing of a Republican Party campaign office in NC...
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Matthew Vadum will lie about anything he needs to in order to collect his wingnut welfare paychecks apparently. American values such as democracy be damned. It's partisan politics (and paychecks) at all costs.
That book, which he was kind enough to send us a copy of recently, is pitched on its cover and its publicity sheet as an exposé uncovering the truth behind the former four-decade old community organization who he describes as "Ballot Box Stuffers," "Urban Terrorists," and "Gangsters."
That his silly book fails to detail even a single ballot box "stuffed" by ACORN is little surprise. There exists no actual evidence, after all, of any illegal vote ever having been cast by any voter who was improperly registered by an ACORN worker. But this is all politics as usual to partisans like Vadum. So preposterous propaganda meant to directly undermine American democracy is merely all in a days work for dudes like him.
The same disingenuous "voter fraud" sleight-of-hand used in his book is once again recycled in his latest "news" article. Like his book, the article is meant to do little more than dishonestly reinforce support for reprehensible voter suppression laws that offer an advantage to Republicans at the ballot box. As Vadum knows, it's far easier for Republicans to "win" elections by keeping their opposition from being able to cast their legal votes --- and certainly easier than risking jail time by gaming electronic voting systems --- than it would be to actually garner popular support for their actual agenda. That's the game for which Vadum gets paid.
He's a rather silly man, and its child's play, naturally, to demonstrate, using his own words --- as we've been doing similarly for years with now-disgraced 'voter fraud' fraudsters like Hearne and Fund --- how Vadum knowingly lies to his constituency. But we guess it's necessary to do it one more time here with Vadum, if only to place it on the Internet record to help those who don't know about him or his pernicious scam, and how it's meant to mislead otherwise good folks with clever "voter fraud" rhetoric that represents the problem as something far different than what it actually is....
"Our campaign had an undeniable, unmistakable message," he told his supporters during his victory speech on Election Night, "and that message could be summed up in three words, three words which were on every one of our 4 billion highway signs: 'stop voter fraud.'"
"And now that clear message becomes transformed into a clear mandate," Kansas' Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach (R) told his fans that night, promising "significant reforms" to the state's election system. Answered with cheers in the Topeka ballroom Kobach promised: "We are gonna have Photo ID at the polls."
As he stated himself, Kobach's campaign was almost entirely built on the promise of putting a stop to the state's out-of-control (and also, non-existent, but ssshhh, don't tell anybody) "voter fraud" epidemic. But now that the election's over, he's having trouble identifying any actual instances of the horrible scourge he helped trick Republican voters into believing actually existed.
Talking Points Memo, who has done a bang-up job of keeping tabs on Kobach's duplicity over the past year, caught up with the SoS-elect yesterday after he spoke on a "civil rights" panel at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention and asked him how the hunt is going.
He, um, had trouble actually citing any evidence of voter fraud since, as of now, he "hadn't heard of any." "There have been a few cases where I've heard allegations of voter fraud," he says, "but we're just a few weeks out from the election."
No doubt, the evidence will come rolling in soon. The only question is will it come in before or after Kobach and his anti-democracy GOP cronies enact disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at the polling place, as promised, despite the fact that such laws have been shown time and again to keep millions of legal minority, elderly, and student (read: Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their ballots.
Here's TPM's short video interview with Kobach in which --- just in case you hadn't any doubt about the bankruptcy of his claims --- he also alludes to the long-discredited Rightwing scam-artist/"voter fraud" fraudster John Fund, whose book on "voter fraud" has, itself, been debunked as a fraud over and again...
-- Brad Friedman, from "Netroots Nation" in Las Vegas...
They keep pulling me back in. Had planned some travel and time off beginning this week, but the good Jeanne Devon (aka "AKMuckraker" of The Mudflats) tricked me into talked me into stopping by Netroots Nation, being held in Vegas this week, on my way outta Dodge. As Sin City was largely on our route outta town, and as I don't get many any opportunities to see the Alaska folks like her, Shannyn Moore, and dozens of others from around the country who I've known for years, but have never met in person, I figured why not stop in and both cover it a bit, and say hello to 'em all.
Have been doing so, and reporting some of it in various spurts via Twitter over the last 24. As I can get caught up over the next few days (the conference is ongoing through the weekend), I'll try to bring what I can here as well, as merited and/or newsworthy and/or amusing and/or interesting.
But after a late late night at Rio's Pai Gow tables with Jeanne, Shannyn, Mike Rogers of RAW STORY and BlogActive (he the "outer" of Larry Craig, and arguably my "blog father" as one of the earliest blogger supporters of this site) as well as various and sundry other progressive trouble makers, muckrakers and decidedly not professional gamblers, I'll have to start slow.
For the moment then, a quick recap of impressions, photos --- and even some news of sorts --- from yesterday, which included an unscheduled, somewhat hard-hitting radio interview with Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas on Nicole Sandler's Show (audio below) and some 30 minutes of my attempting to get answers --- on anything --- from the less-than-respectable rightwing "voter fraud" deceptionist John Fund of Wall Street Journal, Fox "News," and all places wingnut...
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), in the video at right, describes on the floor of the U.S. House this week what anyone paying attention already knows: how the "Rightwing Echo Chamber" works. He describes a completely false charge by Wall Street Journal's professional liar and GOP operative, John Fund, last November alleging --- with no basis whatsoever --- that Rep. Barney Frank (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would soon be introducing legislation for "universal voter registration."
Frank says, "It's a lie, it's a myth." But, he says, the "totally fictional allegation by John Fund with no basis whatsoever" was then picked up and reported as fact by the Washington Times, and naturally then repeated over the public's airwaves by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and on and on throughout the wingnut echosphere, as hoped. When Frank called Fund on it, he says, in a letter [PDF] and then by phone, Fund admitted he was in error, said he "told a few people" that he was wrong, but hadn't published any actual retraction.
"He's not only a liar, he's a coward," Frank accurately noted in his comments this week on the House floor. And here we had recently thought Fund was out of fresh lies.
But what Frank doesn't note in his comments above, is that the tactic described, as oft used by Fund and so many others on the Right, actually works very, very well...
The Wall Street Journal's cowardly liar and "voter fraud" fraudster John Fund appears to be running out of fresh "voter fraud" lies to feed to Fox "News" viewers. According to Media Matters today, in advance of tomorrow's gubernatorial election in New Jersey, expected to be a very close race, Fund appeared on Fox's Glenn Beck show and related an anecdote of supposed fraud now going on in the Hispanic community in Camden.
"People are going door to door in parts of Camden with Hispanics that don't have very much knowledge of English, and they're saying, 'We have a new way for you to vote, la nueva forma de votar; just fill out these papers.'"
Trouble is, the incident that Fund claims is going on right now actually happened in Philadelphia 16 years ago, as even Fund himself admitted in his own WSJ column published just hours before his appearance on Fox today...
In an unbylined Wall Street Journal editorial (why a liar and sore-loser like WSJ/GOP operative John Fund is so ashamed to put his name on his own writing we'll never know...okay, maybe we do), the once-respectable paper shamelessly asserts: "Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election."
In response, we'll associate ourselves with TPM's Eric Kleefeld's take on it, calling it "an essay that is so full of factual errors and distortions about what happened, it can drive you nuts if you'd spent countless hours following all the gritty details like I did."
But since the sore-losing, sour-grapes, tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists of the Wall Street Journal have taken the opportunity to propagandize the transparent Franken/Coleman election results by comparing them to the 2004 Washington state Gubernatorial race, where the Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire defeated Republican Dino Rossi during a long, sloppy post-election contest and court case, let's remind folks for the record, here in the reality-based community, what the judges in each case found in regard to the keyboard wingnut claims of "fraud"...
What's perhaps most interesting here is what isn't mentioned in this story, as written on the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" blog. First, here's their entire blog item...
The owner of a voter-registration company pleaded guilty Tuesday to voter-registration fraud, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Laguna Beach resident Mark Jacoby, who collects signatures for petition drives, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to three years' probation and 30 days of service with the California Department of Transportation.
Jacoby, owner of Young Political Majors, registered to vote at Los Angeles addresses that were not his own. State law requires petition circulators to be qualified voters. Jacoby will also be required to show proof he is registered at his correct address.
And what they didn't bother to mention in that story?...
For those following the nonsense being put forward by the GOP conspiracy theorists (such as Sean Hannity, Norm Coleman, RedState blog, PowerLine blog, and all their fact-free friends), David Brauer at MinnPost.com does a terrific job of debunking the whole "32 ballots driven around in an election director's car for days" nonsense.
They weren't driven around in her car, they weren't all votes for Franken, they weren't "lost" for days, and the claim, which is being used by the national GOP at their conspiracy theory "Minnesota Recount" site to prop up their unsubstantiated claims of a "stolen election," turns out (surprise surprise) to be entirely false...
Georgia has, again, had problems with their voter registration database. This time there were between 500 and 1000 voters, depending on reports, who were left standing in line for two hours while they waited for Fulton Co. officials to reestablish connection with the state’s computer system. This will be a huge problem on election day and may cause thousands of voters to give-up and go home. Let’s hope not.
I never imagined that I would find myself agreeing with anything that John Fund had to say but in our ‘Featured’ article Fund wrote one graf that gives me hope for the guy. He said, “Independent, nonpartisan groups, as well as candidates and parties, should be authorized to appoint poll watchers to observe the election and the vote tabulation. All vendors who supply voting machines and computer software should be required to undergo investigation for financial security and integrity. Clear rules for identifying what constitutes a vote and procedures for contesting an election result must be developed by each state”....
Well, that was fun. My first time on Fox. And I don't feel dirty at all! Hopefully, it'll not be my last. Hey, I was even honored to offer them a big scoop on air, in the form my very own "Fox News Alert", after which, I'm told, they ran the headline during top of the hour news and on the crawl. So we did some good, if only for that. You're welcome, Fox!
Host Julie Banderas asked me, kindly, near the end of the segment (video below), if I'd felt they'd been "fair and balanced" with me during the segment. I believe they were, which was much appreciated. Though I wish I had answered "Yes, you were, thanks. In this segment. And I hope you'll have me back to discuss the GOP's ACORN 'voter fraud' hoax, about which you guys have been anything but fair and balanced over the last week or two, and, in fact, dangerouslyunfair and unbalanced."
But, hey, ya can only fit so much into seven minutes. And I think I was able to get some good info in. You'll let me know. Here's the segment...
For those who've asked, yes, when I was booked I was told we'd most likely be discussing "voter fraud" issues, not housing crisis issues...
Late last week I had the "pleasure" of appearing on Tavis Smiley's public radio show, along with GOP "voter fraud" zealot and propagandist Hans von Spakovsky, about whom we've written quite a bit here over the years. The show was pre-taped last Thursday, ran over the weekend, and will continue to be available at Smiley's website throughout the week.
The audio discussion, which became rather heated at times, is posted at the end of this article.
In his introduction, Smiley credits von Spakovsky as being "from the Heritage Foundation." But in addition to being funded by those unapologetic Republicanists, it goes unnoted that vS, a former chair of the FEC, recess-appointed by Bush, then blocked by the Democrats in the Senate when his appointment came up again, was formerly embedded in the Bush DoJ's wholly-politicized Civil Rights Division voting section.
At the DoJ, he helped to deconstruct the beloved Voting Rights Act of 1965 by, among other things, pushing through polling place Photo ID restrictions in places such as Georgia, against the advice of just about every career employee in the division. (The law was later found to be an "unconstitutional day poll tax" by the courts, but ultimately allowed by a higher court, and still under challenge by Democrats in the state.) He was also instrumental in bringing phony "voter fraud" charges, such as those against ACORN workers in Missouri, filed just days before the razor-thin 2006 Senate election, in violation of the DoJ's own written rules against bringing such indictments just prior to elections where they are likely to affect the race.
Perhaps even more noteworthy, but unmentioned by Smiley, is that even with all of that, the disgraced von Spakovsky has been secretly hired, at tax-payer expense, as a consultant for Bush's similarly compromised, and now ironically-named, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to help monitor the job that the DoJ will (or won't) be doing to monitor the 2008 general election.
In any case, vS remains an unapologetic democracy hater, hell-bent on keeping Democratic-leaning voters away from the polls and, as you'll note during the interview, a liar.
Normally, however, he's not faced with anybody who can actually call him on his bullshit. That wasn't the case this time, as I was there, and was able to do exactly that...
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!...
John Fund is an evil, unrepentant liar who despises democracy and the very American values that it represents. Other than that, he's swell.
At left is the Wall Street Journal's editorialist/propagandist, lying to America on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher. Actor and well-informed progressive Bradley Whitford deserves credit for attempting to call "bullshit" (literally) on Fund's garbage, but it sure would be nice if Maher had someone on who could really speak to the insidious (and successful) GOP "voter fraud" scam meant for nothing more nor less than to keep legitimate voters from being able to cast a vote, as revealed more clearly than ever by the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Fund is one of the original architects, or at least a ponyboy for that despicable scam.
(Hint: I live about 7 minutes from where Real Time tapes each week, and would be happy to counter the previously-debunked horse manure that Fund was allowed to spread, virtually unchecked, last night.)
As we all reported at the time, that Baker/Carter scam was meant to do little more than give "respectable and official blue-ribbon" credence to the Photo ID scam they were beginning to perpetrate back in its nascent stages. The scam was perpetrated by the same operatives who secretly created and ran the commission in the first place, in order that folks like Fund (who, naturally, was called to give testimony to this phony commission) could later cite some sort of official elder-statesmen blessing of their disenfranchising Photo ID conspiracy which they've been using to con an otherwise gullible media/electorate.
The remarks of Mr. James Baker, III, which were echoed by a number of right wing political operatives called as witnesses, seemed to have a singular purpose of spreading hoaxes and conspiracy theories about ineligible Democratic voters being allowed to cast votes. The remedy was cleverly repeated like a broken record, "photo ID, photo ID, photo ID." Right wing pundit John Fund was called as an "expert" witness by the hearing and offered racially charged proposals with racially charged rhetoric.
The substance of the testimony alleging "voter fraud" was a fraud itself.
At the outset, Mr. Fund laid bare the nasty, racial underbelly of these proposals. The right-wing has been long engaged in tactics to suppress minority votes, but rarely lets slip about such tactics, as Fund did today. In a discussion about provisional ballots, Mr. Fund said that Congress should allow precinct workers to determine whether a provisional ballot should count because they would know who "looks as if they belong in the neighborhood." Wonder what he meant by that?
(Thanks to BRAD BLOG's video ace, Alan Breslauer for the stomach churning video clip!)