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October 23, 2012

Who created the voter fraud myth?

Who Created the Voter-Fraud Myth? : The New Yorker
True the Vote, which was founded in 2009 and is based in Houston, describes itself as a nonprofit organization, created “by citizens for citizens,” that aims to protect “the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party.” Although the group has a spontaneous grassroots aura, it was founded by a local Tea Party activist, Catherine Engelbrecht, and from the start it has received guidance from intensely partisan election lawyers and political operatives, who have spent years stoking fear about election fraud. This cohort—which Roll Call has called the “voter fraud brain trust”—has filed lawsuits, released studies, testified before Congress, and written op-ed columns and books. Since 2011, the effort has spurred legislative initiatives in thirty-seven states to require photo identification to vote. Engelbrecht has received especially valuable counsel from one member of the group: Hans von Spakovsky. A Republican lawyer who served in the Bush Administration, he is now a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank. “Hans is very, very helpful,” Engelbrecht said. “He’s one of the senior advisers on our advisory council.” Von Spakovsky, who frequently appears on Fox News, is the co-author, with the columnist John Fund, of the recent book “Who’s Counting?,” which argues that America is facing an electoral-security crisis. “Election fraud, whether it’s phony voter registrations, illegal absentee ballots, vote-buying, shady recounts, or old-fashioned ballot-box stuffing, can be found in every part of the United States,” they write. The book connects these modern threats with sordid episodes from the American past: crooked inner-city machines, corrupt black bosses in the Deep South. Von Spakovsky and Fund conclude that electoral fraud is a “spreading” danger, and declare that True the Vote serves “an obvious need.”

October 22, 2012

Lance Armstrong stripped of all his Tour de France wins for doping

Armstrong Stripped of His 7 Tour de France Titles - NYTimes.com
The decision to waive the right to take Armstrong’s case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest court in sports, formally strips Armstrong of the Tour titles he won from 1999 to 2005. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling; he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” Pat McQuaid, president of the cycling union, said in a news conference Monday in Switzerland. “Something like this must never happen again.” McQuaid said he was “sickened” by the facts in the 202-page report the antidoping agency made public two weeks ago regarding the evidence it had in the Armstrong case, and called it mind-boggling how former teammates like the five-time national time trial champion David Zabriskie were pushed to use performance-enhancing drugs. McQuaid said the report showed that Armstrong’s teams had a “win at all costs” attitude fueled by “deceit, intimidation, coercion and evasion,” and that all of the evidence was there to prove that Armstrong doped. Armstrong, who has vehemently denied ever doping, declined to comment Monday. But in the past he said that he, his teammates and those riders who competed against him would always know he won those seven Tours. In his biography on his Twitter page, he still calls himself the seven-time Tour de France winner.

October 21, 2012

The Romney family owns the voting machines that will be used in Ohio

Romney family buys voting machines through Bain Capital investment
"Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States. In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall's election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who "owns" the White House." Both The Nation and New York Times confirm the connection between the Romney family, Solamere and the Bain Capital investment in the voting machine company, Hart Intercivic, whose board of directors serve H.I.G. Capital. "Mitt Romney, his wife Ann Romney, and their son Tagg Romney are also invested in H.I.G. Capital, as is Mitt's brother G. Scott Romney.