Last September's hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights established that polling place photo ID restriction laws have nothing to do with eliminating "voter fraud."
They are, instead, part of what Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, described at the time as the "largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era" --- part of the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP exercise in voter suppression. Her testimony established, yet again, that such laws have a disparate impact upon minorities, the poor, the elderly and students (all of whom happen to have the unfortunate tendency of voting Democratic).
Despite the national nature of this coordinated, well-documented and well-funded assault on minority voting rights, so far the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has confined its legal response to such newly-enacted laws to only the small number of "covered" jurisdictions, for example, South Carolina, that are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section of the law requires federal preclearance for new election-related laws in those "covered" jurisdictions, since they each have demonstrated a long history of racial discrimination.
The narrow action taken by the DoJ to date, as based only on Section 5 of the VRA, could all change if they took the time to study the content of the new complaint, Jones v. Deininger [PDF], as filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The complaint alleges that Wisconsin's new polling place photo ID law ("Act 23") "is a voter suppression law that burdens African-American and Latino voters most heavily [which]...results in them having 'less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice,' and, thereby, constitutes a denial and abridgment of their right to vote in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act."
The complaint in Jones, which was signed by attorney Charles T. Curtis, Jr. of Arnold & Porter, LLP, seeks to enjoin the implementation of Wisconsin's Act 23 and a declaration that it violates Section 2 of the VRA. When asked whether he contemplates seeking a preliminary injunction on the new law prior to the next election, Curtis was only able to tell The BRAD BLOG at this time that they "want to move the case as quickly as the Court will allow, and plan to request a pretrial conference to discuss motion and briefing schedules."
The additional question remains, however, will the U.S. DoJ defend federal law by opting to join this lawsuit as a plaintiff?...
[Now UPDATED with audio archives below! Enjoy 'em!]
Mike has the night off! So we're back tonight guest-hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show! And it's primary night in MI and AZ and we'll have not one, but two Presidential candidates as guests tonight!
We'll be BradCasting, as usual, LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
Scheduled tonight (so far):
MI & AZ PRIMARY RESULTS, or what they are reported to be, anyway. Also, just some of the reasons why you should be concerned that those reported results may not be what they are reported to be!
GOV. BUDDY ROEMER, who is on GOP Presidential ballot both MI & AZ tonight, but who has recently left the party for a Reform Party candidacy and a run for the Americans Elect nomination.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Maybe someone had a bit too much caffeine today. Well, in any case, it led to a pretty high energy show! And lots of circus music! You can check it all out now for yourself, sans commercials, in the high-octane archives now posted below. Enjoy!...
We recently detailed how legal documents reveal that prosecutors in Wisconsin are painstakingly examining evidence that may well place Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) at the center of a criminal conspiracy to illegally utilize employees within the Milwaukee County Executive Office to engage in fundraising and campaign activities. We observed that a recall may therefore be the least of Walker's worries.
The relationship between Walker's potential criminal liability and his recall vulnerability has not gone unnoticed by the WI Democratic Party. Asserting that Walker "has given a blizzard of contradictory statements about what he knew and when he knew it," WI Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate released an ad which refers to the pending criminal scandal as "Walkergate" (see video below) and draws an analogy to Richard Nixon's role in Watergate.
Simultaneously, the embattled governor on Monday abandoned his effort to challenge the more than one million signatures submitted on the Recall Walker petition...
Recall Walker ad comparing Scott Walker to Richard Nixon follows...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fox 'News' freaks out over The Lorax; Transcanada moves forward on Keystone XL pipeline, and moves against property owners; BP Oil Spill trial on hold; Using the courts to halt air pollution rules; PLUS: Game-changing battery breakthrough for electric cars ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Internal reports show Japan leaders feared "devil's chain reaction", Tokyo evacuation; Monsanto prevails in suit brought by organic growers; Record number of sea otter deaths; Wind Harvester breaks from traditional turbine design; Alliance seeks vast marine reserves in Antarctic; New study maps best/worst places for US renewables ... PLUS: The smoking gun connecting livestock antibiotics and the rise of 'superbugs' ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Tomorrow (Tuesday), there's yet another "make-or-break" set of Primaries for the GOP establishment's preferred front-runner Mitt Romney in both Arizona and his home-state of Michigan. While pre-election polls suggest Romney's the run-away favorite in AZ, he reportedly has only a marginal lead in MI. Should he lose that state tomorrow, his party, and their nomination process, could well descend into complete chaos (even more so than it already is.)
But here's the good news for Election Integrity fans keeping an eye on the race track for tomorrow's horse race: Both Arizona and Michigan allow all voters to vote on paper ballots at the polling place if they wish. So there's actually something to count that reflects the voters' intent.
The bad news: Rather than count those ballots, the states will run them through oft-failed, easily-manipulated optical-scan computer systems and report whatever it is that the computers announce as "the results."
While many Americans mistakenly place faith in these systems, a report in today's New York Daily News illustrates --- yet again --- how foolhardy that is. And this one is a doozy (yes, yet another one)...
And it also looks like the old adage --- It's Okay If You're a Republican (IOKIYAR) --- continues to ring true in the Hoosier State. Despite being the top election official in the very first state in the union to institute disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions, Charlie White has gotten off with a slap on the wrist, essentially, for three intentional voter fraud felonies, and the three others he was found guilty of as well.
His sentencing hearing was held last week. He pretended to be contrite before the judge (unlike when he appeared days earlier on Fox "News"), so it turns out he'll serve just one year in home detention for all of his crimes. The sentencing, naturally, has left him "elated."
The fates of other, less Republican, less high-ranking folks however, such as those who were prosecuted with the full force of the federal government during the George W. Bush Administration's unprecedented, if failed attempt to ferret out "voter fraud" crimes, were not quite as lucky. Unfortunately, they were used as fodder to help Republicans push for those polling place Photo ID laws (which would have failed to deter either them or White from committing voter fraud) by Bush's wholly politicized Dept. of Justice.
For folks like Wisconsin's Kimberly Prude and Florida's Usman Ali, to name just two examples of those who were caught in that buzz-saw, and who each committed far less egregious --- far far far less egregious --- crimes than those intentionally committed by White, the legal system was not nearly as kind.
Prude, who tried to rescind her own absentee vote before the 2004 election, immediately after learning from her probation officer that she was not allowed to vote --- despite never having served time in jail and being on felony probation for having passed a bad check four years earlier --- was forced to serve more than a year in prison. Ali, who never even voted at all, had it even worse. He was deported to Pakistan where he hadn't live in more than 10 years, destroying his life in this country for not just himself, but for his American wife and daughter as well.
I tell the whole story --- of White's virtually scot-free sentencing, as compared to Prude's and Ali's --- in my story today at Salon. Please give it a read.
As you might expect, the moral, once again, is: IOKIYAR.
I actually didn't mean this to be a commercial. I was simply going to share Mike Malloy's brief "Podcast Trivia" question from last Friday night's show since I found it so hilarious and a classic example of why a free world needs Mike Malloy.
In grabbing it from the archives to post the segment here, I also heard his earlier plea for folks to consider subscribing to the Mike Malloy Show podcasts to help the show continue to stay on the air. So I've tacked that to the front of the clip I'd planned to run here below.
I hope you willconsider subscribing, if only as a way to help support Progressive Radio over our public airwaves, since those airwaves have been, by and large, "bought" up by mega-corporations who have removed all true market competition from them (here's just one recent, appalling example), and we have a government either too cowardly or too corrupt to protect them for its citizenry.
So it's up to folks like you and me to do whatever we can. Thanks in advance for your help!
And now, here's the clip that had me LOL'ing on the way home from dinner last Friday night, along with the quick plea from Malloy added to the top. Don't worry. The whole thing is barely four minutes long...
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a regular guest host for the Mike Malloy Show, and will be filling in once again this Tuesday night (9p-Mid ET), on the night of the Michigan and Arizona primaries. If the gods are with us, I'll have not one, but two different Presidential candidates as my guests that night! So I hope you'll tune in! As ever, we'll have streaming audio links (and a live chat room) during showtime right here at The BRAD BLOG, if you're not lucky enough to live in a town where you can hear Mike Malloy, for free, over our public airwaves (or haven't chosen to pay money to hear him on SiriusXM's channel 127.)
Well, golly, who coulda seen this coming? And I suspect it's just the beginning...
Tuesday was the official launch of Wisconsin’s new Voter-I.D. law, with citizens now required to present a photo-identification card in order to cast a ballot in the primaries for local elections. And as it turns out, one man refused to vote, because he was so angry that his card from the Department of Veterans Affairs was not on the approved list.
As the Racine Journal Times reported, 69-year old veteran Gil Paar was shocked when poll workers told him his photo I.D. from the V.A. wasn’t on the accepted list. They then asked him if he had a driver’s license — which he did — but he instead refused to show it and left the precinct. “Basically I was trying to make a point,” Paar told the paper. “I gave them four years of my life, why shouldn’t I be able to use my vet’s card?”
As the paper reports, the state election officials explain that the way the law was written, a military-related I.D. must be issued by a uniform service — which does not include the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bottom line: For whatever the reason might be, whether intentional or an accident, V.A. cards were not included on the list.
Paar also explained that he sees a serious problem: “There’s a possibility that a veteran could have only this type of I.D., because he’s had a stroke, let’s say, up at the V.A. hospital. And because of that, he had his driver’s license taken away. So case in point, he would have only this Veterans Administration I.D. through the hospital.
“And they’re telling me I can’t use it, I couldn’t use it. this is not right. you’ve got a guy who serves, does his time in the Air Force, or Army or the Navy, and then he comes home and can’t vote? What the f—- did I go in for?”
There were other similar stories Tuesday, during the first full roll-out of the Wisconsin GOP's new anti-voter law, passed disingenuously under the guise of curbing "voter fraud". And Tuesday's was just a tiny election. For example, this from Isthmus' The Daily Page...
Melanie Sax and other poll workers recognized the longtime voter. They also found her name and address in the poll book. But she did not have a photo ID for Tuesday's primary so she could not vote.
"She was fairly recently in a car accident and couldn't make it to the DOT to get a Wisconsin ID," said Sax, the chief elections inspector at the polling location at Trinity United Methodist Church on Vilas Avenue. The woman, who does not drive, has neither a driver's license nor a state ID.
That woman was Marge Curtin, 62, who has been living and voting in the Vilas Avenue area for some 40 years. In fact, one of her good friends, whom she met while a nursing student at St. Marys in the 1960s, was working the polls Tuesday.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: GOP presidential crazy train stops in Fantasy Land on gas prices; Big Oil fights to keep its taxpayer subsidies; Mine official charged in WV mine disaster; Canadian government 'suppressing science'; PLUS: Mutant two-headed trout ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GOP Not Listening to Its Own Scientists on Climate Change; What Cleantech Bust?; Utilities Blowing Smoke on Coal-Plant Retirements; World's Oceans Get an Acid Bath; Canada's Tar Sands So Destructive It Makes Its Well-Paid Workers Want to Quit; Army Corps brings back streamlined strip-mine permits; Radiation detected 400 miles off Japanese coast... PLUS: Analyst: Recycle All You Want, The Planet Won't Notice ... and much, MUCH more! ...
While the GOP and its operatives have been on a tear over the last year (and many more), falsely claiming an epidemic of Democratic "voter fraud" meriting the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal (and mostly Democratic) voters through polling place Photo ID restriction laws in order stop it, the recent spate of actual voter fraud by high profile Republicans --- both alleged-with-much-evidence and actually-proven-in-a-court-of-law --- continues apace.
And, like White, those draconian laws did absolutely nothing to stop Lugar from apparently committing voter fraud under the law, since the only type of voter fraud potentially deterred by polling place Photo ID laws are the incredibly rare cases of in-person polling place impersonation. Where voter fraud occurs to any measurable extent, it is in cases like Lugar's, White's, and all of the GOP superstars we'll remind you of again below.
The allegations against Lugar, who has been registered to vote at a house he has not lived in since 1977, were detailed quickly Tuesday night on the Rachel Maddow Show. A complaint against Lugar has been filed by a group of Indiana "Tea Partiers" challenging his eligibility for office, as publicized last week by Lugar's primary opponent in the 2012 election, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
Maddow's report, embedded below, was the prelude to her interview with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders is one of four non-Republican U.S. Senators who have now requested a study by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the problem of "voter fraud" in this nation, particularly in the 14 states where Republican legislatures have recently passed polling place Photo ID restrictions under the pretense of stopping it. If that study finds what all of the other legitimate ones have found to date, we'll learn yet again how extraordinarily rare in-person voter fraud is and, at the same time, how many thousands and/or millions of Americans stand to be disenfranchised by the very laws that Republicans pretend are meant to deter it.
Here's her report...
And, by way of service to those who may yet to have noticed, here again is an update of our quick summary of the recent (and quickly growing!) spate of serious fraud allegations and convictions of a number of very high-profile Republicans other than Lugar. The list, please note, also includes several of this year's GOP candidates currently vying for the party's nomination for President of the United States...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Gas prices hit record high on Iran-Israel tension; Shell one step closer to Arctic drilling; Update on 'DenialGate' - the fallout continues for the rightwing Heartland Institute; PLUS: Rick Santorum goes biblical on climate science ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Settlement talks pick up ahead of BP Oil Spill trial; WI: New mining bill proven to mislead the public; Record flooding in Chile dislodges landmines; EPA: Low doses of Dioxin risky but most people safe; Dow agrees to clean dioxin-tainted properties; Chromium-6 in CA wells more than 1,000x above goal; Land-based pathogens discovered in marine mammals; Fracking industry buys Congress ... PLUS: Climate Forecast: 70% of U.S. Could face risk of water shortages by 2050 ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Brad Friedman has often compared the task of Election Integrity (EI) advocates to a game of Whac-A-Mole. One moment they expose an "it's the machines transparency, stupid" moment when the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touchscreens announced that the unemployed and virtually unknown Alvin Greene had somehow defeated the respected circuit judge and former state legislator Vic Rawl in the 2010 South Carolina Senate Democratic Primary. The next moment we learned that DC officials had planned a live experiment to use "an untested and unverifiable Internet Voting scheme on real voters, in a real election…" --- an experiment that Friedman described as "insane."
The now-legendary hack was carried out by a team of white-hat hackers, led by Univ. of MI Computer Science Prof. J. Alex Halderman. Within hours after D.C.'s 2010 Internet Voting scheme was opened to the world for a hack test (just days before it was scheduled to go live for the real thing), Halderman and his team of U. of M. students found and exploited a vulnerability which gave his group almost total control of the server software, allowing them to rewrite every single ballot and even take over command of the security cameras inside the D.C. server room. Team Halderman not only acquired the ability to change votes and install the Univ. of MI fight song to be played at the end of every vote cast, but discovered and thwarted an intrusion attempt by Chinese and Iranian computers.
Disturbingly, the new PBS documentary also reveals that, despite the spectacular failure and warnings from virtually every computer science and security expert, election and Pentagon officials are still pressing forward with what MIT Prof. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Ronald L. Rivest describes, as seen in the short PBS report, as an "oxytopian" solution. "'Secure Internet voting,'" Rivest charges, "is a bit like the phrase 'safe cigarettes'"...
WASHINGTON (CN) - Former U.S Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod's lawsuit against right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart survived a motion to dismiss, clearing the way for her to pursue the high-profile defamation suit she filed against him and a colleague last year.
Sherrod Sued Breitbart and associate Larry O'Connor in February 2011, charging the two men posted a heavily editor clip of her online that led to accusations of racism and ultimately got her fired.
Breitbart filed his motion under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act, which provides that if a defendant can show the claim at issue arises from an act in furtherance of the right to free speech - and if the it is also related to an issue of public concern-he can file a special motion to dismiss.
But in a terse decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon tossed the motion...
After the full context of the video became known, and that she was actually relating a story from which she had learned a lesson decades earlier, Breitbart continued lying about it, claiming he had only charged racism among the NAACP, not Sherrod. He claimed the short video clip offered evidence that they, not she, was racist, despite the quotes from his article, and the headline which is still: "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism-2010".
Breitbart's Sherrod deception (see Media Matters' complete timeline here) resulted in her firing by the White House which, as they similarly did in the ACORN case, failed to review the full context of the deceptively presented material before tossing her under the bus and forcing her to resign. The White House eventually apologized and asked her to come back. She declined and then filed her defamation suit against Breitbart. They never made good, however, on having signed the federal bill that eventually destroyed ACORN, the four-decade old community organization which legally registered millions of low- and middle-income voters to vote, legally helped them receive loans to purchase houses, and fought back, for years, against the very predatory lending practices by the vulture capitalists who eventually tanked the global economy.
It was "standing room only" in the combined supercaucus in Washington County, Maine today, according to the Bangor Daily News. The paper reports "Ron Paul scores big wins in Hancock and Washington counties," the two counties which had yet to hold all of their caucuses before Maine's hapless, attempted vote suppressor and state GOP Chair Charlie Webster prematurely announced Mitt Romney the "winner" of the state caucuses by just 194 votes one week ago tonight.
But, according to both the paper's tallies and the state party's, Paul's pickups today were not enough to top Romney, as one more town has yet to caucus (Castine is currently scheduled for March 3), and as revised results, posted by the state GOP late last night, continue to be scrutinized...