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Author Topic: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc.  (Read 213212 times)
Power User
Posts: 42467

« Reply #200 on: November 17, 2010, 11:42:16 AM »

The race to determine who will be the attorney general of California is still too close to call. Democrat Kamala Harris, San Francisco's district attorney, leads Republican Steve Cooley, the DA for Los Angeles County, by 31,000 votes out of nearly nine million cast. And there are more than 750,000 ballots left to count.

The tabulation process has led to a full-fledged food fight between the candidates and has roped in Dean Logan, the controversial voter registrar of Los Angeles County. Ms. Harris claims that Cooley officials have crowded election workers "and aggressively attempt(ed) to have ballots disqualified" in Los Angeles County. Cooley aides counter that election workers in Los Angeles are being far too sloppy in comparing signatures on provisional ballots with voter registration cards on file for that person. They allege that in some instances no comparison is being made.

Attorneys for Mr. Cooley also complain that county workers are contacting voters by phone to fill out incomplete voter registration forms in order that their provisional ballots can be made legal, a step that's not part of the county's written procedures for counting ballots. They also claim that Mr. Logan's staff has held private meetings with Harris representatives and given them access to rejected provisional ballots.

Mr. Logan rejects all of the allegations. "I don't believe there's been anything raised at this point that is a significant concern," he told the Los Angeles Times. But Mr. Logan made similar soothing statements in 2004 when he presided over one of the great meltdowns of U.S. elections during his previous tenure as elections chief of King County, Washington, which includes Seattle. The Washington governor's race that year entered the ranks of electoral infamy when Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared the winner over Republican Dino Rossi by 132 votes out of 2.7 million cast after three recounts.

The mess in those recounts made the Florida 2000 battle look orderly. In King County alone, there were more than 3,500 unaccounted-for ballots or voters. Some precincts had more ballots than voters, for a total of 2,900 extra ballots. Other precincts have more voters than ballots, for a total of 800 extra voters.

Other irregularities abounded. The Seattle Times reported that 129 felons illegally voted in King and Pierce counties. Some 55,000 optical-scan ballots (on which the voter marks a bubble) in King County were "enhanced" so that the voters' supposed intent could be determined, with no uniform standard governing the process. And in an eerie parallel to Mr. Cooley's complaints in the AG race in California, National Review noted that at least 348 provisional King County ballots — which were supposed to be closely inspected to see if they were legitimate — were directly fed into machines and counted. Bob Williams of Washington state's Evergreen Freedom Foundation concluded that Mr. Logan was guilty of "practiced incompetence" in his unwillingness to follow proper recount procedures.

In July, 2005 the King County Independent Task Force on Elections, a body set up to probe the county's vote-counting problems, concluded that Mr. Logan was "ill equipped" to make the changes needed to restore public trust and confidence in elections. A year later, Mr. Logan quietly resigned to take his new job in Los Angeles County.

Mr. Logan's track record should raise concerns that proper procedures for vote counting are once again not being fully followed in California's AG race. If prompt action to ensure the integrity of the election process isn't taken now, we may see calls for Los Angeles County to appoint its own task force to investigate Mr. Logan's "practiced incompetence."

Power User
Posts: 15532

« Reply #201 on: December 02, 2010, 03:07:32 PM »

Pigford and New Black Panthers: Friends at DOJ
by J. Christian Adams

At the Justice Department, one man has played a central role in two of the most controversial racialist policies of the Obama Administration – Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli.  This bundler of huge campaign contributions for the Obama Campaign is now the second highest ranking Presidential appointee at the Justice Department.  Perrelli is best known for his central role in dismissing the slam dunk voter intimidation case brought and dropped against the New Black Panther Party.  But the leftist Perrelli has outdone himself.

This week, the House passed a $4.6 billion payout to American Indians and black farmers as part of a settlement of alleged race discrimination claims. has reported extensively, on the “Pigford II” settlement and how it promotes fraud.  Worse than fraud, it represents a race-driven political payoff by the Obama Administration to a favored political constituency.

Nothing happens in Washington like the Pigford settlement without the Justice Department.  The DOJ, acting as the nation’s law firm, was intimately involved in piloting the Pigford settlement through Congress and reaching similar settlements with other identity politics plaintiffs.  Perrelli ran the show at Justice in all of these efforts.

In fact, a large portion of  the settlement windfall escapes Congressional approval entirely because Perreilli’s shop at DOJ also approved a similar but separate settlement with Hispanic farmers. Instead of a Congressional appropriation, Hispanic farmers will be paid out of an existing “judgment fund.”

Like the black farmers, Hispanic farmers made claims of racial discrimination in the administration of Agriculture Department loans.  But Hispanic farmers added noisy street protests outside of the Justice Department’s headquarters.  No wonder Perrelli’s DOJ made a settlement offer of $1.3 billion in this lawsuit.  And over $680 million will flow to Indian claimants as part of the Perrelli approved “Keepseagle” lawsuit settlement.

Billions of taxpayer dollars will now flow to black, Hispanic, women and Indian farmers, or those who thought about farming.  In the administration of the original Pigford settlement in the 1990’s, even city dwellers who never farmed received payouts.  After all, the “discriminatory” policies discouraged them from becoming farmers.

The Justice Department usually plays hardball when it comes to monetary settlements.  In fact, the DOJ lawyers, including Perrelli, have an ethical obligation to protect the interests of the United States.  But like the New Black Panther dismissal, none of old rules apply anymore.

Change means change.

Perrelli became the administration cheerleader for a colossal payout to the Hispanic, Indian and black farmer claimants.  And just like the Pigford and Keepseagle claimants, the New Black Panthers seemed to have friends in high places inside Justice.

Perrelli played the central role in rushing a resolution to these claims before the Republicans took control of the purse strings in January.  Instead of fighting hard to limit the exposure of the United States, the claimants had a fellow traveler on the opposite side of the negotiating table.

Similarly, Perrelli was behind the dismissal of the already won DOJ case against the New Black Panthers who organized and ran an armed voter intimidation effort the day Obama was elected. Justice officials acted as advocates for the New Black Panthers more than they sought to protect the ballot box from armed thugs.

Did Perrelli’s zeal to have the case dismissed have anything to do with the New Black Panther’s endorsement of candidate Obama during the primaries?

Judicial Watch sued the DOJ under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain Black Panther documents.  They uncovered stacks of emails between Perrelli and his top political lieutenants supervising the lawsuit.  They reveal Justice Department political appointees, including Perrelli, intimately involved behind the scenes in driving the dismissal.

Of course the documents contradict testimony given under oath over and over again to Congress and the Civil Rights Commission that only career civil servants were involved in the dismissal.  This accuracy-challenged testimony came from both Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez.

Perrelli was the Justice official most responsible for the sketchy windfall settlements to black, Indian and Hispanic farmers.   Instead of protecting the interests of the United States, he helped line the pockets of the President’s closest political allies.  This is hardly surprising to anyone who followed Perrelli’s central role in ensuring that the New Black Panthers escaped sanctions for armed voter intimidation.  You can’t beat having friends in high places.
Power User
Posts: 15532

« Reply #202 on: March 02, 2011, 07:39:32 AM »

Eric Holder: Black Panther case focus demeans 'my people'

Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.

Holder's frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.

The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

"Think about that," Holder said. "When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia, which was describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people," said Holder, who is black.

Holder noted that his late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, helped integrate the University of Alabama.

"To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, to say some Black Panther incident is of greater concern to us, historically, I think just flies in the face of history," Holder said with evident exasperation.

In a series of questions and comments earlier in the hearing, Culberson insisted that race had infected the decision-making process. "There’s clearly overwhelming evidence that your Department of Justice refuses to protect the rights of anybody other than African-Americans to vote," the Texas Republican said. "There's a double standard here."
Power User
Posts: 9464

« Reply #203 on: March 14, 2011, 10:35:32 AM »

This might as well go under corruption since that is what is implied when we chart lobbying dollars against subsidies won.

a) Oil drilling is banned nearly everywhere in and around this country while we drive, fly and transport products everyday.  It isn't necessarily a special favor sought to petition the government for the right to ask nicely for their industry to be legalized or to argue against banning it.  If congress has the power to close your business, it seems you might have some right to ask them not to.  The less cynical view is that these policies we make are based on the political views of the elected officials and the electorate more than from comparing piles of lobby dollars, but who knows..  My bias is toward legalizing production until we are ready to prohibit consumption.

b) Much of what were described as subsidies to the oil industry were in fact rules that allowed monies disbursed (sometimes called business expenses) to be counted against monies taken in to calculate taxable income.  There are technical accounting issues at stake here that could easily be settled with a simpler tax code for all companies.  Every company and industry fights to sort out what needs to be expensed over its useful life and what is expensed as it is incurred and paid.  Considering congress' and the administration's willingness to shut down any and all energy production at any time and with every news story, I would think any assumption that an investment has a productive life beyond the current fiscal year is fatally flawed.  My leaning is toward equal protection under the law, a bizarre concept that, if tried, would drastically reduce special interest lobbying of all types.

c) The slanted journalistic conclusion that oil companies pay low taxes always seems to ignore that we excise the f*ck out of their product at the pump.  This is money the consumer is willing to pay that the producer does not receive, in what way is that not a tax on the oil and gas industry?  The idea that it goes directly and exclusively to roads used begins to remind me of the social security lockbox.  In years where where anti-energy interest groups allege an oil company has paid absolutely no tax, they always ignore the plethora of other taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, state taxes, employment taxes etc.etc.  Just the need to lobby is a tax on the system IMO.
Power User
Posts: 15532

« Reply #204 on: March 14, 2011, 10:47:08 AM »

Businesses do not pay taxes, no matter how hard the politicians might try. Consumers pay the taxes on the businesses imposed by politicians.

"Sock it to the eeeeeevil oil companies! Hey, why is gas so expensive???"
Power User
Posts: 15532

« Reply #205 on: March 22, 2011, 12:39:01 PM »

Former SEIU official demanded action to destabilize banking system, overthrow capitalism
Power User
Posts: 42467

« Reply #206 on: April 07, 2011, 03:32:10 PM »

Pasting this here from the Union thread.  Lets use this thread for discussing Wisconsin election.

On Fox it is pointed out that in Wisconsin one of six states to allow voter registration the same day as election day.  You needn't show valid ID.  A "neighbor" can simply act as a witness vouching for you.  We will not hear a peep from Jimmy Carter who flies around the world pretending he is watching for voter fraud. 

***Officials throughout Wisconsin were conducting their county canvasses on Thursday, the final review of voting records that will allow the state to certify this week's closely watched elections.

But the certification, which could come Thursday, is unlikely to bring closure in the passionately fought contest for a seat on the state Supreme Court, where union-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg leads over incumbent David Prosser by just 204 votes and a recount is virtually inevitable.

It would be the first statewide recount in Wisconsin in more than 20 years and could begin next week if Prosser, a former Republican member of the assembly, requests it.

To help officials prepare for it, the state's Government Accountability Board sent out a memo on Wednesday to county clerks and members of Milwaukee's county election commission.

The memo stressed that local officials needed to "maintain all memory device and programing for the April 5, 2011 Spring Election in its original form. Please do not erase and transfer memory devices."

"We are in unprecedented times in many respects," the memo read, "but particularly with regard to a potential statewide recount, which has not occurred since 1989 ... A thorough completion of the County Board of Canvass at this time may reconcile inconsistencies and issues that will likely save you time and effort in the pending recount process."

With 100 percent of the state's precincts reporting, and all absentee, provisional and write-in votes tallied, Kloppenburg, an assistant state attorney specializing in environmental affairs, had edged out Prosser 740,090 votes to 739,886, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper and WTMJ-TV.

Kloppenburg insisted throughout the race that she would be an impartial and independent judge if elected to the high court.

But the contest was widely seen as a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walker and controversial curbs on collective bargaining he and his GOP allies in the legislature recently passed.

Because Prosser is a Republican who had expressed support for Walker last fall, opponents of the anti-union measure characterized him as a proxy for the governor and his anti-union policies, which have triggered massive protests here and 16 recall campaigns targeting lawmakers who supported and opposed the measure.

Under Wisconsin law, for a recount to take place Prosser would have to request it, which he is expected to do.

The costs of a recount are covered by the state if the vote difference is less than one half of 1 percent. The results from the Kloppenburg-Prosser contest fall well within that range.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher)

Power User
Posts: 7827

« Reply #207 on: April 08, 2011, 04:22:14 PM »

Well it seemed the crats were ahead by 200.  Obviously they were preparing to gather thousands of fradualant union workers to show up register and vote the same day.
Who would not think they wouldn't go busing in people from out of state for this purpose?

I wonder if the Repubs held back these votes 7,500 till the last minute in order to prevent Crat fraud - rushing to bring in phoney voters at the last minute to overcome the vote deficit.  Just a thought.

In any case the election results are great news.  The demagogues at MSLSD last night were less than smiling all night and ignored this story and clogged the station with ranting about Glenn Beck instead.

Let's hope this is only the first success in a long line of reversals culminating on taking back the Senate and White House.

Was the Wisconsin Supreme Court election really 'stolen'?
ShareretweetEmailPrint– Fri Apr 8, 11:04 am ET
New York – Democrats cry foul after the discovery of 14,000 misplaced ballots hands near-certain victory to Republican David Prosser

The Democratic battle to elect a liberal judge who could help strike down Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union law in Wisconsin's Supreme Court has been dealt a serious blow after a batch of misplaced votes handed almost certain victory to the Republican candidate. The election between Republican Justice David Prosser and his Democratic challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, failed to produce a clear winner on Tuesday, but a Republican county clerk admitted Thursday night that she'd overlooked 14,000 votes in her district. While the "lost" votes give Prosser a 7,582-vote lead over Kloppenburg, the incident has triggered suspicions of electoral fraud, even though county Democrats affirmed the votes' veracity. Was the Wisconsin election stolen?

Yes. The GOP rigged this election: It's no coincidence that this "clerical error" gave Prosser almost the exact number of votes that he needed to avoid a state-funded recount, says Cieran at The Daily Kos. The Wisconsin GOP obviously figured they'd "add a few extra votes in a friendly area," and "steal the election." This "attempted fraud" must not be allowed to stand. A recount would reveal their shady tactics.
"Why Prosser needed EXACTLY +7500 votes"

Democrats are just being sore losers: This "conspiracy theory" doesn't hold much water, says William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. The vote canvassing isn't finished, so the "spread could change" yet. If the GOP was really "targeting the precise number needed" to nix a recount, the plan "unfolded way too early." You can't blame the Dems for trying, though. "If a Democratic clerk found 7,500 votes for Kloppenburg, we'd be screaming bloody murder." 
"They have not thought through the conspiracy theory"

The clerk did act suspiciously, though: Kathy Nickolaus, the county clerk in question, has a "history of secretive and erratic handling" of results, says John Nichols at The Nation. She was responsible for skewed results in a 2006 Assembly race, and tallies votes on her home computer. What's more, she "apparently knew of this 'mistake' for 29 hours before reporting it." Who needs a conspiracy theory? "The facts raise the questions."
"GOP clerk 'finds' votes to reverse defeat of conservative Wisconsin justice"

Well, this kind of mistake is not unprecedented: So Nickolaus apparently "has some history of human error when it comes to managing vote databases," says John Hayward at Human Events. That doesn't mean she's a "vote-manufacturing tool of the Koch brothers." Given the "primitive voting system" used in Wisconsin, we shouldn't really be surprised. This error should be recognized for what it was: a simple mistake. 
"Wisconsin fallout"

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14 CommentsShow:  Newest FirstOldest FirstHighest RatedMost Replied    Post a Comment Comments 1 - 10 of 14FirstPrevNextLast3 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this commentRWolf 1 hour ago Report Abuse We need a whistle blowers reward for voter fraud. A significant reward tied to automatic jail time for the person or persons committing the fraud. They get jail time you get reward.
I know it must take a special low life type person to do it, but as far as I am concerned people who use the mentally disabled to cast votes are committing voter fraud and should receive at least 6 months in jail and loose voting privileges for life. I don’t care what party they are with.
Replies (2)
1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this commentMike 24 minutes ago Report Abuse i wonder why no one cared when this happened with al franken?
2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this commentRobertM 45 minutes ago Report Abuse U.S. Justice Department needs to get involved. Perhaps Wisconsin also needs international election observers to determine whether or not future elections are fair, just like other 3rd world countries.
3 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this commentdocmellow 49 minutes ago Report Abuse Ah. Poor democrats. They weren't smart enough in Wisconsin to steal the election like they did with Al Franken and all the suddenly found votes there that put him into office. Now the democrats are having it done to them and they don't like it. Boo Hoo for them.

What goes around comes around.
2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this commentSoothsayer 56 minutes ago Report Abuse The short answer is was NEARLY stolen before they found the missing votes. This kind of crap is ops normal for Democrats. Only surprise is that it didn't work.
5 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 5 users disliked this commentRWolf 1 hour ago Report Abuse Most likely the unions ran in several thousand from out of state anyway.
According to the news the Wis. Voting rules are pretty loose and with the unions that’s an open invitation. Acorn would be proud of them.
No telling how many people with Alzheimer’s cast votes for the Dem’s.
1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this commentderekk 1 hour ago Report Abuse it was stolen before they found the hidden votes.
5 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 6 users disliked this commentDanny 1 hour ago Report Abuse Aw, poor Wisconsin democraps. To bad they didn't have Acorn there signing up tombstone names like they did for Obama! Luckily for the Republicans, illegal immigrant voters are still to small a population to help the democraps steal elections! Hey democraps, quit screaming thief and look in the mirror for the real crooks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 6 users disliked this commentmredder4 1 hour ago Report Abuse It stinks to high heaven, and when something stinks, you get rid of it. Wisconsin voters will now need to look ahead to the next election that will allow them to address their issues with the GOP liars in office there. Rest assured, even if the results stand, this will only motivate Democrats further for 2012 when the broader electorate comes back to the polls and people are made aware of just how the GOP is running Wisconsin, through trickery and fraud.
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4 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 6 users disliked this commentcaldude1010101 1 hour ago Report Abuse It sure looks very suspicious and I'm not surprised the Dems are crying foul.

In CA, you have to sign a ledger before you vote stating that you are the person who resides at the specified address. Not sure if that applies in Wisconsin or not.

If so, match the number of signatures with the number of votes. If they equal, then there is no controversy.

If they don't equal, then every vote cast in that county should be thrown out.
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Power User
Posts: 42467

« Reply #208 on: April 10, 2011, 09:13:53 AM »

Democracy can be a messy business, but it shouldn't be as big a mess at it's been this week in Wisconsin. A nail-biter of a state supreme court election turned into a political uproar on Thursday with the discovery of 14,000 previously overlooked votes in conservative-leaning Waukesha County. The new totals gave incumbent Justice David Prosser a lead of some 7,500 votes over challenger and union favorite JoAnne Kloppenburg and guaranteed weeks if not months of more political heartburn.

Democrats pounced on the new totals, claiming the error must be evidence of partisanship, and state assembly minority leader Peter Barca suggested that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus's long-time Republican affiliation made the incident "troubling." He's right on competence grounds, though perhaps not on the partisanship. One of Ms. Nickolaus's Democratic colleague attests that overlooking all of the votes in Brookfield, a Milwaukee suburb, was a computer mistake, not a fraud, and that the vote count is accurate.

We're glad to hear it, but the sudden appearance of thousands of missing votes takes place in a hyperpartisan environment with mistrust already high. Before the disappearing ballots were discovered, Ms. Kloppenburg had made a speech declaring victory. Wisconsin voters will rightly wonder how someone could overlook all of the votes in a major suburb.

Democracy requires trust to work, and GOP Governor Scott Walker would be wise to call for an independent review of what happened, as well as hearings on the state's election system. Wisconsin's same-day registration laws have already created a low bar for voter identification that increases the opportunity for fraud. The vote counting technology and process also need an upgrade.

Some will say that county clerks who supervise elections should be nonpartisan, but the lack of labels can merely disguise partisanship. Some on the right and left will say judges shouldn't have to endure elections, but the problem here wasn't who was on the ballot but how the ballots were counted. Retention elections are one way voters can keep the judiciary accountable. If judges want to avoid elections, then they should accept term limits.

Mr. Walker has become union enemy number one after his reforms to government collective bargaining, though Mr. Prosser's apparent victory shows the argument is far from settled. The Governor can now use the Waukesha blunder as an opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to restore public trust in elections.

« Reply #209 on: April 22, 2011, 04:59:42 PM »

New Evidence on the Costs of Mandating Disclosure

Posted by John Samples

Over the next few years, most arguments about campaign finance regulation will be about extending mandated disclosure to some of the independent spending freed up by the Citizens United decision.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, James L. Huffman offers a unique perspective on mandated disclosure: he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate last year. He argues that mandated disclosure means incumbents know who funded the campaigns of their challengers.  Incumbents do not have to actually threaten anyone; disclosure plus circumstances means a cautious businessperson will stay clear of electoral participation. Huffman also claims that some people who might have contributed to his campaign heard from associates of his opponent who said contributing to Huffman might be a bad idea.

We have heard such testimony before about the malign effects of disclosure. George Soros said some potential contributors to his efforts to unseat former President George W. Bush stayed on the sidelines because of concerns about publicity (see James V. Grimaldi and Thomas B. Edsall, “Super Rich Step Into Political Vacuum; McCain-Feingold Paved Way for 527s” The Washington Post, October 17, 2004).  Now we have a Senate candidate citing “dozens” of examples of a similar chilling of political speech.

Some might think incumbent protection is no longer a problem since 69 House seats changed hands in 2010 (and a similar number in the two previous House elections). If you think that, please recall that the House has 435 seats, all of which could potentially change hands. Yes, the advantages of incumbency have become somewhat smaller in recent years. But those advantages remain significant, and disclosure does increase the risk of contributing to a challenger, especially when the odds are overwhelming that those now in office will win re-election.

What should be done? Huffman notes that many Americans consider mandated disclosure to be all benefits and no costs. We might begin by gaining a more realistic view of the disclosure calculus. That more realistic view should include the costs of disclosure including lower participation and the ways mandated disclosure make public debates more irrational. At a minimum, existing disclosure thresholds should be dramatically raised. Forcing disclosure of the names of those who contribute less than $1,000 serves no public purpose.

We also should not mandate disclosure of the names of those who support speech independently of candidates and the parties. The only justification for such a mandate would be educating the voters. In other words, voters are thought to look for cues about who to vote for by considering who spends money on speech favoring a candidate. Does that seem plausible? If not, forced disclosure of independent spenders would not be constitutional. If Congress nonetheless enacts disclosure for independent spending, the U.S. Supreme Court should rigorously consider both the end served by such laws and the relationship between the means of disclosure to that end. Does disclosure of independent spending really educate any voters? If so, what about the costs to free speech identified by Professor Huffman? Once we set aside conventional pieties, does forcing people to tell government officials about their political activities really offer much to nation? Or does such coercion do little more than indulge those who equate politics with the pleasures of preaching hatred of those they despise?

Last year I wrote a Cato policy analysis of the justifications for disclosure after Citizens United.
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« Reply #210 on: May 23, 2011, 07:40:32 AM »

On Thursday, the Wisconsin legislature sent a bill requiring photographic identification for voting to Gov. Scott Walker's desk. This follows the enactment of an even stricter law in Kansas a few weeks ago.

Drafted by my office, Kansas's Secure and Fair Elections Act combined three elements: (1) a requirement that voters present photo IDs when they vote in person; (2) a requirement that absentee voters present a full driver's license number and have their signatures verified; and (3) a proof of citizenship requirement for all newly registered voters. Although a few states, including Georgia, Indiana and Arizona, have enacted one or two of these reforms, Kansas is the only state to enact all three.

Other states are moving in the same direction. The Texas legislature sent a photo-ID bill to Gov. Rick Perry's desk last Monday. And next year Missouri voters will get a chance to vote on a photo-ID requirement.

Immediately after the Kansas law was signed in April, critics cried foul. They argued that voter fraud isn't significant enough to warrant such steps, that large numbers of Americans don't possess photo IDs, and that such laws will depress turnout among the poor and among minorities. They are wrong on all three counts.

Voter fraud is a well-documented reality in American elections. To offer a few examples, a 2010 state representative race in Kansas City, Mo. was stolen when one candidate, J.J. Rizzo, allegedly received more than 50 votes illegally cast by citizens of Somalia. The Somalis, who didn't speak English, were coached to vote for Mr. Rizzo by an interpreter at the polling place. The margin of victory? One vote.

In Kansas, 221 incidents of voter fraud were reported between 1997 and 2010. The crimes included absentee-ballot fraud, impersonation of another voter, and a host of other violations. Because voter fraud is extremely difficult to detect and is usually not reported, the cases that we know about likely represent a small fraction of the total.

My office already has found 67 aliens illegally registered to vote in Kansas, but when the total number is calculated, it will likely be in the hundreds. In Colorado, the Secretary of State's office recently identified 11,805 aliens illegally registered to vote in the state, of whom 4,947 cast a ballot in the 2010 elections.

View Full Image

 .Evidence of voter fraud is present in all 50 states, and public confidence in the integrity of elections is at an all-time low. In the Cooperative Congressional Election Study of 2008, 62% of American voters thought that voter fraud was very common or somewhat common.

Fear that elections are being stolen erodes the legitimacy of our government. That's why the vast majority of Americans support laws like Kansas's Secure and Fair Elections Act. A 2010 Rasmussen poll showed that 82% of Americans support photo ID laws. Similarly, a 2011 Survey USA poll of Kansas voters showed that 83% support proof-of-citizenship requirements for voter registration.

Critics of these laws nevertheless make outrageous arguments against them. New York University's Brennan Center, which stridently opposes all photo ID laws, claims that a whopping 11% of the American voting-age public—that means tens of millions of people—don't possess a photo ID. It bases this number on a survey it conducted in 2006.

However, we don't have to rely on implausible estimates when the actual numbers are readily available. In Kansas, my office obtained the statistics, and they tell a very different story. According to the 2010 census, there are 2,126,179 Kansans of voting age. According to the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles, 2,156,446 Kansans already have a driver's license or a non-driver ID. In other words, there are more photo IDs in circulation than there are eligible voters. The notion that there are hundreds of thousands of voters in Kansas (or any other state) without photo IDs is a myth.

Carrying a photo ID has become a part of American life. You can't cash a check, board a plane, or even buy full-strength Sudafed over the counter without one. That's why it's not unreasonable to require one in order to protect our most important privilege of citizenship. But just in case any person lacks a photo ID, Kansas's law provides a free state ID to anyone who needs one. Other states have included similar provisions in their photo-ID laws.

Some opponents of election security laws also declare that they are part of a sinister plot to depress voter registration and turnout, especially among minority voters who are more likely to vote Democrat. Here too the facts do not support the claim. Georgia's photo ID requirement was in place for both the 2008 and 2010 elections, when turnout among minority voters was higher than average. Likewise, Arizona's proof-of-citizenship requirement for registration has not impeded minority voters from registering.

If election security laws really were part of a Republican scheme to suppress Democratic votes, one would expect Democrats to fight such laws, tooth and nail. That didn't happen in Kansas, where two-thirds of the Democrats in the House and three-fourths of the Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of the Secure and Fair Elections Act. They did so because they realize that fair elections protect every voter and every party equally.

No candidate, Republican or Democrat, wants to emerge from an election with voters suspecting that he didn't really win. Election security measures like the one in my state give confidence to voters and candidates alike that the system is fair.

Mr. Kobach is the Kansas secretary of state. He is also the co-author of Arizona's SB 1070 illegal immigration law and former Counsel to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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« Reply #211 on: May 23, 2011, 07:48:18 AM »

Funny how the left has no problem requiring ID for firearms purchases and state run healthcare that will require some sort of ID, but not voting.....

Gee, if I didn't know better, I'd think they were for voter fraud.  rolleyes
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« Reply #212 on: May 25, 2011, 08:21:28 AM »

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." --Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, 1781

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« Reply #213 on: May 27, 2011, 10:57:43 AM »

I would like to put this under progressivism but we already have a category for voter fraud.  Voter ID is a very important issue here brought to light in the Al Franken recount because it is illegal in a recount not to count again all the illegal votes that were cast.  As I wrote in my first post in this thread, when ACORN block workers tried to drag me in against my will to vote in South Minneapolis where I did not live, they had people on the block already setup to vouch for me.  No identification, pre-registration or anything else is required. Unlike the questioning techniques used by Israeli El Al airlines, MN election judges use an on-site registration scrutiny technique called Minnesota-nice.   Ballots are available in English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, and people who will vouch for you are standing by.
New MN Governor vetoes Voter ID bill.
John Hinderacker at Powerline:

In 2010, control over Minnesota's government flipped: Republicans captured both the Minnesota House and Senate, while Democrat Mark Dayton replaced Tim Pawlenty as governor. The Republican legislature passed legislation to reform the state's voting system, in part by requiring photo identification. The law provided for issuance of free voter IDs to any legitimate voters who, for whatever reason, have no driver's license or other form of identification. Minnesotans, aware that voter fraud has likely played a key role in recent elections, overwhelmingly support the law: the Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll, which routinely tilts left, found 80 percent support.

Nevertheless, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill yesterday. That a Democratic governor is willing to fly in the face of overwhelming public opinion, even as he is fighting a budget battle with the legislature that likely will lead to a slowdown in state government, says volumes about where the Democratic Party stands on the issue of voter fraud.

In 2008, Minnesota Republicans were traumatized by the Coleman-Franken race, which Al Franken eventually won by a few hundred votes. National attention focused on the recount, which was scrupulously fair. The problem was that, as with any recount, all you can do is count for a second time the votes that were cast illegally on election day. I have no doubt that more legal voters voted for Norm Coleman than Al Franken, but once the ballots are in the box, there is nothing that can be done. Hence the urgency of the voter ID law.

Until now, Minnesota has had lax laws that facilitate voter fraud. Not only does the state have same-day registration, there is also an absurd system whereby a resident of a precinct can "vouch" for as many as 15 people who are not registered in the precinct and have no identification that would otherwise allow them to register. This means that the Democrats can station an operative at a polling place, bus in students from Wisconsin, illegal immigrants, etc., and allow them to vote illegally by having their operative vouch for the whole busload.

For many years, Republicans have been trying to tighten up Minnesota's voting laws to prevent voter fraud. But they have never been able to get such a bill through the legislature, since the DFL has controlled the state's Senate since Senate races were first made partisan. This year, for the first time, the Republicans are in a position to carry out the will of the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans by reforming an electoral system that is designed to encourage fraud. The fact that the Governor Dayton felt compelled to veto those reforms confirms that voter fraud remains a significant component of the Democratic Pary's electoral strategy.
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« Reply #214 on: May 29, 2011, 09:27:06 AM »

MIAMI — Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules.

Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas signed laws last week that would require each voter to show an official, valid photo ID to cast a ballot, joining Kansas and South Carolina.

In Florida, which already had a photo law, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill this month to tighten restrictions on third-party voter registration organizations — prompting the League of Women Voters to say it would cease registering voters in the state — and to shorten the number of early voting days. Twelve states now require photo identification to vote.

The battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania are among those moving ahead on voter ID bills, part of a trend that seems likely to intensify the kind of pitched partisan jousting over voting that has cropped up in recent presidential races.

When voters in predominantly black neighborhoods in Florida saw their votes challenged in the contested Bush-Gore election of 2000, Democrats made charges of disenfranchisement. (What Pravda on the Hudson forgets to mention here is that-- if I have this right-- the previous mayoralty election in Miami was voided due to vote fraud.) In 2008 Acorn, a group organizing minority and low-income communities, became a particular target, with Republicans asserting that Acorn was trying to steal the election with large voter-registration drives, some of which were found to be seriously flawed.

Democrats, who point to scant evidence of voter-impersonation fraud,  say the unified Republican push for photo identification cards carries echoes of the Jim Crow laws — with their poll taxes and literacy tests — that inhibited black voters in the South from Reconstruction through the 1960s. Election experts say minorities, poor people and students — who tend to skew Democratic — are among those least likely to have valid driver’s licenses, the most prevalent form of identification. Older people, another group less likely to have licenses, are swing voters.

Republicans argue that the requirements are commonplace.

“If you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed, if you have to show a picture ID to get on an airplane, you should show a picture ID when you vote,” Gov. Nikki Haley said this month when she signed the bill into law in South Carolina, using a common refrain among Republicans.

Changes to voter law tend to flow and ebb with election cycles as both Democrats and Republicans scramble to gain the upper hand when they hold power. The 2010 midterm election was a boon to Republicans, who now control 59 chambers of state legislatures and 29 governorships. In some states, like Florida and Texas, Republicans hold overwhelming majorities. This has allowed the bills to move forward.

Republicans have tried for years to get photo identification requirements and other changes through legislatures, said Daniel Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University and an expert in election law. Similar bills were introduced over the past decade, but were largely derailed in the aftermath of a political battle over the Bush administration’s firing of several United States attorneys whom Republicans had criticized for failing to aggressively investigate voter fraud.

“That’s what really killed the momentum of more states’ enacting voter ID laws,” Mr. Tokaji said. “Now with the last elections, with the strong Republican majorities in a lot of states, we’re seeing a rejuvenation of the effort.”

Republicans say that large jumps in the immigrant population have also prompted them to act to safeguard elections.

“Over the last 20 years, we have seen Florida grow quite rapidly, and we have such a mix of populations,” said State Representative Dennis K. Baxley, the Florida Republican who wrote the law to tighten third-party registration here. “When we fail to protect every ballot, we disenfranchise people who participate legitimately.”

Taken together, the state-by-state changes are likely to have an impact on close elections, Mr. Tokaji said.


Page 2 of 2)

“Remarkably, most of these significant changes are going under the radar,” he added. “A lot of voters are going to be surprised and dismayed when they go to their polling place and find that the rules have changed.”

Most of the measures would require people to show a form of official, valid identification to vote. While driver’s licenses are the most common form, voters can also request free photo IDs from the Department of Motor Vehicles or use a passport or military identification, among other things.
But Democrats say thousands of people in each state do not have these. The extra step, they add, will discourage some voters who will have to pay to retrieve documents, like birth certificates, for proof to obtain a free card. If voters do not have the proper identification on Election Day, they can cast provisional ballots in most states but must return several days later to a local board of elections office with an ID.

A few state bills and laws also shave the number of early voting days, a move that Democrats say would impact Democratic voters once again. In the 2008 presidential election, a majority of those who cast early votes did so for President Obama. In Florida, the number of days is reduced but the number of hours remains the same.

Democrats point to state figures showing that there are few proven cases of voter impersonation (This is rather disingenuous; isn't the real issue phony registrations?) and question why budget-conscious Republicans would want to spend taxpayer dollars on a problem that is isolated.

“There is not one documented case that has been presented to us, and we had numerous hearings,” said race-baiting scum bag and State Senator Brad Hutto of South Carolina, a Democrat. “Republicans have to have some reason to do this because it doesn’t sound good to say, ‘We don’t want Latinos or African-Americans voting.’ ” 

But Republicans counter that detecting and proving voter impersonation is tricky under current law precisely because few states require photo identification. Plus, they add, there is no evidence that the requirement reduces minority participation. In Georgia, where photo IDs became a requirement in 2007, minorities voted in record numbers in 2008 and 2010.

Turnout among Hispanic voters jumped 140 percent in the state in 2008 and 42 percent among blacks compared with 2004, a change attributed in part to President Obama’s candidacy. Two years later, in the midterm election, turnout also rose among Hispanics and African-Americans, according to data from the Georgia secretary of state.

But with the presidential election campaign season already under way, Democrats say they are taking no chances. The Democratic Governors Association started a Voter Protection Project this month to educate voters and encourage them to speak out against the measures. It also began running online advertisements.
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« Reply #215 on: June 04, 2011, 12:26:27 PM »

Unlike the fact that no liberal commentator came to the side of Scooter Libby, where investigators knew the first day that no underlying crime was committed, I found this piece by John Hinderacker at Powerline posted just after the indictment.  Less surprisingly Washington Post editorial has the same take on it today.  They all have to include the fact that wow is he scum.

 In Defense of John Edwards
June 3, 2011 12:44 PM

John Edwards has been indicted for alleged violations of the campaign finance laws. Not, as you might assume, because he spent campaign funds to support his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Rather, because third parties ("Bunny" Mellon and Fred Baron) gave an Edwards aide money to support Ms. Hunter and, ultimately, Edwards' baby with her, and to keep Hunter and the baby out of sight. The theory is that Mellon and Baron spent this money to help Edwards' presidential campign, and the amounts they gave to Ms. Hunter exceeded individual donor limits, and were not reported to the Federal Elections Commission.

The indictment includes this paraphrase of the relevant law:

    The Election Act's contribution limit applied to anything of value provided for the purpose of influencing the presidential election, including...(c) payments for personal expenses of a candidate unless they would have been made irrespective of the candidacy.

That appears to be a fair summary of Sec. 113.1(g)(6) of the Federal Elections Act.

The government's theory is that the money that third parties gave for the support of Ms. Hunter constituted campaign contributions because it went for Edwards' "personal expenses" and would not have been given but for Edwards' presidential candidacy. One could object, of course, that the money went for Rielle Hunter's personal expenses, not Edwards'. Is supporting a mistress a "personal expense[] of a candidate" under the election law? I suppose you could argue that one either way.

Whether Mellon and Baron would have supported Rielle Hunter even if Edwards were not running for president is a fact question. It is certainly plausible that they would not have been willing to contribute $1,000,000 to Hunter's support unless they thought it might enable Edwards to become president.

One wonders why Edwards needed to go to third parties to get funds to support Hunter and her baby and to keep them out of sight. He had plenty of money. The answer presumably is that even a man of Edwards' wealth couldn't come up with a million dollars without his wife noticing.

I am no fan of John Edwards, but this prosecution strikes me as unfortunate. Based on a quick review, it does not seem to be an indefensible application of the campaign finance laws, although the government's theory, as Edwards' lawyer put it, is "novel and untested." But what's the point? The campaign finance laws are intended to keep candidates on a level playing field. (Some would say they are mainly intended to promote the re-election of incumbents, but that is a debate for another day.) The money that was spent here didn't go for campaign ads or get-out-the-vote efforts. It was invisible to voters. It allowed Edwards to keep his wife (and voters too, of course) in the dark about his girlfriend and baby and relieved Edwards of the need to support them. Those are hardly noble objectives, but is policing this sort of misconduct really the function of campaign finance laws?

The prosecutors tried to gild their dubious lily by including in the indictment the allegation that Edwards "made false statements" "on national television." This was alleged to be one of the "overt acts" in furtherance of Edwards' criminal conspiracy. But lying to reporters isn't a crime; if it were, we would have a hard time staffing Congress. (Anthony Weiner is just the latest in a long line of politicians who illustrate the point.)

This prosecution strikes me as another step in the Criminalization of Nearly Everything. Edwards is disgraced and deserves to be. But if he didn't otherwise commit a crime in trying to get away with hiding his mistress and child--a desperate gamble, at best--the fact that some of his friends tried to help him shouldn't turn his sleazy behavior into a felony.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 12:28:49 PM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #216 on: June 04, 2011, 12:57:26 PM »

One of the purposes of the Campaign Finance Laws is for we the people to know to whom the candidate is indebted.  Surely Edwards would be deeply indebted to those in question here.  Yes?
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« Reply #217 on: June 04, 2011, 01:39:41 PM »

"One of the purposes of the Campaign Finance Laws is for we the people to know to whom the candidate is indebted.  Surely Edwards would be deeply indebted to those in question here.  Yes?"

The favors and exposure of indebtedness point makes sense.  Not all of that can be codified.  My guess is that the law was written to tell us who pays for the paid advertising and direct campaign expenses of the candidacy.  Paying the mistress and child is construed here as assisting the campaign and there is some truth to that.  It was also a case arguably of trying to help the man personally, trying to protect his family, or ostensibly trying to help the woman and the child, knowing that Edwards was unable to do that himself.

On the legality of it all, I guess we will see.  If guilty, fine.  If the result is not guilty then we can discuss whether this was a wise use of resources.

On the larger indebtedness question, all his money should be given back to the healthcare industry as the causes in his class action law suits all turned out to be junk science.

An obvious phony turned out to be an obvious phony.  Also funny is that the National Enquirer got this story right from the beginning and everyone else got it wrong.  As Jay Leno says, they check, re-check and check again before they go to print.  Unlike NY Times etc. happy to repeat gossip and publish unverified claims from leftist blogs regularly.

The most impressive part of the story was that in the end Elizabeth Edwards in her time of need, needed him out.

No new bimbo eruptions for 2012.  But it's early...
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« Reply #218 on: June 09, 2011, 05:10:05 PM »

"We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections." --John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797

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« Reply #219 on: June 30, 2011, 08:37:36 PM »

A reliable friend sends me the following:

A start up company called Lightsquared has managed to get a waiver  from the FCC to move forward with a mobile phone network.  Preliminary tests have shown interference with the GPS system despite protests from government agencies and others concerned about integrity of the GPS system.  Why have they  got so far with the FCC in spite of tests showing clear damage to the GPS system?  Payoffs, of course.  The following from an Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association blog following the issues.  http://Http://
I’m really curious as to the background relationships between President Obama, Julius Genachowski (FCC chairman, recess appointment by Barack Obama), Philip Falcone (Manager at Harbinger Capital Partners who have a 40% venture interest in LightSquared). Seems like some aggressive investigative reporting would likely turn up some unsavory facts, particularly in light of the huge amount of money involved – likely trillions in the long term.

Response by someone who is doing his homework:
A commentator expressed his curiosity about the relationships between the White House, the FCC, and Philip Falcone. They have an interesting history.

Phil Falcone, the founder of hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, is currently under criminal and civil investigations by the Security Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for allegedly failing to disclose $113 million in personal loans he took from his hedge fund to pay personal taxes. The Wall Street Journal has also reported that investigators are looking into allegations that Mr. Falcone allowed some clients to redeem funds from his hedge fund during the financial crisis of 2008, while preventing others from doing so.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Falcone and Harbinger scored big gains for investors in 2007, but the fund has since shrunk from $26.5 billion to $9 billion from losses and client withdrawals. As of last November, the fund was off 15% for the year, and investors like Goldman Sachs and Blackstone Group had put in requests to withdraw funds.

Also important, investors have expressed increasing concerns over Falcone’s plans to launch the LightSquared venture. The majority of Harbinger’s declining assets are pledged to this venture, which many believe is risky and underfunded. Experts believe that building this network can require as much as $40 billion, but there is a credible report that “Harbinger reckons with a suitable flexible FCC… it can get the network operable for something in the region of $6 billion.”

None of Falcone’s plans would be successful, however, unless the Administration and the FCC intervened on his behalf. Over the past year, a series of unusual decisions, questionable meetings, and procedural anomalies at the FCC and the White House highlight Falcone’s growing influence in the government.

Without going into pages of detail here, the FCC delayed publicly disclosing some of its dealing with Harbinger/LightSquared for weeks or months, and still has not disclosed some of them at all. An April 21, 2010 letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski from Senators Hutcinson, DeMint, Vitter and Brownback resulted in nothing more than a non-responsive letter from Genachowski on May 10. (Some of that has to do with a Harbinger/SkyTerra merger that is a critical piece of the LightSquared venture.)

Meanwhile, Falcone developed his government influence. According to White House visitor access logs, on September 22, 2009, Falcone and LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja personally visited the White House and met with the Chief of Staff at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). One day later, the Harbinger/SkyTerra merger agreement was signed.

On September 30, 2009, one week after his September 2009 White House visit, Falcone contributed $30,400 to the DSCC, the maximum legal individual contribution limit to a party committee. His wife, Lisa Falcone, contributed an additional $30,000 to the DSCC on the same day. LightSquared’s CEO Sanjiv Ahuja also contributed $30,000 to the DNC in September 2010.

On January 21, 2010, Falcone visited the White House again, this time for an appointment with John Holdren, the Director of the OSTP.

In addition to well-timed political contributions to the DSCC at the height of merger review discussions, Falcone/Harbinger also secured the assistance of a lobbying firm, the Palmetto Group, via Harbinger’s legal counsel, to lobby Congress and the FCC. Steve Glaze, lobbyist with the Palmetto Group, was registered to lobby the FCC directly on mobile satellite services on Falcone’s/Harbinger’s behalf. Steve Glaze is married to Terri Glaze, a senior staffer at the FCC.

On January 12, 2011, the National Telecommunications and Information Authority (housed within the Department of Commerce) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genacholski objecting to the waiver. There was also a letter from Danny Price, Director of Spectrum and Communication Policy at the Department of Defense, stating that the FCC should defer action on the waiver request and place the application under a Notice of Prosed Rule-Making (NPRM).

The United States GPS Industry Council (USGPSIC) also raised concerns in a letter. Notable, that letter included serious concerns about interference with E911 and law enforcement GPS applications.

Nonetheless, the FCC, on delegated authority, officially granted LightSquared’s request for a waiver. In granting the waiver, the FCC chose to issue a license modification for LightSquared because of what they term “unique” circumstances, instead of modifying its rules to apply to all providers. That essentially guarantees that Falcone, and only Falcone, receives this special treatment.

We can only speculate whether or not these “unique” circumstances are related to Falcone’s September 30, 2009 meeting with the White House, and subsequent political contributions to the DSCC. But the outcome of the FCC’s action means that other companies will not be able to take advantage of the same loophole.

In addition to the GPS issue, the ramifications of the FCC’s favoritism to Falcone and LightSquared are enormous. Consider other competitive nationwide mobile providers. Take Clearwire, for example. They purchased terrestrial spectrum at auction for substantial sums, and they have invested millions more to build out their 4G network. And now, thanks to the FCC, their competitor LightSquared is given the same terestrial spectrum for free, and is essentially exempt from requirements to invest and build out a competing network. The message to companies like Clearwire is clear: Companies who play by the rules, create jobs, and invest in building out competing networks are now at risk of seeing their plans entirely upended by the FCC’s arbitrary “unique” circumstances in favor of a competitor who developed the right political influence and who made the right political financial contributions.

Federal agencies have a special responsibility to not only avoid conflicts of interest, but to avoid even the appearance of conflicts. No fair-minded person could look at the record so far and not believe that intervention and investigation are not warranted.
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« Reply #220 on: July 11, 2011, 11:45:52 AM »

I was surprised to learn the lead industry 'lobbyist'(?) managing the campaign of a group called the Sensible Food Policy Coalition, which includes General Mills, Kellogg, PepsiCo, and Time Warner, fighting against some of the Michelle Obama food initiatives, is Anita Dunn, former White House communications Director.
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« Reply #221 on: July 11, 2011, 02:27:01 PM »

Wow- wonder what Mao and Ghandi would say , , ,
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« Reply #222 on: July 11, 2011, 07:36:51 PM »

 smiley Very Funny! That flew right over my head until a while after I narrowed down that it had to be aimed at my Anita Dunn post.  ("Two of my favorite political philosophers Mao (70 million dead) and Mother Theresa, two people I turn to most.") I'm sure Mao, Ghandi and Anita Dunn would all say - go for it Anita! If you can make a buck Anita from your fame and contacts at the highest levels and help the marketers of over-processed cereals sell heaping helpings of processed sugar and empty calorie neutered grains by using cartoon characters and every other means available to get children to rot their teeth and their brain every morning, what the hell do you care.  Take the money!  'Go find your own Calcutta.'  They were all Marxists until someone handed them their first million or two.  Pissing off Michelle Obama also might expose here other side.  'You fight your war [Michelle Obama], and I'll fight mine.  You figure out what's right for you... You fight your war and you let them fight theirs':

I knew I should have put it on the Glen Beck thread!
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« Reply #223 on: July 18, 2011, 03:39:10 PM »
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« Reply #224 on: July 22, 2011, 07:01:26 AM »

"In the midst of these pleasing ideas we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections." --John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797

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« Reply #225 on: August 15, 2011, 04:58:03 AM »

Congressman Darrell Issa is doing an outstanding job of investigating Operation Fast & Furious (see the Gun Rights thread) to the discomfort of Baraq, AG Holder, et al.  Of course it is a coincidence that Pravada on the Hudson is now going after him. rolleyes  That said, things such as placing and voting on earmarks that happen to benefit a property you have bought is not my idea of the right way to do things.
VISTA, Calif. — Here on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course in the rugged foothills north of San Diego, Darrell Issa, the entrepreneur, oversees the hub of a growing financial empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Just a few steps down the hall, Representative Darrell Issa, the powerful Republican congressman, runs the local district office where his constituents come for help.
The proximity of the two offices reflects Mr. Issa’s dual careers, a meshing of public and private interests rarely seen in government.
Most wealthy members of Congress push their financial activities to the side, with many even placing them in blind trusts to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest. But Mr. Issa (pronounced EYE-suh), one of Washington’s richest lawmakers, may be alone in the hands-on role he has played in overseeing a remarkable array of outside business interests since his election in 2000.
Even as he has built a reputation as a forceful Congressional advocate for business, Mr. Issa has bought up office buildings, split a holding company into separate multibillion-dollar businesses, started an insurance company, traded hundreds of millions of dollars in securities, invested in overseas funds, retained an interest in his auto-alarm company and built up a family foundation.
As his private wealth and public power have grown, so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.
He has secured millions of dollars in Congressional earmarks for road work and public works projects that promise improved traffic and other benefits to the many commercial properties he owns here north of San Diego. In one case, more than $800,000 in earmarks he arranged will help widen a busy thoroughfare in front of a medical plaza he bought for $10.3 million.
His constituents cheer the prospect of easing traffic. At the same time, the value of the medical complex and other properties has soared, at least in part because of the government-sponsored road work.
But beyond specific actions that appear to have clearly benefited his businesses, Mr. Issa’s interests are so varied that some of the biggest issues making their way through Congress affect him in some way.
After the forced sale of Merrill Lynch in 2008, for instance, he publicly attacked the Treasury Department’s handling of the deal without mentioning that Merrill had handled hundreds of millions of dollars in investments for him and lent him many millions more.
And in an era when the auto industry’s future has been a big theme of public policy, Mr. Issa has been outspoken on regulatory issues affecting car companies, while maintaining deep ties to the industry through the auto electronics company he founded, DEI Holdings.
He has a seat on its board, and his nonprofit family foundation, which seeks to encourage values like “hard work and selfless philanthropy,” has earned millions from stock in DEI, which bears his initials. Mr. Issa’s fortune, in fact, was built on his car alarm company, and to this day it is his deep voice on Viper alarms that warns potential burglars to “please step away from the car.”
In recent months, The New York Times has examined how some lawmakers have championed particular industries, pushing measures to protect and enrich supporters. In Mr. Issa’s case, it is sometimes difficult to separate the business of Congress from the business of Darrell Issa.
Mr. Issa, 57, did not respond to repeated written requests in the last three weeks to discuss his outside interests. In the past, he has said his business background has made him a better lawmaker. In at least one Congressional matter, however, he recused himself after being advised of a potential conflict.
But perhaps his clearest statement on the issue came last year amid Toyota’s recalls of millions of automobiles with dangerous acceleration problems. Then, Mr. Issa brushed aside suggestions that his electronics company’s role as a major supplier of alarms to Toyota made him go easy on the automaker as he led an investigation into the recalls.
“If anything,” the congressman said, “Toyota probably got a harder time by having an automobile supplier sitting up there on the dais saying ‘Hold it, I’m not letting you off the hook now.’ ”
A Powerful Gadfly
As the influential chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Mr. Issa has proven both a reliable friend to business and a constant annoyance to an Obama administration that he sees as anti-business. Even before formally taking over the committee in December, he made headlines by asking 150 businesses and trade groups to identify regulations that they considered overly burdensome, and he has issued numerous subpoenas on his own authority in investigating programs he believes are harmful.
(Page 2 of 4)
His pro-business policies usually align closely with those of the firms he has worked with in his wide-ranging business career both before and after he joined Congress. Congress has historically had more than its share of millionaires from storied American fortunes, from the Rockefellers to the Kennedys. But typically, those members lower their business profiles considerably and limit their active dealings to avoid potential conflicts of interest and the political repercussions that might follow from private business decisions.
Senator John D. Rockfeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, for one, has much of his money in blind trusts, run by outside trustees. And Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, has a number of family and marital trusts for money generated largely through the fortune of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
Mr. Issa, who grew up in a hardscrabble neighborhood near Cleveland and now owns homes north of San Diego and in Washington, has assets totaling as much as $725 million, outstripping by some measures even Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Kerry. (Because lawmakers must disclose their assets only within broad dollar ranges, public reports do not allow for precise figures.)
According to his filings, Mr. Issa’s minimum wealth doubled in the last year, and he appears flush with cash: he bought dozens of mutual funds in 2010 worth as much as $80 million, managed by Wall Street powerhouses, without selling off any securities.
Mr. Issa’s transactions cover many pages in his annual disclosure reports, as he has traded huge volumes of stock funds and municipal bonds on a weekly or even daily basis. In 2008 alone, he traded some 360 securities totaling between $650 million and $2 billion.
Those investments have often produced sharp profits.
In one 2008 sale, months before the stock market crashed, his family foundation earned $357,000 on an initial investment of less than $19,000 — a return of nearly 1,900 percent in just seven months, the foundation reported to the Internal Revenue Service. It reported acquiring the security, then known as AIM International Small Company Fund, at a cost basis representing a tiny fraction of the market value.
In addition, Mr. Issa sold at least $1 million in personal holdings in the same fund that year but was not required to report what he paid.
Invesco, as the AIM fund’s manager is now known, told The Times it did not provide Mr. Issa’s foundation the steep discount. That suggests the foundation may have acquired the shares from a third-party broker.
A former government official said House ethics committee officials quietly inquired into Mr. Issa’s business interests last year because of possible conflicts in his electronics connections.
While the exact focus of those inquiries is not known, Mr. Issa’s ties to the industry are well established: in each of his first five years in Congress, he reported accepting free trips to Las Vegas from the Consumer Electronics Association for its annual convention. Such corporate-sponsored trips were allowed at the time, but Congressional rules have tightened since.
The inquiries did not produce sufficient evidence of ethics problems to move forward, the former official said.
Standards for determining a financial conflict are murky. House members are generally restricted from using their positions “for personal gain” or on matters in which they have a direct financial interest. But a 2009 ethics committee ruling added to the ambiguity, finding there is no prohibition on the mere “appearance” of a conflict.
There are also restrictions on taking salaries from certain businesses. While Mr. Issa’s wife draws a salary at their property management company, Mr. Issa — the firm’s president — does not.
A Balancing Act
Lawmakers must also avoid outside work that can pose a “time conflict,” and “detract from a member’s full time and attention to his official duties,” the guidelines say. By all accounts, these rules were designed to promote the notion of a full-time legislature.
Mr. Issa’s outside interests certainly appear to have kept him busy. Associates describe him as actively involved in business decisions, particularly in his auto electronics firm. His office did not discuss how he balances the time demands of Congress and his outside businesses. His management company, Greene Properties, which he runs with his wife from the office down the hall from his Congressional office in Vista, has acquired more than two dozen properties in the last five years, valued at up to a total of $80 million.
Page 3 of 4)
In nearby Carlsbad, a new office complex he owns advertises for prospective tenants. A few miles away, a Hooters restaurant rents space in another building he owns. Nearby, his medical complex bustles with doctors and patients and has few vacancies.
 “Issa’s a smart businessman,” said Dean Tilton, a local real estate broker. “We haven’t seen real estate prices this low in 20 years, and he’s taking advantage of that.”
The hard-hit San Diego area has also benefited from federal money Mr. Issa brought through earmarks, which allow lawmakers to award money for their own pet projects. Indeed, more than two dozen of Mr. Issa’s properties are within five miles of projects he has personally earmarked for road work, sanitation and other improvements, an analysis by The Times shows.
His medical complex, for instance, sits directly along West Vista Way, a busy corridor scheduled for widening with $815,000 in funds Mr. Issa earmarked. The congressman bought the complex in 2008, soon after securing the first of two earmarks for the two-mile project and unsuccessfully seeking millions more. The assessor’s office now values the complex at $16 million, a 60 percent appreciation.
Mr. Issa owns a number of commercial properties near the planned $171 million expansion of State Route 76. The project, intended to ease traffic for tens of thousands of commuters, was helped by $245,000 in his earmarks.
A regional transportation official said the earmarks supplemented state financing to move the projects along.
Local leaders say they are just grateful for the money, regardless of any suggestions locally in San Diego that Mr. Issa stands to benefit.
“I don’t really blame the guy,” said John Aguilera, a Vista city councilman. “As a politician, that’s his job to bring a slice of the pie back home, and as a businessman, he’s going to invest in the areas that he champions.”
Some ethics experts wonder, however, whether Mr. Issa’s business interests invite problems.
“The idea is you’re supposed to be a full-time congressman,” said Robert M. Stern, who runs the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies in California. “There may not be a direct conflict of interest, but it creates an appearance that he is trying to influence a policy on issues where he has an investment.”
In 2009, as earmarks became a damaging symbol of Congressional abuse, Mr. Issa joined other lawmakers in pledging to discontinue them. And in recent weeks, he has attacked “the culture of government overspending” in pushing for deep cuts in the national debt.
Mr. Issa’s dual roles reach beyond earmarks.
At a House hearing in 2008 on a much-debated proposal to merge the satellite radio companies Sirius and XM, despite objections on competitive grounds, Mr. Issa praised the “viable combined market” the deal would create as he questioned Sirius’s chief executive and talked of opportunities for expansion.
What Mr. Issa did not mention was that his electronics firm was then in a lucrative partnership with Sirius to distribute its audio products.
While Mr. Issa sold off his controlling interest in DEI soon after he was elected, he remains a board member with a half-million shares in the firm held by his family trust. His management firm also receives $2 million a year for leasing DEI its Vista plant.
DEI’s partnership with Sirius, which continued after the merger, caused friction with competitors. In a lawsuit settled out of court, U.S. Electronics accused Sirius and DEI of freezing it out of the market through anticompetitive practices that relied on “a web of deception, threats and lies” aimed at “the enrichment of certain of its officers and directors.”
When a watchdog group, the Center for Public Integrity, asked Mr. Issa about his role in the merger, his office said the congressman’s participation in the House hearing posed no conflict because his founding of DEI was “public knowledge.” But after advice from House ethics lawyers, Mr. Issa avoided any votes on the issue afterward.
Page 4 of 4)
With its brand-name audio and electronics products, DEI caught the eye of an equity company, Charlesbank Capital, which bought the company in June for $305 million, or $4.45 a share — nearly three times the presale price. The premium promises a payday of at least $2 million for Mr. Issa’s foundation, which has already earned more than $10 million from sales of DEI stock. (Mr. Issa is now a defendant in a lawsuit brought by DEI shareholders; the suit claims the deal was structured to give him and other directors a “windfall not shared by other stockholders.”)
Ties to Merrill Lynch
The lines between Mr. Issa’s many interests have also become entangled in his frequent criticism of regulators and his frequent defense of Wall Street. At a series of hearings in 2009, Mr. Issa accused Treasury officials of a “cover-up” of their role in Bank of America’s $50 billion purchase of Merrill Lynch months earlier. Most pointedly, he accused Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, of bullying Bank of America “behind closed doors” into buying Merrill Lynch at bargain rates and then lying about it.
“I for one,” Mr. Issa told the Fed chairman, “am looking at Main Street America, the stockholders who in some cases got less than they would have gotten through other means. This includes Chrysler, General Motors and, of course, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch.”
Mr. Issa did not mention his own extensive links to Merrill Lynch.
In a television interview days later, however, he said: “I bank at Merrill Lynch. I’m very well aware that every broker there, all the people who were stockholders, were furious that they were in fact being fire-saled to them.”
And Mr. Issa is no ordinary Merrill customer.
His transactions there have totaled more than a billion dollars in the last decade, records show. In the aftermath of the firm’s acquisition in September 2008, in fact, he bought and sold at least $206 million in Merrill Lynch mutual funds in the next 15 days, records show.
His ties to the bank deepened last year, records show, as Merrill Lynch gave him two “personal notes” for lines of credit worth at least $75 million.
Likewise, Mr. Issa has aggressively defended Goldman Sachs, another Wall Street giant.
When the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a major lawsuit charging Goldman with fraud last year, Mr. Issa fired back by opening an investigation. The timing of the lawsuit, he said, smacked of a “partisan political agenda” meant to help President Obama and bolster a bill overhauling financial regulations.
His charge drew nationwide attention, putting regulators on the defensive, but the S.E.C. inspector general later found “no evidence” of political meddling.
Mr. Issa came to Goldman’s defense again last month in a letter to regulators complaining about restrictions on financial firms. Broker dealers “such as Goldman Sachs” faced “a substantial reduction in leverage” because of excessive capital requirements, he wrote.
As with Merrill Lynch, Mr. Issa is keenly interested in Goldman’s performance.
A few weeks before opening his inquiry into the Goldman lawsuit, in fact, he bought another large batch of shares in one of the firm’s high-yield mutual funds, records show. By the end of the year, his stake in Goldman’s fund was worth as much as $25 million.
Power User
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« Reply #226 on: August 25, 2011, 01:06:01 PM »

"We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our Liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections. If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single vote, and that can be procured by a party through artifice or corruption, the Government may be the choice of a party for its own ends, not of the nation for the national good." --John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797

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« Reply #227 on: August 30, 2011, 02:44:19 PM »

From the not-always reliable NEWSMAX

Outrage as Obama Names New Voter Initiative After ACORN
Monday, 29 Aug 2011 06:49 PM

By David A. Patten and Jim Meyers

Government watchdogs are blasting the Obama campaign’s decision to name its 2012 voter-registration initiative “Project Vote” — the same name as a group closely linked to the discredited ACORN organization.

Members of ACORN were caught on undercover video giving two supposed clients detailed instructions on how to commit fraud, and ACORN faced a number of voter-registration fraud cases following the 2008 election.

Use of the Project Vote name by the Obama campaign is “truly astonishing,” Tom Fitton, president of the conservative Judicial Watch good-government group, tells Newsmax. “We knew President Obama was the president from ACORN. And if this isn’t an indication of it, we don’t know what is.”

ACORN-linked Project Vote is a Washington, D.C.-based 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports voter-registration drives in “historically underrepresented communities.”

But there is “no wall of separation” between Project Vote and the well-known ACORN organization, according to Matthew Vadum, the Capital Research Center editor who wrote “Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.”

He calls Project Vote “the branch of ACORN that’s most notorious for voter fraud.”

Vadum wrote in an American Spectator piece on Monday: “On registration and mobilization campaigns, ACORN and Project Vote work together to the point where it is a difficult, if not impossible, to tell the difference. They share staff, office space, and money.”

As an example he cites Project Vote’s field director, listed on its website as Amy Busefink. In November, she pled no contest to two counts of conspiracy to commit the crime in Nevada of compensation for registration of voters. In January, she received a year of probation and a $4,000 fine. Vadum calls that incident “a major ACORN-approved voter fraud conspiracy.”

Vadum tells Newsmax that the use of the Project Vote name for Obama’s new voter-registration drive “says the Obama campaign is up to the same old tricks, that they’re not afraid of being called out by the media.

They know that they can continue to operate with impunity, encouraging voter fraud, and they’re not going to be held accountable.”

The decision to employ the Project Vote name was clear in a recent email from the Obama campaign: "Project Vote will embark on a voter registration effort to maximize voter participation. Project Vote will drive our campaign strategy — from paid media, to digital outreach, to grassroots organizing and voter registration efforts — to communicate with and engage key demographic groups."

Adopting a name so closely linked to ACORN, and President Obama’s political career, could hardly be an accident, says Fitton.

“It collapses the façade that there was any distinction between the Obama campaign and Project Vote in 2008.”

Fitton speculates adopting the “Project Vote” name is intended as a “dog-whistle” to the Democratic base.

He adds: “If the Obama campaign was intent on trying to disassociate itself from the criminal activity which took place with its vendor last time, which was ACORN, using the name of their partner seemingly would be the wrong way to do it.”

Obama has had well-documented ties with ACORN. In the 2008 race, his campaign paid $832,000 for voter-registration services in key primary states to Citizen Consulting Inc., an ACORN umbrella group that Fitton describes as “an ACORN front.” The money was initially reported to the Federal Election Commission as payments for “staging, sound, lighting.” The reports were corrected after their true nature was revealed by a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review expose.

In 1995, Obama helped represent the group in a lawsuit that forced Illinois to adopt a bill relaxing the standards for establishing voter eligibility, and he helped train ACORN’s staff in Chicago.

Obama’s 2008 campaign relied heavily on expanding the electorate and registering new voters. His political strategists have indicated it will be a key component of his re-election effort as well.

Fitton says the Project Vote name shows that the Obama campaign plans to continue running its 2008 campaign playbook, despite the fraud associated with voter-registration activities that cycle.

“It should alert people to the fact that Project Vote hasn’t gone away,” he says. “One of the big misconceptions has been that ACORN and Project Vote, which had been associated with voter registration issues in 2008, disappeared as a result of the scandals, as a result of the videos. And they haven’t disappeared — the state ACORN groups are still operational, and obviously Project Vote is still using the ACORN method to register voters.”

Vadum, whose book documents 54 voter-fraud convictions stemming from the 2008 elections, tells Newsmax that he expects ACORN to be just as active in the 2012 campaign as it was in 2008, although under a different brand. ACORN’s state chapters have reconstituted themselves under new names, he says, and its affordable housing arm is now receiving money from HUD under a new name.

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Read more on Outrage as Obama Names New Voter Initiative After ACORN
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prentice crawford
« Reply #228 on: September 04, 2011, 03:03:50 AM »

  (AP) Kinde Durkee, who heads Durkee & Associates in Burbank, was arrested Friday afternoon by the FBI on a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento, said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Thom Mrozek. No further details were available.

The arrest was first reported by the Orange County Register (

A phone message left at Durkee's office by The Associated Press was not immediately returned. She is expected to appear in a Southern California court Tuesday.

State Sen. Lou Correa of Santa Ana told the Register the FBI notified him late Friday that he was one of many victims. Correa said he believes he has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds. Durkee had been his campaign treasurer since 1995.

Federal Election Commission records show Durkee is treasurer for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County, a host of state assemblymen and senators, city councilmen and political action committees.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has taken action against her four times, mainly for failing to report transactions or information, and sent her a dozen warning letters. She also stipulated to a violation from San Diego's Ethics Commission.

Durkee's website said the business specializes in political accounting and has been operating since 1972.

Power User
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« Reply #229 on: September 27, 2011, 05:19:49 AM »

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." --Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, 1781
Power User
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« Reply #230 on: October 30, 2011, 02:45:31 PM »

I'm not a big fan of Thomas Friedman but I would go along with this suggestion for the answer to occupy wall street: "4) U.S. congressmen [and Presidents] should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms [and unions] that they’re taking money from.
Power User
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« Reply #231 on: October 30, 2011, 04:09:03 PM »

I don't think even Gov. Chris Christie is fat enough for there to be enough room.
Power User
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« Reply #232 on: October 30, 2011, 04:16:30 PM »

I don't think even Gov. Chris Christie is fat enough for there to be enough room.

Power User
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« Reply #233 on: November 14, 2011, 09:19:16 AM »

REVEALED: Nancy Pelosi Blocked Credit Card Reform While Investing Millions in Exclusive Visa Stock Offering
by Wynton Hall

Former Speaker of the House–and current Minority Leader–Nancy Pelosi apparently bought $1 million to $5 million of Visa stock in one of the most sought-after and profitable initial public offerings (IPO) in American history, thwarted serious credit card reform for two years, and then watched her investment skyrocket 203%.
The revelation appears in Throw Them All Out, the new book by investigative journalist and Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer, which was the focus of 60 Minutes on CBS this evening, and which is featured in this week’s issue of Newsweek.

Schweizer’s investigation of Pelosi and other members of Congress–from both parties–raises a critical question:  should it be legal for lawmakers to buy stocks in companies directly affected by their legislative efforts?

In early 2008, Nancy Pelosi and her real estate developer husband, Paul, were given an opportunity to buy into a Visa IPO. It was a nearly impossible feat–one that average citizens almost certainly could never achieve. The vast majority of purchase opportunities went to institutional investors, large mutual funds, or pension funds.
Despite Pelosi’s consistent railing against credit card companies, on March 18, 2008, the Pelosis bought between $1 million and $5 million (politicians do not have to report the exact amounts, only ranges) worth of Visa stock at the IPO price of $44 per share. Two days later, the stock price rocketed to $65 per share, yielding a 50% profit. The Pelosis then bought Visa twice more. By their third purchase on June 4, 2008, Visa was worth $85 per share.
How did Nancy Pelosi snag one of the most coveted initial public offerings in history? The facts are still emerging. Yet according to Schweizer, corporations that wish to build congressional allies will sometimes hand-pick members of Congress to receive IPOs. Pelosi received her Visa IPO almost two weeks after a potentially damaging piece of legislation for Visa, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, had been introduced in the House. If passed, the bill would have cut into Visa’s profits substantially by lowering so-called “interchange fees,” the 1% to 3% charge retailers pay Visa when customers use Visa cards for purchases. Interchange fees are a critical source of revenue for the four credit card companies–$48 billion in 2008, to be exact.
If the Credit Card Fair Fee Act had been passed into effect, it would have amended antitrust laws to require credit card companies to enter negotiations with merchants over interchange fees, and it would have given the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission the power to arbitrate if the two sides failed to come to an agreement. For that reason, Visa and the other credit card companies strongly opposed the bill.
The Credit Card Fair Fee Act was exactly the kind of bill one would think then-Speaker Pelosi would have backed. “She had been outspoken about antitrust problems posed by insurance, oil, and pharmaceutical companies,” Schweizer notes, “and she was vocal about the need for controlling interest rates individual banks charged to use their credit cards.”
Initially, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act cleared the Judiciary Committee on a 19-16 vote, and the National Association of Convenience Stores began lobbying for a vote on the floor of the House. “It is imperative to tell your Representatives to request a vote on the House Floor from Nancy Pelosi,” the association urged its members. Still, with at least ten percent of the Pelosi family’s entire stock portfolio invested in a single stock, Nancy Pelosi clearly had a vested interest in ensuring that Visa’s profits were protected. And that is exactly what she accomplished. Despite broad public support for the bill—77% in one study—Pelosi saw to it that the bill never made it to the House floor.
Shortly thereafter, a second bill limiting collusion by the credit card companies on interchange fees was proposed. The Credit Card Interchange Fee Act of 2008, while not as strong as the first bill, would have required greater transparency from credit card companies in informing customers how much they were paying in interchange fees. Yet again, reports Schweizer, “this second bill suffered the same fate as the first, never making it to the House floor.”
By 2009, both bills had garnered even broader bipartisan support and were reintroduced. Under Speaker Pelosi, however, neither bill lived to see a vote on the House floor.
Pelosi eventually supported something called the Credit Card Reform Act. Curiously, the all-important interchange fees went untouched by that legislation. Instead, the bill stated that the interchange fee issue should simply be “studied.” The bill’s other measures would not affect Visa but rather its client banks. In short, the Credit Card Reform Act ensured that Visa and the other credit card companies dodged a potentially costly bullet.
None of that, however, prevented Pelosi from grandstanding. She publicly declared that the Credit Card Reform Act sent a “strong and clear message to credit card companies” that they would be held to account for their “anti-consumer practices.”
In the wake of the bill’s passage, the Pelosis’ shares of Visa stock rose. Indeed, according to Throw Them All Out, “the IPO shares they had purchased soared by 203% from where they began, while the stock market as a whole was down 15% during the same period.”
Nancy Pelosi is hardly the only member of Congress to be given IPOs, but Pelosi has been especially “lucky” at landing them. She and her husband have participated in at least 10 lucrative IPOs throughout her career. In 1993, Pelosi purchased IPO shares in a high-tech company named Gupta, watched the stock price leap 88% in 24 hours, then seized the profits by selling the stock the next day. The Pelosis did the same thing with Netscape and UUNet, resulting in a one-day doubling of their initial investment. Other fast and lucrative IPO flips included Remedy Corporation, Opal, Legato Systems, and Act Networks.
Schweizer says Nancy Pelosi’s financial disclosure forms typically mask the precise dates of her stock buys. He cites the Pelosis’ December 1999 stock purchase of between $250,000 and $500,000 in shares from high-tech company OnDisplay. A few months later, OnDisplay was bought by Vignette, which resulted in up to $1 million in capital gains for the Pelosis. What was unusual about the transaction is that Vignette’s IPO was underwritten by a major campaign contributor and longtime friend of Nancy Pelosi, William Hambrecht.
Throw Them All Out also chronicles the Pelosis’ $100,000 IPO purchase of Clean Energy Fuels at roughly $12 a share. Schweizer alleges that as Speaker of the House, Pelosi pushed several bills beneficial to the company.
Similarly, in November 2007, Pelosi bought $500,000 in the IPO for Quest Energy Partners before proceeding to champion the natural gas-related legislation that stood to significantly benefit the company. When Tom Brokaw asked her whether her significant personal investments in natural gas represented a conflict of interest, Pelosi shrugged off the question by hiding behind the crony capitalist’s false credo: “That’s the marketplace.”
Power User
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« Reply #234 on: November 14, 2011, 09:45:01 AM »;storyMediaBox

Congress: Trading stock on inside information?
November 13, 2011 4:02 PM

Steve Kroft reports that members of Congress can legally trade stock based on non-public information from Capitol Hill.

Read more:;storyMediaBox
Power User
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« Reply #235 on: November 16, 2011, 10:14:53 AM »

Regarding the last two posts:   cry cry cry
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« Reply #236 on: November 18, 2011, 09:35:33 AM »


Mark Twain famously wrote, "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." Peter Schweizer's new book, "Throw Them All Out," reveals this permanent political class in all its arrogant glory. (Full disclosure: Mr. Schweizer is employed by my political action committee as a foreign-policy adviser.)

Mr. Schweizer answers the questions so many of us have asked. I addressed this in a speech in Iowa last Labor Day weekend. How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires? How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us? How do politicians' stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers'? I answered the question in that speech: Politicians derive power from the authority of their office and their access to our tax dollars, and they use that power to enrich and shield themselves.

The money-making opportunities for politicians are myriad, and Mr. Schweizer details the most lucrative methods: accepting sweetheart gifts of IPO stock from companies seeking to influence legislation, practicing insider trading with nonpublic government information, earmarking projects that benefit personal real estate holdings, and even subtly extorting campaign donations through the threat of legislation unfavorable to an industry. The list goes on and on, and it's sickening.

Astonishingly, none of this is technically illegal, at least not for Congress. Members of Congress exempt themselves from the laws they apply to the rest of us. That includes laws that protect whistleblowers (nothing prevents members of Congress from retaliating against staffers who shine light on corruption) and Freedom of Information Act requests (it's easier to get classified documents from the CIA than from a congressional office).

The corruption isn't confined to one political party or just a few bad apples. It's an endemic problem encompassing leadership on both sides of the aisle. It's an entire system of public servants feathering their own nests.

None of this surprises me. I've been fighting this type of corruption and cronyism my entire political career. For years Alaskans suspected that our lawmakers and state administrators were in the pockets of the big oil companies to the detriment of ordinary Alaskans. We knew we were being taken for a ride, but it took FBI wiretaps to finally capture lawmakers in the act of selling their votes. In the wake of politicos being carted off to prison, my administration enacted reforms based on transparency and accountability to prevent this from happening again.

We were successful because we had the righteous indignation of Alaskan citizens on our side. Our good ol' boy political class in Juneau was definitely not with us. Business was good for them, so why would they want to end "business as usual"?

The moment you threaten to strip politicians of their legal graft, they'll moan that they can't govern effectively without it. Perhaps they'll gravitate toward reform, but often their idea of reform is to limit the right of "We the people" to exercise our freedom of speech in the political process.

I've learned from local, state and national political experience that the only solution to entrenched corruption is sudden and relentless reform. Sudden because our permanent political class is adept at changing the subject to divert the public's attention—and we can no longer afford to be indifferent to this system of graft when our country is going bankrupt. Reform must be relentless because fighting corruption is like a game of whack-a-mole. You knock it down in one area only to see it pop up in another.

What are the solutions? We need reform that provides real transparency. Congress should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act like everyone else. We need more detailed financial disclosure reports, and members should submit reports much more often than once a year. All stock transactions above $5,000 should be disclosed within five days.

We need equality under the law. From now on, laws that apply to the private sector must apply to Congress, including whistleblower, conflict-of-interest and insider-trading laws. Trading on nonpublic government information should be illegal both for those who pass on the information and those who trade on it. (This should close the loophole of the blind trusts that aren't really blind because they're managed by family members or friends.)

No more sweetheart land deals with campaign contributors. No gifts of IPO shares. No trading of stocks related to committee assignments. No earmarks where the congressman receives a direct benefit. No accepting campaign contributions while Congress is in session. No lobbyists as family members, and no transitioning into a lobbying career after leaving office. No more revolving door, ever.

This call for real reform must transcend political parties. The grass-roots movements of the right and the left should embrace this. The tea party's mission has always been opposition to waste and crony capitalism, and the Occupy protesters must realize that Washington politicians have been "Occupying Wall Street" long before anyone pitched a tent in Zuccotti Park.

Ms. Palin, a former governor of Alaska, was the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008.

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« Reply #237 on: November 19, 2011, 02:24:49 PM »

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: The Kerrys’ Curious Stock Trades
by Wynton Hall has obtained records of Massachusetts Democrat Senator John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz’s stock portfolios that show almost perfectly timed pharmaceutical stock trades during the Obamacare debate, which fattened their already enormous personal fortune.
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« Reply #238 on: November 24, 2011, 10:27:16 PM »

President Barucky Obampson
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« Reply #239 on: December 07, 2011, 07:04:09 AM »

Illinois: State Of Embarrassment

by Joel Kotkin 12/06/2011

Most critics of Barack Obama’s desultory performance the past three years trace it to his supposedly leftist ideology, lack of experience and even his personality quirks. But it would perhaps be more useful to look at the geography — of Chicago and the state of Illinois — that nurtured his career and shaped his approach to politics. Like with George W. Bush and Texas, this is a case where you can’t separate the man from the place.
The Chicago imprint on Obama is unmistakable. His closest advisors are almost all products of the Windy City’s machine politic: ConsigliereValerie Jarrett; his first chief of staff, now Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel; and his current chief of staff, longtime Chicago hackster William Daley, scion of the Windy City’s longtime ruling family.
All these figures arose from a Chicago where corruption is so commonplace that it elicits winks, nods and even a kind of admiration. Since 1973, for example, 27 Chicago Aldermen have been convicted by U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Illinois.
That culture of corruption affects the rest of the state as well. Both Gov. George Ryan (who served from 1999 to 2003 and  and his successor Ron Blagojevich have been convicted a major crimes. So have four of the state’s last eight governors. Blagojevich’s felonies are part and parcel of a political climate that also includes the also newly convicted  Antonin “Tony” Rezko, a real estate speculator and early key Obama backer, sentenced late last month to a ten-year prison sentence.
Crony capitalism constitutes the essential element of what the legendary columnist John Kass of the Chicago Tribune has labeled both the “Chicago way” and the “Illinois Combine”, not primarily an ideology-driven movement. The political system, he notes, “knows no party, only appetites.”
Just look at the special favors granted to vested interests while the state has imposed a 65% boost in income taxes for middle class citizens. Companies like Boeing and United, which have head offices in Chicago, get tax breaks and incentives, while everyone else pays the full fare. This game is still afoot.  Even as the state deficit persists, other big players such as the CME group, which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Options and Sears are threatening to leave unless their taxes are also lowered.
Thus it’s not surprising then that cronyism has become a hallmark of the Obama administration. Wall Street grandees, a key source of Obama campaign funders in 2008 and again now, have been treated to bailouts as well as monetary policies that have assured massive profits to the “too big to fail” crowed while devastating consumers and smaller banks.
The evolving scandal over “green jobs” — with huge loans handed out to faithful campaign contributors — epitomizes the special dealing that has become an art form in the system of Chicago and Illinois politics.  Beneficiaries include longtime Obama backers such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Google. Another scandal is building up around the telecom company LightSquared. This company, financed largely by key Obama donors, appears to have gained a leg up for a huge Pentagon contract due to White House pressure.
If the Chicago system had proven an economic success, perhaps we could excuse Obama for bringing it to the rest of us. Most of us would put up with a bit of corruption and special dealing if the results were strong economic and employment growth.
But the bare demographic and economic facts for both Chicago and Illinois reveal a stunning legacy of failure. Over the past decade, Illinois suffered the third highest loss of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math-related) jobs in the nation, barely beating out Delaware and Michigan. The rest of the job picture is also dismal: Over the past ten years, Illinois suffered the third largest loss of jobs of any state, losing over six percent of its employment.
The state’s demographic picture also is dismal. In the last decade, Illinois lost population not only to sunbelt states such as Texas and Florida but actually managed to have negative migration even with places like California and New York, net losers to virtually everywhere else. In fact, Illinois had a positive net migration with only one major state, Michigan.
Chicago and its Daley dictatorship has been much celebrated in the media – particularly after Obama’s election in everything from the liberal New Yorker to Fast Company, which named Chicago “city of the year” in 2008. The following year, the Windy City was deemed the best city for men by, for offering what it claimed was “the perfect balance between cosmopolitan and comfortable, combining all of the culture, entertainment and sophistication of an internationally renowned destination with an affordable lifestyle and down-to-earth work hard/play hard character.”
Well, you can make that case, unless you happen to be searching for a job. Over the past decade, “the Chicago way” has proven more adept at getting good coverage than creating employment for its residents. In NewGeography's last cities rankings greater Chicago ranked 41st out of the 51 largest metropolitan areas. Between 2001 and 2011 it actually lost jobs. Since 2007 the region has lost more jobs than Detroit, and more than twice as many as New York. It has lost about as many jobs – 250,000 – as up and comer Houston has gained.  In NewGeography's recent survey of high-tech growth, the Chicago region stood at a dismal 47th among the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas.
Overall, Chicago Loop Alliance reports that private sector employment in the Loop, the core of the Chicago downtown area, fell from 338,000 to 275,000 between 2000 and 2010. Chicago’s core has fallen further behind, in capturing high end employment than its traditional rival, New York.
This weak hand is also evident in the region’s strongly negative migration. According to the last Census, Chicago lost more than 200,000 people during the last decade. People are leaving the Chicago area not only for Sun Belt havens but to rising Midwest competitors like Indianapolis and Minneapolis, which offer better business climates, lower housing prices and cleaner governments, says local urban analyst Aaron Renn. Even perennial losers like Los Angeles and New York are net gainers with Chicago.
Given this economic and demographic track record, it’s no big surprise that the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois face enormous fiscal pressures. The city is facing a deficit of about $650 million and the state’s unfunded future liabilities are upwards of $160 billion. The  new taxes are on tap for state residents, according to Illinois Public Policy Institute, will cost the average Illinoisan a whole week’s earnings.
One might hope this disastrous record might make President Obama consider taking a different path to governing our country.  Yet sadly it appears that acknowledgement of failure is not part of the “Chicago way” — a denial that may cost us dearly in the years ahead.
This piece first appeared at
Joel Kotkin is executive editor of and is a distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, and an adjunct fellow of the Legatum Institute in London. He is author of The City: A Global History. His newest book is The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, released in February, 2010.
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« Reply #240 on: December 15, 2011, 03:49:18 PM »

Very interesting.  Paper trail!!!???
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« Reply #241 on: December 16, 2011, 10:53:14 AM »

Bigdog,  Very interesting story.  I never heard that story at the time.  I heard more about what Maxine Waters was trying to get at regarding Diebold.  He is very believable - up to a point.  He does go rather seamlessly from what he knows to other conclusions such as the communist China story at the end.  Asked: was this [the flip the result program] used, he said: 'I have no idea'.  He talks of writing code to rig one machine I think, pressing a secret button, and goes to flipping the result of a larger election.  I did not follow that.  Although no one went to jail over finding a stack of Al Franken ballots in the trunk of a car.  Normally one precinct irregularity doesn't flip an election result.  In both Florida 2000 and with the 60th Senator, the errors were perhaps greater than the margin.

Here is a youtube that expands on Curtis' story.

One reaction I have is that this supports the argument in favor of further education.  Why is it that so few people can read source code?  I realize it is hard to build with hardware capacity so small and simple that it is only capable of holding one basic program that can only add one vote from each ballot to the count, not switch or timer based iterations, but it needs to be done.

Our polling places have election judges present from both sides (and where I vote there is a paper ballot to count against the machine reading it).  Where would these machines go for re-programming?  One corrupt employee would stay after everyone leaves?  Like any question of tainted evidence, isn't there a chain of custody with a voting machine?  The machines aren't just free for tinkering?  And isn't the penalty for rigging or triggering the switch program a felony for each incident, for each person involved?

More than 30 years ago I was selling some of the first fully automated teller machines, a labor saving technology that perhaps caused the Jimmy Carter's and Reagan's unemployment problems. wink  On every install I would joke with the technicians about rigging my card to trigger the dispensing of ALL the cash.  I would get a laugh out of that, but amazingly you never hear of it happening on any brand machine at any bank over more that 3 decades.  The ability to write and verify security into programming has been available for a very long time.

This story may explain some elections in Venezuela, where exit polls had a 40 point flip and where control of the machines and polling places was with all with the regime, more than it explains Florida 2000 or other irregularities here.
prentice crawford
« Reply #242 on: December 20, 2011, 04:58:33 AM »

 Holder has no problem using his office to further his political agenda.

EDITORIAL: Justice Department to blacks: We know better

ROD LAMKEY JR./THE WASHINGTON TIMES REVERSED: Former North Carolina lawmaker Stephen LaRoque, a Republican who led the drive for nonpartisan local elections, calls the decision “racial as well as partisan.”From left: Faroya Basden, Elton Williams and Tyshun Wilson work to open the True Deliverance Fellowship Center in a closed storefront shop in Kinston. The center will be a place for Christian youths to congregate in the town of nearly 23,000 people, two-thirds of whom are black.



The Washington Times

 Tuesday, October 27, 2009

 Black voters across the land should be offended by the Obama Justice Department. In a decision last month, the department effectively told black voters in the town of Kinston, N.C., that they are too stupid to choose their own elected officials unless the candidates are identified by party label. In doing so, the department overruled Kinston’s black voters themselves, who helped vote overwhelmingly to join most other North Carolina towns in holding nonpartisan local elections.
The arrogance of the Justice Department is staggering. Its violation of constitutional norms is astonishing. And its paternalism toward Kinston’s blacks is almost antebellum.
The issue at hand was a proposal last November to switch Kinston to a nonpartisan voting system for local elections. About 65 percent of Kinston’s 15,000 registered voters are black, meaning that blacks are registered at a higher proportion than their voting-age population of 59 percent. In last November’s elections, more than 11,000 of those 15,000 voted, with blacks voting in greater numbers than whites. By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Kinston voted to eliminate party affiliations from local candidates’ names on election ballots. The switch to nonpartisanship won a majority in seven of the city’s nine black-majority voting precincts. In sum, nothing could be clearer than that Kinston’s black voters themselves want nonpartisan elections.
Yet the Justice Department ruled that nonpartisan elections somehow violate black voting rights because apparently black voters don’t know their own minds. The department ruled that unless black and white voters specifically know who the Democrat in any particular race is, the would-be Democrat might not win - and unless the would-be Democrat wins, blacks will be disenfranchised.
“Removing the partisan cue in municipal elections will, in all likelihood, eliminate the single factor that allows black candidates to be elected to office,” wrote Loretta King, who at the time was acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
More blatantly, department spokesman Alejandro Miyar said only a Justice Department analysis could make “the determination of who is a ‘candidate of choice’ for any group of voters.” That’s odd. We thought voters chose their candidates by, yes, voting. They vote, and then they count. Since when did a Washington bureaucrat get to tell the voters that they voted wrong? Since when did that bureaucrat get to tell a majority of black voters in a majority black city with a disproportionately high black voting registration that those selfsame black voters can’t make their own choice unless the choice has a D by his name?
The Justice Department is pushing beyond all reasonable limits a constitutionally suspect provision known as Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That section requires any jurisdiction in parts of 16 states to attain the department’s permission before making any change in voting procedures, even changes as small as moving voting machines from a school cafeteria to the school’s auditorium. Last spring, the Supreme Court stopped just short of ruling that Section 5 is unconstitutional. The high court wrote that “the Act’s preclearance requirements and its coverage formula raise serious constitutional questions,” but then decided that the case at hand did not require the justices to decide those questions.
In other recent cases, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has written that “it is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race” and that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Back in the still-valid 1970 case of Oregon v. Mitchell, Justice Hugo Black wisely wrote that “no function is more essential to the separate and independent existence of the States and their governments than the power to determine … the nature of their own machinery for filling local public offices.”
Here the Justice Department is clearly in the sordid business of discriminating by both race and political party to overturn a black-majority town’s right to determine how it fills local offices. This decision should not stand. The city of Kinston should challenge it in court, and legal foundations ought to be eagerly offering to guide that challenge at no cost to the city.

                               Holder’s Hidden Agenda, cont’d . . .

November 13, 2009 10:57 A.M.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

  This summer, I theorized that Attorney General Eric Holder — and his boss — had a hidden agenda in ordering a re-investigation of the CIA for six-year-old alleged interrogation excesses that had already been scrutinized by non-partisan DOJ prosecutors who had found no basis for prosecution. The continuing investigations of Bush-era counterterrorism policies (i.e., the policies that kept us safe from more domestic terror attacks), coupled with the Holder Justice Department’s obsession to disclose classified national-defense information from that period, enable Holder to give the hard Left the “reckoning” that he and Obama promised during the 2008 campaign. It would be too politically explosive for Obama/Holder to do the dirty work of charging Bush administration officials; but as new revelations from investigations and declassifications are churned out, Leftist lawyers use them to urge European and international tribunals to bring “torture” and “war crimes” indictments. Thus, administration cooperation gives Obama’s base the reckoning it demands but Obama gets to deny responsibility for any actual prosecutions.

Today’s announcement that KSM and other top al-Qaeda terrorists will be transferred to Manhattan federal court for civilian trials neatly fits this hidden agenda. Nothing results in more disclosures of government intelligence than civilian trials. They are a banquet of information, not just at the discovery stage but in the trial process itself, where witnesses — intelligence sources — must expose themselves and their secrets.

Let’s take stock of where we are at this point. KSM and his confederates wanted to plead guilty and have their martyrs’ execution last December, when they were being handled by military commission. As I said at the time, we could and should have accommodated them. The Obama administration could still accommodate them. After all, the president has not pulled the plug on all military commissions: Holder is going to announce at least one commission trial (for Nashiri, the Cole bomber) today.

Moreover, KSM has no defense. He was under American indictment for terrorism for years before there ever was a 9/11, and he can’t help himself but brag about the atrocities he and his fellow barbarians have carried out.

So: We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s case against America. Since that will be their “defense,” the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and — depending on what judge catches the case – they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see — in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America’s defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us

                            Black Panthers Endorse Obama
Obama also has the endorsement of the New Black Panther Party.

"Barack Obama represents 'Positive Change' for all of America.  Obama will stir the 'Melting Pot' into a better "Molten America.'"
Read The New Black Panther Party 10 Point Platform from the anti-white and virulently anti-Semitic black supremacist party that has endorsed Obama on the presidential candidate's own website.

Following criticism earlier this month of an online endorsement from the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), Obama's campaign removed the controversial organization from the presidential candidate's official website.  The NBPP had been a registered team member and blogger on Obama's "MyObama" campaign site.

But the NBPP endorsement was reposted on Obama's official website today.

"Obama is capable of stirring the 'melting pot' into a better 'molten America,'" states the NBPP endorsement posted on Obama's site.

The NBPP is a controversial black extremist party whose leaders are notorious for their racist statements and for leading anti-white activism.  Malik Zulu Shabazz, NBPP national chairman, who has given scores of speeches condemning "white men" and Jews, confirmed his organization's endorsement of Obama in a recent interview with WND.

"I think the way Obama responded to the attack on him and the attempt to sabotage his campaign shows true leadership and character.  He had a chance to denounce his pastor and he didn't fall for the bait.  He stood up and addressed real issues of racial discord," stated Shabazz.

Shabazz boasted he met Obama last March when the politician attended the 42nd anniversary of the voting rights marches in Selma, Ala.

"I have nothing but respect for Obama and for his pastor," said Shabazz, referring to Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor of nearly 20 years.

It is Wright's racially charged and anti-Israel remarks that were widely circulated this month, landing the presidential candidate in hot water and prompting Obama to deliver a major race speech in which he condemned Wright's comments but not the pastor himself.

Speaking to WND, Shabazz referred to Obama as a man with a "Muslim background, a man of color."

Shabazz's NBPP's official platform states "white man has kept us deaf, dumb and blind," refers to the "white racist government of America," demands black people be exempt from military service and uses the word "Jew" repeatedly in quotation marks.

Shabazz has led racially divisive protests and conferences, such as the 1998 Million Youth March in which a few thousand Harlem youths reportedly were called upon to scuffle with police officers and speakers demanded the extermination of whites in South Africa.

The NBPP chairman was quoted at a May 2007 protest against the 400-year celebration of the settlement of Jamestown, Va., stating, "When the white man came here, you should have left him to die."

He claimed Jews engaged in an "African holocaust," and he has promoted the anti-Semitic urban legend that 4,000 Israelis fled the World Trade Center just prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

When Shabazz was denied entry to Canada last May while trying to speak at a black action event, he blamed Jewish groups and claimed Canada "is run from Israel."

Canadian officials justified the action stating he has an "anti-Semitic" and "anti-police" record, but some reports blamed what was termed a minor criminal history for the decision to deny him entry.

He similarly blamed Jews for then-New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani's initial decision, later rescinded, against granting a permit for the Million Youth March.

The NBPP's deceased chairman, Khallid Abdul Muhammad, a former Nation of Islam leader who was once considered Louis Farrakhan's most trusted adviser, gave speeches referring to the "white man" as the "devil" and claiming that "there is a little bit of Hitler in all white people."

In a 1993 speech condemned by the U.S. Congress and Senate, Muhammad, lionized on the NBPP site, referred to Jews as "bloodsuckers," labeled the pope a "no-good cracker" and advocated the murder of white South Africans who would not leave the nation subsequent to a 24-hour warning.

All NBPP members must memorize the group's rules, such as that no party member "can have a weapon in his possession while drunk or loaded off narcotics or weed," and no member "will commit any crimes against other party members or black people at all."

The NBPP endorses Obama on its own page of the presidential candidate's official site that allows registered users to post their own blogs.

The group labels itself on Obama's site as representing "Freedom, Justice, and Peace for all of Mankind."  It links to the official NBPP website, which contains what can be arguably regarded as hate material.

The NBPP previously endorsed Obama on the presidential candidate's site, but following publicity of that endorsement, the Obama campaign removed the NBPP posting.

"It's our policy [to remove] any content generated by a group that advocates violence," explained Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor to

Before the campaign removed the party's page, Obama spokeswoman Tiffany Edwards told the NBPP endorsement on Obama's website "has nothing to do with us."

"People can form their own groups," she said. "It's not something that the campaign -- it's not something that we've done."

While it appears anyone can initially sign up as a registered supporter on Obama's site, it isn't clear whether the campaign monitors the site or approves users.  There is a link on each blog page for users to report any abusers, such as those who post controversial entries, to the administrator.

Shabbazz chalked up the Obama campaign's initial removal of his NBPP endorsement from the website to "the game of politics."

"The Obama camp's move to remove our blog doesn't mean much because I understand politics.  We still completely support Obama as the best candidate."

Obama 'less biased' on Israel

Shabazz said that aside from promoting black rights, he also supports Obama because he may take what he called a "less biased" policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"I have hopes he will change the U.S. government's position toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because our position has been unwarranted bias.  Time and time again the U.S. vetoed resolutions in the U.N. Security Council condemning [Israeli] human rights violations. ... I hope he shifts policy," Shabazz said.


        Explosive Accusations: Justice Department Lawyer Accuses Holder of Dropping Black Panther Case For Racial Reasons –
June 30th, 2010 (21) Posted By Pat Dollard.
  A former Justice Department attorney who quit his job to protest the Obama administration’s handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case is accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of dropping the charges for racially motivated reasons.
J. Christian Adams, now an attorney in Virginia, says he and the other Justice Department lawyers working on the case were ordered to dismiss it.

“I mean we were told, ‘Drop the charges against the New Black Panther Party,’” Adams told Fox News, adding that political appointees Loretta King, acting head of the civil rights division, and Steve Rosenbaum, an attorney with the division since 2003, ordered the dismissal.
Asked about the Justice Department’s claim that they are career attorneys, not political appointees, Adams said “obviously, that’s false.”
“Under the vacancy reform act, they were serving in a political capacity,” he said. “This is one of the examples of Congress not being told the truth, the American people not being told the truth about this case. It’s one of the other examples in this case where the truth simply is becoming another victim of the process.”
Adams claimed an unnamed political appointee said if somebody wants to bring these kinds of cases, “that’ not going to de done out of the civil rights division.”
Adams also accused Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez of lying under oath to Congress about the circumstances surrounding the decision to drop the probe.
The Justice Department has defended its move to drop the case, saying it obtained an injunction against one member to keep him away from polling stations while dismissing charges against the others “based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law.”
But Adams told Fox News that politics and race was at play in the dismissal.
“There is a pervasive hostility within the civil rights division at the Justice Department toward these sorts of cases,” Adams told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.
Adams says the dismissal is a symptom of the Obama administration’s reverse racism and that the Justice Department will not pursue voting rights cases against white victims.

“In voting, that will be the case over the next few years, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
In an opinion article published in the Washington Times last week, Adams said the dismissal “raises serious questions about the department’s enforcement neutrality in upcoming midterm elections and the subsequent 2012 presidential election.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler dismissed Adams’ accusations as a “good faith disagreement” with ulterior motives.
“It is not uncommon for attorneys within the department to have good faith disagreements about the appropriate course of action in a particular case, although it is regrettable when a former department attorney distorts the facts and makes baseless allegations to promote his or her agenda,” she said in a written statement.
In the final days of the Bush administration, three Black Panthers — Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson — were charged in a civil complaint with violating the Voter Rights Act in November 2008 by using coercion, threats and intimidation at a Philadelphia polling station — with Shabazz brandishing what prosecutors called a deadly weapon.
The Obama administration won a default judgment in federal court in April 2009 when the Black Panthers didn’t appear in court to fight the charges. But the administration moved to dismiss the charges in May 2009. Justice attorneys said a criminal complaint, which resulted in the injunction, proceeded successfully.
The department “is committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of both the civil and criminal provisions of federal law that prohibit voter intimidation. We continue to work with voters, communities, and local law enforcement to ensure that every American can vote free from intimidation, coercion or threats,” Schmaler said Wednesday.
But the Justice Department’s explanation has failed to appease the United States Commission on Civil Rights, which is probing the department’s decision, or Republican lawmakers who say the dismissal could lead to an escalation of voter intimidation.
The commission held a hearing in April in which Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who has led the charge for answers from the Justice Department, was among those testifying. The Justice Department did not provide witnesses at that hearing. Instead, Perez testified before the commission in May.
“At a minimum, without sufficient proof that New Black Panther Party or Malik Zulu Shabazz directed or controlled unlawful activities at the polls, or made speeches directed to immediately inciting or producing lawless action on Election Day, any attempt to bring suit against those parties based merely upon their alleged ‘approval’ or ‘endorsement’ of Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jackson’s activities would have likely failed,” he told the commission.
The commission has repeatedly sought information from the Justice Department, going as far as filing subpoenas. Schmaler said the department has provided 2,000 pages of information in response.
But Adams said in the Times article that the department ordered the attorneys “to ignore the subpoena, lawlessly placing us in an unacceptably legal limbo.”
Adams also says that after the dismissal, Justice Department attorneys were instructed not to bring any more cases against racial minorities under the Voting Section.

Adams told Fox News that the New Black Panther case was the “easiest I ever had at the Justice Department.
“It doesn’t get any easier than this,” he said. “If this doesn’t constitute voter intimidation, nothing will.”


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Posts: 42467

« Reply #243 on: December 23, 2011, 09:57:24 AM »

The Obama Administration's re-election mobilization continues: Witness Eric Holder's attempt to play the race card and perhaps twist the law in a campaign against voter identification laws.

In the Attorney General's telling, the movement in the states to require voters to show some ID is a revival of minority disenfranchisement a la Jim Crow. A growing number of minorities, he said in a speech last week, are now worried about "the same disparities, divisions and problems" that beset the country in 1965 and "many Americans, for the first time in their lives . . . now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up" to the promise of democracy for all.

If you haven't heard about this national crisis, perhaps that's because you don't travel in Mr. Holder's political circles. He is merely repeating the howls of groups like the NAACP and the George Soros-funded Brennan Center, which claim without evidence that voter ID laws hurt minorities.

The NAACP even petitioned the United Nations this month for a human-rights ruling on what President Benjamin Jealous called a "tidal wave of assaults on the right to vote." He meant in America, not Cuba or North Korea. The American Civil Liberties Union has sued to challenge a voter ID law in Wisconsin.

Mr. Holder's remarks are especially notable because they come as the Justice Department is reviewing voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina for "preclearance" under the Voting Rights Act. The states' plans require voters to present photo ID like a driver's license or passport to vote, a measure endorsed by the Commission on Federal Election Reform headed by President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker in 2005 to protect the integrity of the ballot.

Mr. Holder says the Civil Rights Division led by Thomas Perez will review the policies and impartially "apply the law." If that's true, Mr. Perez's job should be easy: In 2005, Justice approved a nearly identical law in Georgia. In 2008's Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, the Supreme Court likewise ruled 6-3 that an Indiana law requiring photo ID at the ballot box was constitutional.

The court's liberal lion, then-Justice John Paul Stevens, wrote for the majority that Indiana's law "is unquestionably relevant to the State's interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process." Indiana offered free voter ID cards to all citizens, so the inconvenience of picking up an ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles wasn't an undue burden and was reasonably balanced by the state's interest in reducing fraud, Justice Stevens wrote.

That isn't good enough for Mr. Holder, who says his department's priority is to "expand the franchise." But expand it for whom, exactly? The vast majority of voters already have the necessary photo ID, which they need to get through airport security or register for a grocery-store savings card.

Plaintiffs put up by liberal lawsuit shops routinely claim that ID laws endanger the rights of hundreds of thousands, but lawsuits in Indiana and Georgia were dismissed because they couldn't produce a single eligible voter who'd been turned away due to the ID requirement. Turnout has risen in states that have passed the voter ID laws, with no adverse impact on minorities.

In his speech, Mr. Holder highlighted historical attempts to keep voters away from the polls to "gain partisan advantage." But in a case of more recent history, in 2009, Mr. Holder's department dropped a voter intimidation case against the Black Panther Party, in which members stood outside a polling place brandishing nightsticks and threatening voters. Civil-rights lawyer Bartle Bull saw the Panthers in action and called it "the most blatant form of voter intimidation I've ever seen."

Thirty states now require some form of ID at the polls, and one goal of Mr. Holder's attack is to intimidate other states that want to toughen their laws. He's probably also signaling that Justice will strike down the Texas and South Carolina statutes. This would please the Democratic Party's left while not-so-subtly inventing a threat of Republican racism to drive minority turnout in 2012. Mr. Holder's voter ID alarums are one more reason he's earning a reputation for politicized, partial justice.

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« Reply #244 on: December 23, 2011, 03:11:11 PM »

Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance

David Bernstein and Noah Isackson

A few months before last February’s citywide elections, Hal Baskin’s phone started ringing. And ringing. Most of the callers were candidates for Chicago City Council, seeking the kind of help Baskin was uniquely qualified to provide.
Baskin isn’t a slick campaign strategist. He’s a former gang leader and, for several decades, a community activist who now operates a neighborhood center that aims to keep kids off the streets. Baskin has deep contacts inside the South Side’s complex network of politicians, community organizations, and street gangs. as he recalls, the inquiring candidates wanted to know: “Who do I need to be talking to so I can get the gangs on board?”
Baskin—who was himself a candidate in the 16th Ward aldermanic race, which he would lose—was happy to oblige. In all, he says, he helped broker meetings between roughly 30 politicians (ten sitting aldermen and 20 candidates for City Council) and at least six gang representatives. That claim is backed up by two other community activists, Harold Davis Jr. and Kublai K. M. Toure, who worked with Baskin to arrange the meetings, and a third participant, also a community activist, who requested anonymity. The gang representatives were former chiefs who had walked away from day-to-day thug life, but they were still respected on the streets and wielded enough influence to mobilize active gang members.
The first meeting, according to Baskin, occurred in early November 2010, right before the statewide general election; more gatherings followed in the run-up to the February 2011 municipal elections. The venues included office buildings, restaurants, and law offices. (By all accounts, similar meetings took place across the city before last year’s elections and in elections past, including after hours at the Garfield Center, a taxpayer-financed facility on the West Side that is used by the city’s Department of Family and Support Services.)
At some of the meetings, the politicians arrived with campaign materials and occasionally with aides. The sessions were organized much like corporate-style job fairs. The gang representatives conducted hourlong interviews, one after the other, talking to as many as five candidates in a single evening. Like supplicants, the politicians came into the room alone and sat before the gang representatives, who sat behind a long table. “One candidate said, ‘I feel like I’m in the hot seat,’” recalls Baskin. “And they were.”
The former chieftains, several of them ex-convicts, represented some of the most notorious gangs on the South and West Sides, including the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Cobras, Black P Stones, and Black Gangsters. Before the election, the gangs agreed to set aside decades-old rivalries and bloody vendettas to operate as a unified political force, which they called Black United Voters of Chicago. “They realized that if they came together, they could get the politicians to come to them,” explains Baskin.
The gang representatives were interested in electing aldermen sympathetic to their interests and those of their impoverished wards. As for the politicians, says Baskin, their interests essentially boiled down to getting elected or reelected. “All of [the political hopefuls] were aware of who they were meeting with,” he says. “They didn’t care. All they wanted to do was get the support.”
Baskin declined to name names, but Chicago has learned, through other sources at the meetings, the identities of some of the participants. They include: Aldermen Howard Brookins Jr. (21st Ward), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Willie Cochran (20th), and Freddrenna Lyle (6th). Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) attended a meeting; upon realizing that the participants had close gang ties, she objected but stayed. Also attending were candidates who would go on to win their races, including Michael Chandler (24th) and Roderick Sawyer (6th). Darcel Beavers, the former 7th Ward alderman who would wind up losing her race, and Patricia Horton, a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District who lost her bid for city clerk, also met with the group.
Chandler, Brookins, and Burnett told Chicago they did not attend such a meeting. Sawyer and Horton did not return several calls seeking comment. A spokesman for Dowell confirmed that she attended the meeting after she objected. Beavers, Cochran, and Lyle, who was recently appointed as a Cook County judge, said they attended but were not told beforehand that former gang chiefs would be there, nor that the purpose involved gang-backed political support. “It, basically, was no different than sitting in front of any other panel that asks you questions relative to constituent issues,” said Cochran.
During the meetings, the politicians were allotted a few minutes to make their pitches. The former gang chiefs then peppered them with questions: What would they do about jobs? School safety? Police harassment? Help for ex-cons? But in the end, as with most things political in Chicago, it all came down to one question, says Davis, the community activist who helped Baskin with some of the meetings. He recalls that the gang representatives asked, “What can you give me?” The politicians, most eager to please, replied, “What do you want?”
Street gangs have been a part of Chicago politics at least since the days of the notorious First Ward bosses “Bathhouse John” Coughlin and Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna, who a century ago ran their vice-ridden Levee district using gangs of toughs armed with bats and pistols to bully voters and stuff ballot boxes. “Gangs and politics have always gone together in this city,” says John Hagedorn, a gang expert and professor of criminal justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It’s a shadowy alliance, he adds, that is deeply ingrained in Chicago’s political culture: “You take care of them; they’ll take care of us.”
To what extent do street gangs influence—and corrupt—Chicago politics today? And what are the consequences for ordinary citizens? To find out, Chicago conducted more than 100 interviews with current and former elected officials and candidates, gang leaders, senior police officials, rank-and-file cops, investigators, and prosecutors. We also talked to community activists, campaign operatives, and criminologists. We limited our scope to the city (though alliances certainly exist in some gang-infested suburbs) and focused exclusively on Democrats, since they are the dominant governing party in Chicago and in the statehouse. Moreover, we looked at the political influence of street gangs only, not of traditional organized crime—a worthy subject for another day.
Our findings:
• While they typically deny it, many public officials—mostly, but not limited to, aldermen, state legislators, and elected judges—routinely seek political support from influential street gangs. Meetings like the ones Baskin organized, for instance, are hardly an anomaly. Gangs can provide a decisive advantage at election time by performing the kinds of chores patronage armies once did.
• In some cases, the partnerships extend beyond the elections in troubling—and possibly criminal—ways, greased by the steady and largely secret flow of money from gang leaders to certain politicians and vice versa. The gangs funnel their largess through opaque businesses, or front companies, and through under-the-table payments. In turn, grateful politicians use their payrolls or campaign funds to hire gang members, pull strings for them to get jobs or contracts, or offer other favors (see “Gangs and Politicians: Prisoner Shuffle”).
• Most alarming, both law enforcement and gang sources say, is that some politicians ignore the gangs’ criminal activities. Some go so far as to protect gangs from the police, tipping them off to impending raids or to surveillance activities—in effect, creating safe havens in their political districts. And often they chafe at backing tough measures to stem gang activities, advocating instead for superficial solutions that may garner good press but have little impact.
The paradox is that Chicago’s struggle to combat street gangs is being undermined by its own elected officials. And the alliances between lawmakers and lawbreakers raise a troubling question: Who actually rules the neighborhoods—our public servants or the gangs?

**Read it all.
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« Reply #245 on: December 26, 2011, 02:26:28 PM »

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department blocked South Carolina's new voter identification law, citing concerns about the law's effect on African-American voters and setting up a new conflict between the Obama administration and Republican-led state governments.
'We plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned,' said South Carolina Gov. Haley.

The South Carolina proposal would require voters to provide state-issued or military photo identification in order to cast a ballot. Current law allows voters to use a printed voter registration card as identification.

Under the federal Voting Rights Act, South Carolina must prove that any changes in voting law don't have the effect of discriminating against minorities. The state can either change the law or, more likely, challenge the Justice Department's objection in court. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called the federal action "outrageous," adding that "we plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process."

The Republican-led legislature passed the law earlier this year, and proponents said the identification requirement is needed to ensure balloting is free from fraud. Civil rights groups say the law threatens to infringe on the rights of voters who don't have driver's licenses and may not have the means to pay for documentation to get state-issued IDs.

"Although the state has a legitimate interest in preventing voter fraud and safeguarding voter confidence," it didn't provide "any evidence or instance of either in-person voter impersonation or any other type of fraud that is not already addressed by the state's existing voter identification requirement," said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney for civil rights, in a letter to state officials.

Mr. Perez said the law could have a discriminatory effect on nearly 82,000 minority voters. Minorities account for about 30% of South Carolina's 2.7 million registered voters.

South Carolina is one of dozens of jurisdictions in all or parts of 16 states, mostly in the South, required to get permission from the attorney general or a panel of judges in the District of Columbia federal court before making changes to local voting laws.

The Justice Department's move is sure to stir partisan disputes as a presidential election draws near. The last such Justice Department challenge of a voter identification law occurred in 1994 against Louisiana, under President Bill Clinton, and led to changes that passed muster with the department.

Voter ID laws in Georgia and Indiana, passed during the administration of President George W. Bush, didn't draw objections from the Justice Department. The Supreme Court in 2008 upheld the Indiana law.

Lawyers from the Justice Department's civil rights division spent months reviewing data turned over by South Carolina and determined that nonwhite voters were 20% more likely not have a photo ID issued by the state motor vehicles department. The data showed 10% of nonwhite registered voters and 8.4% of white voters don't have a state DMV photo ID.

Chad Connelly, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, said Democrats were exaggerating the effects of the law because they have "depended on" fraudulent votes in elections. He cited federal law that requires showing identification to buy certain cold medicines at a pharmacy.

"They have to show an ID to get a Sudafed at CVS," he said. "There's no reason you shouldn't show an ID to show you're an American."

Mr. Perez, in his letter, acknowledged provisions in the state law that attempt to mitigate the effect on minority voters, including allowing voters to get free state-issued IDs. But he said the measures weren't enough.

"Until South Carolina succeeds in substantially addressing the racial disparities," the state cannot meet the burden of proving the law doesn't have a discriminatory effect, he wrote.

South Carolina is one of seven states with voter ID laws signed into law in 2011, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York University think-tank that studies voting issues. Only two had such laws before this year, according to the Brennan Center.

The Obama administration has repeatedly tangled with right-leaning states, mostly over state immigration laws that the federal government argues infringe on its powers.

Partisan fights over vote fraud have become commonplace in election years. Republicans have accused Democrats of using fraud to win elections. Democrats accuse Republicans of using voter ID laws and election-day tricks, such as pamphlets and automated calls, to discourage likely Democratic voters from turning out.

There is scant evidence from years of studies that the isolated instances of vote fraud are significant enough to turn an election. In recent years, federal and state authorities have prosecuted voter-registration fraud complaints. Those mostly relate to people who commit fraud to get paid for registering voters, not actual ballots being cast in a fraudulent way.

Similarly, alleged voter suppression efforts are hard to document. In one recent case in Maryland, a jury convicted an aide to the Republican gubernatorial candidate for authorizing automated calls to voters in majority-black precincts that prosecutors alleged were aimed at suppressing black turnout.

The calls claimed that the Democratic candidate had already won and that voters could stay home. It is unknown how many voters heeded the calls. The Democratic candidate easily won.

In a speech this month, Attorney General Eric Holder focused his concern on state laws that he said threatened to make voting less accessible. He hinted at possible coming battles with other states, noting that the Justice Department was scrutinizing state laws in Florida, Texas and elsewhere that have curtailed early balloting or added hurdles to registration efforts.

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« Reply #246 on: December 27, 2011, 08:36:16 AM »

Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote.

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Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.

Seven states have already passed strict laws requiring a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) to vote, which many students don’t have, and 27 others are considering such measures. Many of those laws have been interpreted as prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses from being used for voting.

It’s all part of a widespread Republican effort to restrict the voting rights of demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic. Blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the young, who are more likely to support President Obama, are disproportionately represented in the 21 million people without government IDs. On Friday, the Justice Department, finally taking action against these abuses, blocked the new voter ID law in South Carolina.

Republicans usually don’t want to acknowledge that their purpose is to turn away voters, especially when race is involved, so they invented an explanation, claiming that stricter ID laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. In fact, there is almost no voter fraud in America to prevent.

William O’Brien, the speaker of the New Hampshire State House, told a Tea Party group earlier this year that students are “foolish” and tend to “vote their feelings” because they lack life experience. “Voting as a liberal,” he said, “that’s what kids do.” And that’s why, he said, he supported measures to prohibit students from voting from their college addresses and to end same-day registration. New Hampshire Republicans even tried to pass a bill that would have kept students who previously lived elsewhere from voting in the state; fortunately, the measure failed, as did the others Mr. O’Brien favored.

Many students have taken advantage of Election Day registration laws, which is one reason Maine Republicans passed a law eliminating the practice. Voters restored it last month, but Republican lawmakers there are already trying new ways to restrict voting. The secretary of state said he was investigating students who are registered to vote in the state but pay out-of-state tuition.

Wisconsin once made it easy for students to vote, making it one of the leading states in turnout of younger voters in 2004 and 2008. When Republicans swept into power there last year, they undid all of that, imposing requirements that invalidated the use of virtually all college ID cards in voter registration. Colleges are scrambling to change their cards to add signatures and expiration dates, but it’s not clear whether the state will let them.

Imposing these restrictions to win an election will embitter a generation of students in its first encounter with the machinery of democracy.

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« Reply #247 on: December 27, 2011, 09:37:14 AM »

"Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote."

a) If they are away from home on election day, they can vote absentee back home - like adults do. 

b) If they like where they live and are all grown up ready to vote and this is home now, not their parents' house, they can change their driver's license to their new address within 30 days of moving as would be otherwise required by law.  School starts by Sept 1.  Election day is in Nov.  That ought to do it.

c) They could take notice that the campaign was in full swing 1.5 YEARS before election day and make a decision to vote, where to vote and how to comply with identification rules before the last day. 

Many of these kids have a year of AP-US History, AP Physics and 2 years of AP Calculus before they turn 18 or enter college.  How about we make rules for everyone that protects the integrity of the process and let them comply.   Perhaps they are too busy to deal with real world realities; that may explain why they come in and vote like their professors until they find the world is different than they were taught.  Somewhere in their studies perhaps they came across places on earth throughout history where it really was hard to vote.
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« Reply #248 on: December 27, 2011, 11:05:04 PM »

Listening to opposition radio today I learned that Newt (allegedly) did not make the ballot in Virginia because of the new, tighter rules on voter registration.  He submitted 12,500 signatures they said but 10,000 signatures of registered voters is required to make the ballot and he came up short.  Same list 4 years ago would have been fine, but the rules changed.  They were finding the irony quite enjoyable.  (Unverified, I am unable to find a link.)
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« Reply #249 on: December 27, 2011, 11:31:18 PM »

Listening to opposition radio today I learned that Newt (allegedly) did not make the ballot in Virginia because of the new, tighter rules on voter registration.  He submitted 12,500 signatures they said but 10,000 signatures of registered voters is required to make the ballot and he came up short.  Same list 4 years ago would have been fine, but the rules changed.  They were finding the irony quite enjoyable.  (Unverified, I am unable to find a link.)

No sympathy for Newt. If Ron Paul's band of misfit toys could get him on the ballot, it's not that freakin' hard.
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