Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org
This from Harris County, Texas --- the third largest county in the US:
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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This from Harris County, Texas --- the third largest county in the US:
Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning
From their respective press conferences following today's oral argument at the Minnesota Supreme Court on former Senator Norm Coleman's appeal of the results of his U.S. Senate election contest...
"We are asking that the court send it back to the three judge panel to apply the same standard as election night...Our case is in the offers of proof." - Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg
"The most important question is how long it will take to enfranchise 4,000 Minnesotans." - Former Senator Norm Coleman
"With a ruling from the State Supreme Court we’ll be at the end of this process...I am confident that at the end of the process...Al Franken will be seated." - Franken attorney Marc Elias
Best of luck with this, boyz...
(No explanation for the blank :45 seconds or so on the back end. Feel free to offer yours in comments. Hat-tip Josh Marshall who notes the vid is "Catching fire on the right-wing websites." The clowns at the wingnut PowerLine call the video "Hope for the future" in one post and in a second --- yes, top clown Scott Johnson posted it twice there in two days! --- say that it "displays wit and learning in equal parts". The "more info" description on the YouTube posting, says "Young Conservatives is a group with a devout mission to spread the love and logic surrounding true conservatism." As mentioned, best of luck with that, boyz.)
UPDATE, YO!: If you can't watch the video for some reason, or even if you can, Tiger Beatdown's commentary on the high-points is worth the read. And yes, Young Cons, we're laughing at you, not with you...But, um, as we said, good luck with that, boyz...Drill, baby, drill, and all that...And yes, please bring on a follow up soon! Your fans are waiting!
[Now updated with a load of new details on the election conspiracy, how it worked, and who the candidates were that allegedly benefited from it, following today's guilty plea entered in court. See bottom of article for that new information.]
A Republican election official, one of six allegedly bi-partisan [ed note: see update below for more on that] Clay County, KY, Board of Elections officials arrested last March and charged with a long-term conspiracy to rig elections, buy votes, and manipulate vote-selections on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, has asked to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, according to local news reports...
That charge alleges that members of the conspiracy used the county Board of Elections as a vehicle to corrupt voting between 2002 and 2007 so they could hold on to power and enrich themselves and others.
According to the indictment [PDF], Bishop was a Republican election judge at precincts in 2002 and 2004, and hosted meetings at his house where candidates pooled money to be used for buying votes. The latest report also notes that Bishop, and some of the other conspirators, even employed Rush Limbaugh's illicit drug of choice, OxyContin, as part of their scheme...
The faux Republican outrage over Nancy Pelosi's perceived slight, in charging that CIA briefers directly misled Congress, has been amusing to watch. Even as the Democrats' seeming inability to either defend her, or fear of sinking into the same phony political sandtrap, is disappointing. But Democrats seem to excel at disappointment these days, so that part of the ginned-up story is hardly surprising.
The GOP hypocrisy in charging that Pelosi has somehow hurt the morale of The Agency in the bargain (and, as bonus, that Obama's release of the Bush Torture Memos has endangered CIA operatives) has been all the more amusing to witness, in their complete and entire selective amnesia of their party's own 100%, unqualified support of a White House which, for the first time in the history of this nation, had publicly outed the identity of a covert CIA operative. In unapologetically exposing Valerie Plame-Wilson, and completely destroying her entire, crucial network monitoring the trafficking of WMD in the Middle East along with it, untold damage was brought not only to CIA operatives risking their lives in the defense of this nation, but also to the national security of the nation itself, which was significantly blinded in the Middle East --- and on the issue of WMDs, of all things --- at a time when we were theoretically going to war there, over that very issue. Yet, the Republicans chose to side with the criminals in treason, over the "morale" or "effectiveness" of The Agency in their shortsighted and inexcusable politicization of the matter.
It doesn't get much more absurd than all of that...unless you add to it the Democrats' near-complete incapacity to take on, and tear down, the opportunistic Republicans on their own, absurdist argument in phony defense of the CIA of late.
Ernie Canning, here at The BRAD BLOG, has been documenting the CIA's rich, and often ugly, 50-year history in the use of torture, and other illegalities, as a direct tactic to control foreign populations in the march towards the growth of U.S. Empire in the twentieth, and now twenty-first, century, well-prior to the Bush Administration's claims of the necessity for so-called "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" in the post-9/11 era. Canning's third, and latest chapter in his exclusive four-part series was published here last week.
But more germane, for the moment, to the continuing, cynical, and disingenuous Republican "outrage" over Pelosi's charges that the CIA misled Congress during classified briefings --- as happily amplified by the corporate broadcast media on all of the Sunday News Shows today --- is 42-year CIA veteran Melvin A. Goodman's brief summary of the CIA's rich history in bamboozling Congress published over at The Public Record. As with the use of torture by the CIA, no, The Agency's lies to Congress did not begin in the post-9/11 period, but they certainly reached a high-point (or low-point, depending on your perspective) during that period which the GOP has now chosen for their fully-politicized, hoped-for distraction, in targeting the current Democratic Speaker of the House.
Goodman's summary is worth a quick review --- particularly by Democrats who seem to be caught flat-footed, yet again, in having a clue about how to dismantle, and defang this latest absurd strawman argument mustered by a party with no tools left in their toolbox, other than a fully-compliant corporate media, and a startlingly-inept opposition party.
Can't tell you how sick I am of the GOP's ACORN nonsense, having long ago exhausted myself in debunking the entire GOP scam to try and use the group as a stalking horse to support their own insidious efforts at imposing polling place Photo ID restrictions in hopes of doing nothing more than keeping 20 to 30 million legal, largely Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast their legal votes, because they don't own the type of ID that would be required to vote under these draconian, unnecessary, Jim Crow disenfranchisement laws.
But, as a quick perusal of recent 'Daily Voting News' articles will show, efforts are still being doubled, and redoubled, by the GOP in state legislatures across the country in hopes of passing such restrictions into law. It seems these laws, meant to combat non-existent "voter fraud," are the Republicans' last, best hope to be able to actually "win" elections at all these days.
A few quick-hit gems worth noting from Josh Marshall and David Kurtz at TPM over the last day or two...
Anticipate Karl Rove's long-awaited testimony before Congress about the US Attorney firings sometime in early June, Rove's lawyer tells TPMmuckraker.
Not to be outdone in an effort to eke out a few more minutes in the spotlight, Joe The Plumber announces he too has had enough and is leaving the Republican party.
Of course, in Joe's case, it does raise the question of what party or militia he's leaving the GOP to join. Any ideas?
Number of Gitmo detainees that the GOP hopes to keep off mainland U.S. soil with its "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act": roughly 250.
Number of Axis POWs detained in camps on the U.S. mainland at the end of WWII: roughly 425,000.
Can it really be true that the list of Americans who will appear on the Sunday shows this weekend is David Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and John McCain?
I guess it really is a center-right nation.
Our observation on the final item above: Looks like those old "Liberal Media" are still partying like it's
1999 2007. Color us shocked. Shocked!
A few developments this week in the case of Mike Connell, the GOP IT guru who died in a single-engine plane craft last December, just after being forced to testify in a long-standing OH 2004 voting rights case, but before the case could come to trial. As The BRAD BLOG has long covered both the lawsuit, and Connell's central role, I wanted to make sure the new developments were noted here. Forgive my quick copy and paste, necessarily, given the circumstances of the week which still have me otherwise distracted in many ways. Background links on the entire Connell story are included at the end of this item...
“Shannon Connell of Madison says her brother Michael rarely talked about work,” a local Wisconsin paper reported Thursday. “She knew he ran an Ohio company called New Media Communications that set up websites for Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But it wasn’t until after he died last December, when the small plane he was piloting crashed, that she learned via the Internet of his tie to a voter fraud case and to allegations that presidential adviser Karl Rove had made threats against him.
“‘At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead,” the paper quoted Shannon as saying. “But as time goes on, it’s hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it.”
“A native of Illinois, Shannon moved to Madison in 2002,” the paper adds, “the same year as her sister, Mary Jo Walker. Walker, a former Dane County Humane Society employee, has similar concerns about their brother’s death: ‘It doesn’t seem right to me at all.’”
There were a few other notable tidbits from Bill Lueders' original report in Wisconsin's The Daily Page...
The case began in the early 1980s when the Democratic National Committee sued the RNC for voter suppression tactics that targeted about 45,000 people in low-income and minority areas. The RNC subjected minority voters in New Jersey to misleading election notices, the intimidating placement of off-duty police around polling places, and the unlawful practice of “voter caging” whereby unfounded voter challenge lists are compiled from returned mass direct mailings.
The case, DNC v. RNC, resulted in a 1982 decree in which the RNC agreed not to engage in voter caging and intimidation activities or to target minority voters.
Despite the consent decree, the RNC began using similar tricks in Louisiana in 1986. Under the guise of fraud prevention, the RNC facilitated voter caging programs and other tactics. Commenting on the program, Kris Wolfe, the Midwest RNC political director, sent a memo to Lanny Griffith, the Southern RNC political director, saying “I would guess this program will eliminate at least 60,000 to 80,000 folks from the rolls…If it’s a close race…this could keep the black vote down considerably.” The DNC filed a contempt motion to reopen the case and enjoin the RNC from conducting the Louisiana programs. Once again, the RNC voluntarily agreed to a consent decree rather than fight the claims in court. The result was a 1986 decree [PDF] in which the RNC agreed not to do any ballot security programs anywhere in the country without prior court approval.
More than 20 years later, on November 3, 2008, the RNC moved to terminate the 1982 and 1986 consent decrees. The RNC claims the consent decrees hamstring their efforts to combat voter fraud, despite the fact that voter fraud is less common than death by lightning.
Well, they got the Supreme Court. Now's as good a time as any to get "official" permission to suppress the vote again. Beats winning by actually getting more votes than the other guys, I guess.
Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning
The New York Times just reported:
Specter's announcement reflects an estrangement from the increasingly authoritarian, hard-right ideologues who now control the shattered remnants of the Republican Party. In California, the Republican Party passed a resolution to deny funding to six Republican lawmakers who joined with Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats, passing a budget to prevent this state from falling into an economic abyss. In the U.S. House of Representatives, every Republican acted as one to say “no” to a vital stimulus, offering only the very measures that led to the current economic meltdown—tax cuts for the wealthy. Three Republican Senators, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, had no sooner broke ranks in voting for a compromise version of the stimulus package before they found themselves targeted by conservative groups, with Specter facing a primary challenge from hard-right Republican Pat Toomey.
It is a testament to how far the remnants of the Republican Party have moved to the right that RNC Chairman Michael Steele suggests Specter would have been defeated by Toomey because of the former moderate Republican's "left-wing voting record."
As we pointed out previously, upon the anticipated denial of former Senator Norm Coleman's appeal by the MN Supreme Court, Senator-elect "Franken...would be in a solid position --- legally and politically --- to then lobby the Senate hard and directly for an immediate seating, even if Coleman chooses to continue his fool's errand with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court." Franken would become the 60th member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, ending the ability of the 'Party of No' to block the Democratic agenda --- unless either Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe beat him to it.
UPDATE 4/29, 5:55pm PT: In an op-ed appearing in today's New York Times Senator Snowe observed that "being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of 'Survivor' --- you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe." Whether that means that she would be prepared to follow Specter off the reservation remains to be seen.
Reagan on torture prosecution, via Andrew Sullivan, from the days before George W. Bush decided how to use signing statements for evil, rather than good...
"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.
The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."
My italics. Reagan was admant [sic] about prosecuting torture, but also prosecuting inhuman treatment that some might claim was not full-on torture. Now go read National Review or The Weekly Standard. And look what has happened to conservatism in America.
Reagan was, of course, part of the Blame-America-First crowd. Soft on terror. Friend of the evil-doers. Why did Ronald Reagan hate America?
[Updated several times at bottom of article, including encouraging comment on this offensive bill, by FL Gov. Charlie Crist.]
John Gideon covered the latest outrageous election-gaming attempt by Florida Republicans over the weekend in "Daily Voting News," but this one clearly needs a few more eyeballs.
Kindra Muntz, president of Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) emailed over the weekend to request "nationwide pressure" be placed on legislators in Tallahassee and, given the ugliness of this particular effort, we'd agree. See the bottom of this article for some action links which Muntz suggests taking to counter what she describes as a "dangerous" and "devastating" bill being quietly fast-tracked through the FL legislature by the GOP down there this week.
Here's a couple of passages from two no-holds-barred editorials from over the weekend, excoriating this latest, blatant attempt at voter suppression by the Sunshine State Republicans who, this time, have got elderly voters (and much more) in their cross-hairs. Among a few pretty horrible things this bill does (see below for much more), it would end the use of "Retirement center identification" and "Neighborhood association identification" for the elderly when voting at the polling place.
The first editorial below comes from the St. Petersburg Times which calls the effort "disgraceful," a "naked grab for power," and charges, "Republican legislative leaders have lost all sense of shame with their 11th-hour bill to roll back voting rights in Florida."...
In my opinion voter suppression is an ugly act. When one party is in power and then pushes legislation that only serves to help to ensure they will stay in power then there is something wrong with our democracy. This is now the case in Florida where the party in power waited until week seven of a nine week legislative session to attempt to ram-rod through bills in both the House and Senate that will help to ensure they stay in power. Our two ‘Featured’ editorials (here and here) explain what is happening in Florida much better than I can. ...
"Pensacola Jeff" speaks must-watch truth to (out of) power at a
Tea Baggers Sore Losers Rally in Florida last Wednesday...
Brilliant. Priceless. (Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG commenter "Floridiot".)
Of course, the video above underscores the plain truth that the "protesting"
tea baggers sore losers, had no real clue what the hell they were even doing at their tiny "protests" on Wednesday, which they only showed up for, to protest against their own best interests, because Fox "News" told them to. The photo below (courtesy "rumproast") may say it all...
All of Wednesday's confused, desperate (though rather amusing) "protests" were, of course, dwarfed in size, actual meaning, and actual grass-rootsness, by dozens of actual grass-roots protests during the Bush years, such as this one against the Iraq War and these when Bush was inaugurated in '05, even though somehow Fox "News" forgot to promote those actual protests, and the rest of the corporate media forgot to cover them at all.
But ssshhhh...don't tell the
tea baggers sore losers, they think they've started a "revolution"...
I'm impressed, frankly, with the unflinching outspokenness of Meghan McCain (John's daughter) in her quest to restore sanity, and a future, to the Republican Party. No idea whether she'll have any success --- at least for the foreseeable future --- but her willingness to stand straight up to her own party's not-minimal thuggery is impressive.
Today, McCain is out and out calling for the GOP to "Go Gay" by embracing same sex marriage (she still calls it "gay marriage," but that's because she's still a Republican), and begins her case by pointing out that it was the GOP deity himself, Ronald Reagan, as Governor of CA in 1978, who fended off a ballot proposition which would have outlawed gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools.
"Reagan’s argument centered around the idea that parents already had all the rights they needed to protect their children and that the government did not need to interfere," McCain notes, pointing to an actual conservative doctrine which the GOP has all but abandoned in their bigoted, unConstitutional demands for Big Government intervention into the private lives of homosexual Americans.
I'm digging fairly deeply into the details of what could be a tremendously important story to come (unrelated to this issue), so for the moment I'll just leave you with a few of the money quotes from her essay at The Daily Beast today:
She finishes with the incredibly overly optimistic notion: "I believe the Republican Party has, at this moment, the opportunity to come forward and play an instrumental role in securing gay rights." Nonetheless, she deserves credit and kudos for having the courage to say it. It's a pity it'll likely fall on so many deaf, crazy, tea-bagging ears.
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