On today's BradCast: Will Hillary Clinton's apparent lead in national polling and turnout to date translate into a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate? Poll watchers and analysts, at least Democratic leaning ones, seem to think so. For now. But just barely. [Audio link for show posted below.]
More early voting numbers in several states continue to suggest a potentially banner year for Democrats. In addition to those new indicators today, Hillary Clinton's poll numbers continue to rise, even as Donald Trump argued over the weekend that all the polls are "phony", not to be believed, and are meant to do little more than suppress the vote. (Though someone may want to let his own campaign manager know about that.)
But, will the hints of success for the Clinton campaign translate into Democrats taking back control of the U.S. Senate? David Jarman, editor of Daily Kos Elections, joins me to explain what the polls currently suggest about the likelihood of a Senate majority for Dems, the races in 9 states that he believes will determine that balance and, specifically, the 3 states he believes will ultimately be the tipping points for control of the upper chamber of Congress over the next two years.
While Daily Kos is a website meant to support Democrats, Jarman explains the roll of the analysts at Daily Kos Elections: "We're sort of the quantitative side of Daily Kos, but we also do more qualitative analysis of where we feel the chances are in the Senate and the House, looking at it race by race, doing the sort of old-fashioned scouting approach of 'this is a toss-up, this is lean-Democratic', that kind of thing. We also compile a lot of the data that eludes other people, about where the ad dollars are going, what the topics of ads are, every poll, we collect those in our daily digest."
Jarman and I also discuss, among other things, how and if things like voter suppression are included in his predictions; how large a majority Democrats would need in order to be able to bypass some of the more conservative/corporatist members of its caucus; whether Democrats could also retake a majority in the U.S. House, and some serious havoc that may occur for House Speaker Ryan even in the likelihood that they don't; and, also, some of the gubernatorial races that may end up going "blue" this year as well.
Finally, Bernie Sanders responds to Wikileaks' release of emails from Clinton staffers painting him in a less than favorable light, and Donald Trump says that he has plans to rethink freedom of the press, as defined by the Constitution's First Amendment, should he become the next President.
While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Waukesha County, Wisconsin's County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus was already known, for some time, to be among the nation's worst elections official. And that's saying quite a bit. But new information being discovered over the past several days suggests she may be even worse than previously known --- which is also saying quite a bit.
If anything, as we indicated in the same article, it is perhaps more troubling that the city of Brookfield's numbers didn't change at all from Election Night, suggesting that the ballots have never been examined by any human beings in order to assure the accuracy of the oft-failed, easily-manipulated optical-scanners used to tabulate the paper ballots in Waukesha (and across most of the state.)
That's just one reason why a complete public hand-count of all paper ballots should be carried out in Waukesha right now, presuming the chain of custody for those ballots can be demonstrated as having been secure since Election Night. Given the razor-thin margin of the still unofficial final results in the race between Justice David Prosser (a partisan Republican and avowed Gov. Scott Walker supporter) and the independent Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, a similarly public hand-count of all paper ballots across the entire state should be a no-brainer at this point in order to achieve some form of confidence in the results of the, reportedly, incredibly close contest.
Last week, The BRAD BLOG also detailed some of Nickolaus' horrific record as County Clerk, and just a few of the embarrassments she's caused for her county, including her practice of keeping election results only on a circa 1995 personal computer in her office; using the same user ID and password for all of the employees allowed to access it; and refusing to release city-by-city, much less ward-by-ward election results on Election Night. (The latter is one of the reasons the "missing" 14,000+ votes weren't noticed by anyone in the media or citizenry earlier.) Those were just a few of the troubling concerns highlighted in an independent audit carried out on behalf of the County Board of Executives last year after they'd discovered many serious deficiencies and security concerns in Nickolaus' election procedures.
But now, thanks to some great citizen oversight --- to be sure, not easy to do in Nickolaus' county, as she makes it as absolutely as difficult as possible for citizens to oversee their own elections --- from a blogger at the Daily Kos, we learn still more troubling facts about elections and their administration in the very Republican-leaning Waukesha, including evidence suggesting 20,000 more votes than "ballots cast" were tallied by Nickolaus in the county's 2006 general election, and a remarkable 97.63% voter turnout there in the 2004 Presidential election.
We've been trying to get to the bottom of these anomalies since they were first discovered a few days ago, and we've been going back and forth with Nickolaus to try and clear them up. Here's what we've been able to figure out...
When it comes to elections, it seems there are no rules, laws, morals, or ethical boundaries which Republicans aren't willing to happily violate in order to be "victorious."
Our latest two examples:
Over at Daily Kos today, a commenter has been outed as a "concern troll" hoping to deflate progressive support for KY's Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway, while serving on the payroll of Republican candidate Rand Paul.
-- 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...
"...[W]ithout full transparency of results, this fraud would not have been uncovered." - Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos founder, 6/29/10
There's an interesting bit of news today --- ironically enough, from Daily Kos --- which underscores the importance of citizen access to, and transparency of, election data, at least if anyone ever hopes to be able to root out and/or discover fraud, be it in elections or virtually anything else.
I say "ironically enough," because Daily Kos --- including both its founder Markos Moulitsas and a number of its front-page writers --- have, for years at their site, poo-pooed concerns about election fraud and e-voting by disinforming their readers about the very serious concerns presented by the disastrous election system used in most of the U.S. By marginalizing such concerns as little more than "conspiracy theory," they have continued to ill-serve both their readers' and their own self-interest (that of electing Democrats to office) in the bargain.
More, in a moment, on today's news from Kos himself, accidentally underscoring the long disservice his site has offered to readers on the e-voting front. But first, a personal incident involving hamburgers yesterday also serves to underscore, yet again, a related issue, and why hand-marked paper ballots --- and actually bothering to count them --- is an absolute imperative for Election Integrity...
There are a number of points in Andreas Antonopoulos' article at Network World yesterday with which I respectfully disagree (eg. His assertion that counting paper ballots by hand might take longer than with machines, and nuances in regard to his belief that a federal standard for voting machines is the answer, etc.)
But for someone who doesn't cover the unique circumstances of e-voting exclusively or in great detail, he is essentially right on the money in his general assertions about the insane, 100% unverifiable nature of South Carolina's recent primary election. In regard to the questions about Alvin Greene's impossible-to-prove "win" over Judge Vic Rawl for the Democratic nomination to run for U.S. Senate, he writes, among other things:
How have we reached the point where the only way to audit an election is statistics? Why can't we get a robust, audited and validated election result? The simple answer is that we can, but we choose not to.
[T]he best solution is paper and pencil. It is auditable, secure, repeatable, easy and robust.
I note the above today, largely in response to the dead-enders, who I've begun to hear from yet again of late, who describe folks like me as "Luddites" or somehow "against progress". Those who believe that elections ought to be 100% verifiable by the citizenry --- and that any sort of concealed vote counting, electronic or otherwise, is a grave threat to democracy --- are not "Luddites". We are well-informed realists and patriots.
For the record, I spent some ten years of my life making my living as a computer programmer. Network World's Antonopoulos, author of the magazine's "Security: Risk and Reward" blog, is also senior vice president and founding partner at the the IT consulting and research firm, Nemertes Research. And the bulk of the science on which all of my reporting is based, comes directly from the top computer scientists and security experts in the world.
If anyone would like to call us "Luddites", after all of these years being proven right, again and again, on these issues, bring it on. You're only succeed in making yourself appear grossly ill-informed. Or worse.
[My thanks to "HeartlandLiberal" at dKos for bringing the Network World piece to my attention, and, for kicking back a bit at the many horribly dis-informed and mis-informed Kossacks who have been ignoring and/or poo-pooing these issues for years, to their own shame and disservice.]
Seriously, the Republican Party wasn't alwaysthis whacked out, crazy and utterly misinformed, were they? Were they?!
The Daily Kos has enlisted the "non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000" to survey "over 2,000 self-identified Republicans." The results of which, I'll have to agree with Kos here, are "nothing short of startling."
Writes Kos: "Ultimately, these results explain why it is impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country. Their base are conspiracy mongers who don't believe Obama was born in the United States, that he is the second coming of Lenin, and that he is racist against white people."
Just one case in point likely to be of interest to readers of The BRAD BLOG (and there are many others, far more extreme), one in five (21%) of self-identified Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election. Another 55% are "not sure" if they did or not. Still waiting for any one of them to present even a shred of evidence to suggest that even a single vote was cast fraudulently via ACORN in some way, of course. For the record, Obama reportedly won by about 10 million of them nationally. You think we'd have some kind of evidence by now from the "Fox 'News' Voter Fraud Unit."
Also, according to the poll, a majority of Republicans, 53%, believe "Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama." Sigh...
How many elected Democrats will have to lose their jobs in 2010 and 2012 before they figure out who/what they're dealing with in this once-Grand, now just utterly insane (actually, just successfully and expensively disinformed) Old Party?
So the DailyKos' Markos Moulitsas is scheduled to be on Bill Maher's Real Time tonight (which will be back on live again on HBO this evening).
Good. Hopefully Maher will push Kos hard to concede that President Barack Obama is not Progressive enough, is not bringing the change he'd promised, is failing to bring the accountability for the previous administration's blatant violations of the Rule of Law and the Constitution as the Democratic base and the majority of Americans had come to expect that he would.
If Maher presses Kos specifically, hard and loudly, on these points --- and he will have to --- I'd suspect Kos will agree with him. If he does, and makes such direct criticism of Obama heard in no uncertain terms, I suspect that might even catch Obama's attention, and further force him to ponder his current untenable stance on these matters and perhaps encourage him to begin to push back against the Rahm Emmanuels in the administration who are urging him down the easy "Clinton middle" instead
If anybody is in direct touch with Maher, or Kos, --- or even Obama --- please bring this opportunity to their attention. It starts with Maher. And, if anybody can do it, he can. It'd be a shame to see such an opportunity wasted.
UPDATE 7/18/09: Opportunity missed. Maher didn't push Obama or Kos. Kos didn't use the opportunity to push for more progressivism or accountability. Too bad. Maher's closing "New Rules" monologue was awesome, however. I'll try to get that posted here soon if possible.
The wealth of material on Sen. John McCain's Veep pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, just keeps getting richer. Apparently the old saying that you can never be too rich or too thin applies to resumes.
Last night, Brad covered a wide-range of recently emerging issues and concerns about Palin --- and McCain's judgment in having chosen her --- and asked whether she can even survive on the ticket through November 4th. Today, the New York Times front pages an Elisabeth Bumiller report revealing that McCain seems to have only begun vetting Palin last week, after his two preferred selections, pro-choice advocates Sen. Joe Lieberman and Gov. Mark Ridge, were nixed by the party's right wing.
So as Republicans scramble to vet their choice far too late, additional revelations continue to emerge (notably, beginning in the blogosphere, long before the MSM finally catches up.) The latest latest comes via Liz Arnett at Daily Kos, and includes videos in which the Alaska governor is seen as a member and supporter of the fringe Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), which aspires to secession from the union.
Steve Benen regards this latest information about Palin's past as perhaps "the most politically detrimental" of all the recently emerging discoveries about the little-known-until-now Governor of Alaska...
We first asked Shepston, an airplane engineer, about election integrity issues. Interestingly, despite running in the extremely "red" Orange County against the Republican Miller and expressing concern for election integrity issues in general, Shepston was not worried about the fairness of elections in his own district:
"I vote in my district and I do think we have fair elections there... I do worry about election integrity in general. I wonder what Republicans are afraid of when they don't want to have fair elections. I don't want to have to guess, I don't want to have to trust that my vote or that voters' votes count. I want verified ballots."
Unfortunately, as Orange County is one of two counties left in California where unverifiable DRE (usually touch-screen) voting machines have been allowed for use by all, Shepston seems somewhat out of step with the ability, or lack thereof, to verify even a single vote cast on such machines in his own district. Almost inexplicably, CA SoS Debra Bowen decertified use of almost all DRE systems in the state, other than one per polling place to meet federal accessibility voting standards, and DRE machines made by Hart InterCivic. Shepston's Orange County still uses those wholly unverifiable Hart voting machines.
Shepston, who says he considers himself part of the netroots movement, is a political newcomer who was encouraged to run for office by fellow bloggers at the Daily Kos website. Yet despite the fact that many of these bloggers are helping with Shepston's campaign, he directed some harsh words towards the Daily Kos:
"It's not the community that it used to be... And what's happened is that now that I've been there for so long I know the good writers and I go to just them. I don't branch out because it seems like every other diary that I get to it's just not worth it to me anymore. I don't learn anything... It's turned into a shouting match sometimes. It's not the same community that it was when I was there before."
Our complete interview (6:46), shot this week at a fund raising event here in Los Angeles with Ambassador Joe Wilson (more videos to come), follows below. You can find out more about Shepston at his Ron Shepston for United States Congress website...
As stunning as that sounds, there's nothing new here necessarily to readers of The BRAD BLOG, other than the fact that outlets like the IDG News Service and PCWorld are reporting it --- out loud --- and that the computer scientist community, specifically those who have been studying these systems, are now out and out saying it --- in public...and out loud.
"The three systems we looked at are three of the most widely used around the nation," warned professor David Wagner of the University of California, "They're going to be using them in the 2008 elections; they're still going to have the same vulnerabilities we found."
Wagner was speaking about e-voting system made by Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic which he examined during CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's independent "Top to Bottom" review last year. He "and his team found that they could introduce a computer virus to any of the three systems, which would then spread throughout the county and ultimately skew the vote count," the IDG News Service reports.
While our readers may be familiar with the above, our friend "DHinMI" and his fellow misinformed DailyKos front pagers may want to give this short article a quick look sometime soon. Particularly the part about paper ballots, and that simply having them is not enough...if nobody bothers to actually count them.
Here's the key grafs from the article...Along with a special clip for the dangerously misinformed/misleading dKos boys and girls...
"Alegre", a longtime Daily Kos diarist, has called for a writers' strike at the world's largest supposedly-Progressive blog site, due to what she says has become a "hostile environment" for pro-Clinton supporters.
She writes that the place has become "little more than an echo chamber with an attitude that harkens back to the early days of Dubbya’s administration - yer either with us or yer a’gin us, heh!"
We don't know whether that's the case or not, since we haven't much followed what goes on at dKos for years for our own personal, if not necessarily unrelated, reasons.
If you really want to get the attention of a blog owner, however, we'd suggest a readers' strike is far more likely to accomplish that goal, since the business model for such operations relies on reader traffic to help set ad prices.
Want to make sure the folks running dKos take notice of your concerns? Stop hitting those pages in big numbers --- yes, even checking for new comments counts as a new page view for advertisers --- and believe us, they'll notice. That is, if you believe getting at their bottom line is useful towards getting them to behave more responsibly --- and more progressively --- over there.
[Full Disclosure...since we believe in such things, even if the owner and front-pagers at dKos do not...
Seriously. Markos Moulitsas really ought to reconsider whom he has assigned as front-pagers and gate-keepers at his Daily Kos site, given the pointless damage they seem hell-bent on doing to the joint in their continuing assault on Progressive voices in the blogosphere.
Following their irresponsibly substance-free (and accuracy-free) assaults on Election Integrity advocates such as The BRAD BLOG (see here, here, here & here), and then their obnoxious and pointless attack on Larry Johnson, it looks like they're now working on tearing down Progressive blogger turned nationally syndicated columnist David Sirota...
Our friends Bobby Kennedy Jr. and GoLeft.tv interview another of our friends, Election Integrity hero Ion Sancho, the legendary Leon County, FL, Supervisor of Elections, on the election messes in New Hampshire, Florida, Los Angeles, and everywhere else. (And thanks for the kind hat-tip, guys...even though The BRAD BLOG never claimed there was fraud in NH. But we're happy to let that slide, since the interview was live, and you might have been talking about someone else. And we know you mean well.)
WARNING: Markos Moulitsas and the other front-pagers and gatekeeping denialists at Daily Kos should not watch the above interview! If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a user record over there, you should go ahead and ban him right now! Make sure he's never allowed to write at dKos! In this interview, he has the temerity to talk about concerns with the way the New Hampshire Primary Election was conducted! Can you believe it?! And he's even a Hillary Clinton supporter! Clearly, he, like The BRAD BLOG, is "doing far more harm than good," as you like to say, for the Election Integrity movement! What will the Democratic Party and the Mainstream Corporate Media say about your site if that "nutter" Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is allowed to post over there?! Quickly --- before he damages the credibility of your site --- you better go ahead and ban RFK Jr. in advance! As you know, better safe than sorry, boys!
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BRAD BLOG an 'Irresponsible Nutter Site' Doing the Cause of Election Integrity 'Far More Harm Than Good', According to Irresponsible, Evidence-Free Comment Posted by Front-Page Diarist at Once-Prestigous Blogsite...
UPDATE: The Daily Kos Swiftboater 'DHinMI' is Actually Dana Houle, Recently Resigned Chief of Staff of Rush Holt/Steny Hoyer Supporter, NH's U.S. Rep Paul Hodes
[UPDATED: See end of article for information on who this "DHinMI" tool actually is.]
Markos Moulitsas and the band of self-important anonymous losers that he's allowed to dominate the front page at the world's largest supposedly-Progressive blogsite continue their cowardly march towards full self-destruction.
Today's example comes by way of a comment from the anonymous (read: cowardly) "DHinMI", one of the loudest, most obnoxious and knowledge-challenged of Kos' stable of front-page sidekicks hell-bent on further discrediting the once-prestigious website:
Though, unlike Bev Harris and ourselves, who put our real names behind everything we do, "DHinMI" enjoys anonymity as he/she spews his/her unsupported, fact-free allegations. He/she does, however, offer an email address where folks might try to offer this numbskull a few facts if he/she ever becomes interested in any (which seems rather unlikely at this point): DHinMI@yahoo.com
"DHinMI's" comment, ironically enough, is posted in support of a front page article by Moulitsas himself today, in regard to a NYTimes article reporting that some 80 precincts in some of NYC's most African-American dominated precincts registered 0 votes for Barack Obama in their unofficial tallies. Kos then goes on to wonder if the article thus indicates that NYC's "voting machines don't spit out paper ballots? That should be SOP for these things."
NYC, of course, still uses the old lever machines which, of course, do not "spit out paper ballots", something that it seems great champions for the cause of Election Integrity, such as Kos and "DHinMI", ought to know by now.
What "should be SOP for these things," is that people who write at high-profile, influential Internet sites ought to learn what they're writing about before they write about them so that they don't mislead folks into believing they know what they're talking about.
Today's Daily Dose of Daily Kos loser-dom comes on the heels of yesterday's report in which they ominously threatened former CIA agent, Larry Johnson, with permanent banning should he have the temerity to continue his support of Hillary Clinton on their site. Why they seem hell-bent on proving Bill O'Reilly right over there remains a mystery to us, and further begs the question of how long it'll be before the dKos readers who tend to "get it", even as the front-pagers don't, will continue on at that place.
Previous BRAD BLOG-reported examples of dKos front-pagers, including "DHinMI" and Kos himself, busily destroying dKos' previously good name can be found here.
UPDATE: "DHinMI" isn't that anonymous after all. And whaddaya know, he's a member of the official Democratic Party machine. Knock us over with a feather...