Before this disappears into the ether of the memory hole, since the the history books tend to be written by the "winners", here's what the actual, contemporaneous, independently verifiable evidence shows instead. These are not the "alternative facts", as Kellyanne Conway described what new Whitehouse Press Secretary Sean Spicer and his boss have been trying to sell, but what the demonstrable facts actually show.
The turnout for the Womens' March in D.C. alone on Saturday, dwarfed the attendance at Donald Trump's Inauguration the day before. The official estimate from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority finds Saturday was the second-busiest day ever for the D.C. Metro rail system, bested only by the first Inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009. Ridership for Trump's Inauguration was even lighter than the average workday in the nation's capital...
According to crowd scientists (yes, apparently there is such a thing), the Womens' March was about three times the size of Trump's Inauguration which was, in turn, also dwarfed by each of Obama's two Inaugurations, but particularly his first one. Based on analysis of photos and video taken at the National Mall and the surrounding areas, Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still, crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, "estimated that there were about 160,000 people in those areas in the hour leading up to Mr. Trump’s speech Friday. ... They estimated that at least 470,000 people were at the women’s march in Washington in the areas on and near the mall at about 2 p.m. Saturday."
That, in contradiction to the new Alt-Fact President, who insisted the crowd at his ceremony on Friday "looked like a million, a million and a half people," and that the area "all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed." Once again, actual evidence suggests that wasn't the case, by a long shot.
Here, for the record, is just some of the actual evidence --- high quality photos taken from the Washington Monument, at both Obama's 2009 Inauguration and Trump's 2017 ceremony, "captured 45 minutes before the respective oaths of office, show[ing] areas that were crowded with people at Mr. Obama’s inauguration that were clearly empty during Mr. Trump's"...
First up:Fred Karger joined us from the airport in Maine, fresh off his latest victory against the anti-freedom group calling itself the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Karger, a Republican and long time political consultant for campaigns such as those for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, was also the first openly gay candidate for President of the United States when he ran for the GOP nomination in 2012. On Tuesday, the state of Maine levied a record fine of more than $50,000 against NOM after finding, based on a complaint filed by Karger, that the group committed egregious campaign violations in their $2 million effort to ban marriage equality in the state 2009.
We discussed that, his similar victory out in California against NOM and the Mormon Church, the remarkable recent string of court victories in the marriage equality movement, and why the hell Karger is still a Republican.
Finally: As usual, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as the state of California learns the very very sad news that the fracking reserves in the Monterey Shale oil fields have only been over-estimated by some 2300%!
This story is horrific. It struck me even more so this morning, given that I had just been in contact with Virginia state Senator Creigh Deeds (D) last week on several occasions and had asked him to appear as my guest on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast.
Deeds is currently said to be in critical condition after being stabbed multiple times today in his own home, "in the head and torso," according to officials. His son Gus was found dead in the same home, the victim of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, adding the detail that the son "had been released Monday following a mental health evaluation performed under an emergency custody order." Joe St. George of CBS6 reports that Gus had withdrawn last month from William & Mary College.
"The son was evaluated Monday at Bath County hospital," Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge County Community Services Board told the Times-Dispatch, "but was released because no psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia."
The best news that can be reported from all of this for now is that officials said at a noon ET news conference today that VA's 2009 Democratic Gubernatorial candidate was able to communicate with state police about the incident before he was airlifted to a medical facility.
I had been in touch with Deeds over the last week or two in the course of our in-depth coverage of the incredibly close VA Attorney General post-election tabulation...
Last Thursday, in Cudahy, CA, a small city near Los Angeles, top city officials, including former Mayor David Silva and former City Manager and Code Enforcement Director Angel Perales, agree to plead guilty to federal charges of bribery and extortion.
How did the Cudahy officials tamper with the elections? Via absentee ballots, according to the explanation of the plea agreement offered by federal officials:
The Perales plea agreement also discusses election fraud during the 2007 municipal election when absentee ballot were diverted before reaching the City Clerk. Perales “and other city officials routinely and systematically opened the absentee ballots cast in the 2007 City Council election by mail,” according to the statement of facts in Perales’ plea agreement. “Ballots cast in favor of the incumbent candidates were resealed and returned to the mail to be counted. Ballots for non-incumbent candidates were discarded.” Perales and other city officials did the same thing during the 2009 Cudahy City Council election, according to the court document.
We've said it before, we'll say it again: Voting by mail is a terrible idea. Political parties love it, for a whole bunch of reasons (this story underscores just one of those reasons), but we're not concerned with political parties. We're concerned with democracy and whether your vote will be counted and counted accurately, no matter which party you may happen to associate with (or not.)
(Note to Oregon voters who love their all Vote-by-Mail system: Yes, we're familiar with what happens in your state, and we still stand by our long-held assessment of the perils of Absentee/Vote-by-Mail. Please read this article and, as importantly, the link in the paragraph just above, before sending us your hate mail. Thanks!)
Unless you have no other reasonable option --- eg. you're going to be out of town on Election Day and can't vote on a paper ballot during Early Voting, or you live in one of the few places in the nation where you are otherwise forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems on Election Day --- voting on hand-marked paper ballots, at the polling place on Election Day, increases exponentially the chance of your ballot actually being counted, and counted accurately.
We've also discussed, many times, the rarity of voter fraud --- that is, fraud by individual voters, versus the concerns of systematic election fraud perpetrated, most frequently, by election insiders who have easy access to flip results of entire elections with little possibility of detection, via manipulation of results on electronic tabulators or by gaming the voting rolls themselves.
While voter fraud is exceedingly rare --- and virtually non-existent at the polling place, particularly by those impersonating other voters (the only type of fraud which can even possibly be deterred by the polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans are cynically attempting to put in place across the country, solely in hopes of suppressing the Democratic-leaning vote) --- where actual voter fraud does occur, it's almost always via absentee balloting.
In this latest case in Cudahy, however, though the stolen elections involved absentee ballots, it was still accomplished by election fraud, not voter fraud, since the voters themselves appear to have done nothing wrong. Rather, as is almost always the case when it comes to fraudulent elections in this country, it was a matter of insider officials gaming the system.
Near the end of an article today on an investigation now underway by South Carolina officials into how the unknown, unemployed Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alvin Greene was able to afford the state's $10,440 filing fee to get on the ballot in the first place, the Associated Press quickly summarizes the "multiple theories" forwarded to speculate on how it was that Greene could have garnered a 59 to 41% "victory" over former state legislator and Circuit Judge Vic Rawl in the recent Democratic U.S. primary:
Multiple theories have surfaced about Greene's success. Some had speculated that Greene, who is black, benefited from black voters looking for a black candidate and opting for his name because of the spelling of his name, with an "e" on the end. And the leader of the state Democratic Party has speculated voters picked the first name on the ballot.
Earlier this month, the state Democratic Party's executive committee upheld Greene's victory, nixing a protest lodged by Rawl that could have required a new vote.
So, it must have been the "e" at the end of Greene's name that made more than 100,000 South Carolinians vote for a man who never campaigned and who they never heard of. Yeah, that must have been it.
In related news, I've officially changed my name to Brad Friedmane and am hereby announcing my candidacy for President of the United States in 2012. I hope this notice serves to get me elected, as it's the only campaigning I will be doing between now and then. Should be more than enough though. Measuring the Oval Office for drapes even as we speak.
My latest special to the Right-leaning Gouverneur Times of Upstate NY details multiple "urgent" warnings that state and federal officials received over the last year from multiple election advocacy groups concerning the dangers and pitfalls of the state's e-voting pilot program which came crashing down on voters during the recent NY-23 Special Election for the U.S. House.
They were warned, over and over and over again, about the dangers of using uncertified e-voting systems in real live elections, yet, despite the concerns expressed by experts about using real voters "as guinea pigs," it appears officials took no action in response.
I've covered the problems and failures in NY-23's recent Special Election for U.S. House in a number of previous articles here at The BRAD BLOG, detailing some of the early problems with results as they emerged, pointing out that, thanks to Republican precedent in 2006, it now no longer really matters whom the actual voters may have voted for, but arguing that a full manual hand-count of paper ballots would be appropriate nonetheless.
Over the holiday weekend, the good Richard Hayes Phillips --- author of the book Witness to a Crime, in which he painstakingly detailed, ballot by ballot, the scandal which was the Ohio 2004 Presidential Election --- reported on some curious numbers he's now found in that election, over at the right-leaning Gouverneur Times. As luck would have it, Richard is a resident of NY-23 himself, and seems to be finding that both "impossible" and then many more "improbable" tallies were certified, as NY tested its Seqouia/Dominion e-voting systems on live voters, in a real, live election, for the first time earlier this month.
Both of his pieces are worth a quick read over there.
And now, the Gouverneur Times has asked me to put together a bit of a "backgrounder" for them on all of these e-voting nightmares, and how they pertain to NY-23, since it seems that right-wingers, for some odd reason, are somewhat lacking (up until now anyway) in real information on just how dangerously insane our privatized system of e-voting in public elections has become. Too much time spent being fooled by ACORN-conspiracists like Andrew Breitbart and Fox "News," I guess.
John Conklin, the Director of Public Information for New York State's Board of Elections has now issued a statement in response to the Gouverneur Times' article by Nathan Barker last week, alleging a "VIRUS in the VOTING MACHINES" [caps in original headline] which, the paper says, "tainted the results" of the recent Special Election for the U.S. House in NY's 23rd Congressional district.
We responded to Barker's detailed article ourselves over the weekend at some length, noting both the accurate and inaccurate information and assertions included in the online publication's coverage.
Conklin's response has drawn two responses in turn from the Gouverneur Times, as the right-leaning publication appears to have joined in the fight for election integrity, at least on behalf of their favored Conservative Party candidate whose apparent election loss has indeed been "tainted" by the very same concerns about which The BRAD BLOG has been warning for years. We're happy to see their new-found concerns, even as Republican partisans in political alignment with the Times have been ignoring and/or disparaging similar reports for years following elections in which Democrats have been the apparent victims of similarly failed voting systems...
On Thursday, Nathan Barker of upstate New York's Gouverneur Times --- a far-Right online publication (featuring columns by the likes of Michelle Malkin, Oliver North, Chuck Norris, and all the rest of the wingnutters) --- filed a lengthy, and somewhat breathless, report alleging a computer virus had infected several of the new e-voting systems in first-time use during the November 7th Special Election in NY's 23rd Congressional district between Democratic candidate Bill Owens, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and Republican Dede Scozzafava (who dropped out of the race just prior to Election Day and threw her support to the Democrat).
Barker charged that a "VIRUS in the VOTING MACHINES" [his caps] resulted in "tainted results," "casting doubt on the accuracy of counts retrieved from any of the machines" used in the election.
Owens was reported to have won the election by a small margin on Election Night --- made smaller as errors were discovered during the post-election canvass --- before being hastily sworn in to the U.S. House just a few days later, in time to provide a crucial Democratic vote in favor of the health care insurance reform bill.
Barker's detailed report clearly offers a hard-right undertone, obviously in support of the Conservative Party candidate Hoffman. The article also advances several unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and features a number of out-and-out inaccuracies as well. A number of the piece's key allegations, though important, are also disputed by election officials, and at least one lead member of New York's election integrity community --- which is, itself, split between supporters of the new optical-scan e-voting systems and those calling for the retention of the Empire State's long-used mechanical lever voting machines.
Nonetheless, Barker raises a number of significant points and important concerns, about which The BRAD BLOG has been warning for years, often in the face of derision, notably from the same Rightwing circles crying foul now, who had previously dismissed such concerns as those of 'tin-foil hat wearing, sore losers and conspiracy theorists' despite actual hard evidence and scientifically-sound details proffered about such concerns.
It's somewhat amusing to see some on the Right, now that they have concerns about a close election, suddenly find religion on the very issues they'd derided as nonsense so stridently in the past. It's very tempting to either disregard them now entirely, or torture them mercilessly on that point. But we'll try to take the high road here since their central concerns, now that they've finally arrived and no matter how long overdue, have been ones that we've shared for years, whether or not they might have stood to adversely affect Democrats, Republicans or independents.
The bottom line is that whether a computer virus, malicious or otherwise, affected the results of the NY-23 Special Election or not --- we've seen no actual evidence that it did, and state officials offer a differing explanation for the e-voting system failures that did occur --- it certainly could have. The direct threat to democracy inherent in the concerns expressed by Barker (whether substantiated or not), underscore the foolishness of using such secret vote-counting systems at all. In New York --- where voters, in real elections, are essentially being forced to serve as beta testers of these new, federally-uncertified systems, made by a company with a long track-record of failure, lies, obfuscation, near-bankruptcy, secretive foreign ownership, election disaster after disaster, and dissembling to the media, as well as federal, state and local officials --- the foolishness is all the more apparent, unnecessary, unfortunate and a clear and present threat to democracy itself...
NY-23's failed Conservative Party Congressional candidate, Doug Hoffman, now says he was "forced to concede" (though it's not clear who forced him, and the concession, as BRAD BLOG readers know, has no legal standing in any case, and, as we noted last week, neither do the voters of New York for the most part, at this point).
PPP's newest national survey finds that a 52% majority of GOP voters nationally think that ACORN stole the Presidential election for Barack Obama last year, with only 27% granting that he won it legitimately...
But NY-23 and the 2008 Presidential election is not all that ACORN did! You can learn more about their stunning crimes (e.g., "ACORN is behind the Eggo Waffle shortage!!!") via #AcornFacts, the new topic that's taking Twitter by storm today...
A potentially interesting situation is underway in New York's 23rd Congressional district where post-election canvassing of the recent Special Election for the U.S. House is still underway.
According to Syracuse's Post-Standard, the post-election canvass shows the race between Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who conceded on Election Night, and Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who was sworn in as the district's new U.S. Congressman last Friday, to be tightening as results are double-checked, errors are being found, and a few thousand absentee ballots are still uncounted.
The race, regarded by many as a a bellwether contest before next year's full Congressional elections, appeared to have swung in the Democrat's favor on Election Night, following the suspension of the campaign of Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava who threw her support to Owens after she'd dropped out just days prior to the election.
On Election Night, Owens was reported to be the "winner" by just over 5,000 votes, with 93 percent of the votes tallied, leading to Hoffman's concession. Since then, various errors have been discovered in at least two different counties, resulting in a gain of some 2,000 votes for the Conservative Party's Hoffman, bringing the latest tally to 66,698 to 63,672. Closer, now a 3,000 vote margin, but still favoring Rep. Owens.
There were, however, some 10,200 absentee ballots requested and distributed. And, as we understand New York's state election laws, none of them have yet been counted. Many of those ballots were purportedly cast when Scozzafava was still in the race. At that time, according to Hoffman's campaign at least, they might have had an edge in the then-three-way contest. So it's possible, though believed to be a long shot, that Hoffman could gain enough votes in absentees to eclipse Owens.
This scenario --- a Congressional candidate quickly sworn in, based on unofficial results shortly after a bellwether Special Election before all votes have been properly counted --- should be a familiar one to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG. A very similar situation occurred in the 2006 race to replace the jailed Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in California's 50th Congressional district.
While Republicans who stood in support of the Conservative Party's Hoffman this year --- he was endorsed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and the Republican Party itself (only after Scozzafava was pressured to drop out) --- are finding some cause for optimism in the still-narrowing margin. Limbaugh certainly has, at least according to his breathless reporting of the goings-on in NY-23 on his show this morning.
But the legal maneuvering and judicial precedent that the then-Republican-led House pulled in the Summer of 2006, in order to keep votes from being counted in the CA-50 Special Election and, indeed, to keep the voters of California from even being able to contest their own election, should ensure that Hoffman can no longer, legally, take possession of the House seat via any challenge in New York --- even if he's eventually found to have received more votes than Owens!...
We're watching results as they're coming in tonight, while continuing to comb through various problem reports as they've been coming in throughout the day (the usual "hiccups" "glitches" "snags" and "snafus" reportage --- anything but the proper word for them all: "failure"!)
As we always find necessary to remind readers on such nights, the bulk of election failures tend to reveal themselves in the hours and days --- and sometimes even weeks --- after Election Day.
Fortunately, turnout has been light today, so the problems that have cropped up seem to have been handled by quickly replacing machines (a luxury available during slow, off-year elections when there are extra machines to go around) or in such a way that delays --- and the voter disenfranchisement that goes with them --- were minimal. At least as so far reported.
Whether any of the results tabulated in secret, with secret software, are actually accurate, well, that's anyone's guess as usual. In any case, we're monitoring, and will let ya know if there's anything you need to know about. Please feel free to let us know about anything you think we should know about in comments.
UPDATE 9:29pm PT: New Sequoia op-scan systems fail in Fulton County, NY and are impounded by court order. Emergency paper ballots are used. Fulton is part of the hotly contested NY-23 Congressional special election.
It's Election Day today, but a 90-year-old Republican will not be voting after the ID nightmare she faced when moving to Virginia. As it turns out, her birth certificate did not match her married name (ya think?), but even though she also brought a driver's license, proof of her new residence, a Medicaid card and a bank card, she still had problems getting the state-issued ID she'd need to vote today in VA.
After several trips to the DMV, --- luckily she's able to get there, several times apparently, unlike many other 90-year-olds --- Jean Earley was finally able to get that ID. But this story has twist ending. Go read it.
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...
What a weird life! In the 1970s and 80s I helped my late Evangelical-leader, Religious Right founder father as his nepotistic sidekick. We helped establish the Religious Right and send it on its merry way to doom. Now I --- a backslider former Evangelical, former Republican --- watch in amazed fascination as once again the Right I helped launch like a nasty little torpedo into the guts of the Republican Party once again explodes.