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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A kinder, gentler bunch of TeaBaggers

And just in time for 2014 (and '16).

Houston’s preeminent tea party group, King Street Patriots, and its spinoff True The Vote, had big plans for last November’s election. After making a splash in the 2010 midterm elections by dispatching teams of suburban poll-watchers into inner-city Houston neighborhoods, they planned to significantly up the ante by organizing one million poll-watchers nationwide.

As former Observer-er Abby Rapoport reported for the American Prospect in October, True The Vote’s actual poll-watcher force would fall far short of that milestone.

They've lost nothing in terms of enthusiasm, however.  Just read this about Ted Cruz's victory lap at KSP HQ last night, and then go look at the pictures.  Make no mistake: Houston and Harris County are once again Ground Zero for the success or failure of their agenda.

“Make no mistake, there was fraud.” That’s how Catherine Engelbrecht, who heads both groups, helped explain what happened at King Street’s post-election recap (back in January).
Conservative groups across the country are soul-searching and charting new courses after this election, and King Street Patriots and True The Vote are no different. As Engelbrecht stressed from the stage (in January), that course runs back through Houston.

“People think, ‘Oh, Texas is a red state.’ Texas is not a red state, Texas is a purple state,” Engelbrecht said. “If you don’t think Harris County can, in the next election cycle, flop all of Texas—they can.”

Yes, across town the liberals were busy balancing things out last night with their own events: Wendy Davis' brain spoke in Meyerland to a hundred, and there was an even larger turnout at the early vote rally hosted by the International Caucus of Mayor Annise Parker's steering committee.  Slightly different demographics at each event, you will note.

Go read the rest of the article excerpted, and don't overlook that this meeting took place a few days after Obama was inaugurated for his second term.  The KSP has been making these plans since the first of the year.

Engelbrecht conceded the plan might sound a little out-there. “You sit back and think, ‘Holy moly, they have lost their minds, talking to prostitutes and drug [dealers],’” she said, but she asked her fellow Patriots to trust her. ”We’re just gonna start helping in the community and it will turn things around.”

To handle this new plan—itself a resuscitation of the group’s dormant “Citizen Patriot Response,” or CPR, program—King Street has tapped another friend of the program, anarchist-turned-tea-partier Brandon Darby. Darby explained his plans to “take a small area of Harris County, probably close by,” and “begin to work with them, and get our communities…involved in their communities.”

You better go read it (again, hopefully). And then read this, about how Texas is busily trying to disenfranchise the most crucial demographic Wendy Davis needs in order to be elected governor.

There are several ways for this voter ID law to royally complicate a woman's ability to cast her ballot. What if she celebrates her wedding in late October or even in the first few days of November? Yes, she could submit an absentee ballot, but who thinks of that in the days leading up to her wedding? And what about women who have a tough work and family schedule? Do those women really have the time to track down original documents? That's before we even talk about the $20 fee, which can feel like a lot of money to someone struggling to pay her bills, or a woman fresh out of school.

We're just going to say it: These additions to voter ID laws in Texas seem to specifically target women, especially young women, busy moms, and those living close to the poverty level. And these are precisely the women who may be voting for changes in Texas that likely run counter to what the men (and it was pretty much all men) who passed this voter ID law—such as supporting Wendy Davis' run for governor. So much for the idea that the support surrounding Davis' marathon filibuster might encourage the Texas legislature to do some soul searching about women's rights.

Ted Cruz, the King Street Patriots, all of the Republicans running for statewide office next year, and the rest of the worst conservatives in the USA are going to keep expanding their reality and vision of Texas... or the rest of us are going to replace it, and them.  The battle is being fought right now, house to house.  The winner is still to be determined.

But if you want an early clue as to how things might go, watch the results of the District A Houston city council race.  Helena Brown's bid for re-election could be a tea leaf with some tiny writing on it.

Update: Claude Bitner in the comment section doesn't think women with different names on their IDs should be a problem, but a Texas district judge found out otherwise today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

King Street Patriots are breaking the law -- again

If you see any of these thugs at your polling place on Election Day -- or, for that matter, at an early voting location -- call the Harris County Sheriff's Department immediately.

A video shows Texas House District candidate Jim Murphy (R) engaging in political speech at a King Street Patriots event to which opponent state Rep. Kristi Thibaut (D) was not invited. In the video, Murphy talks about his candidacy for office, criticizes Thibaut numerous times and appeals to the audience for help with his campaign.

“I think it’s blatant electioneering. What the King Street Patriots are doing as a nonprofit is prohibited under law,” said Craig McDonald, director of nonprofit watchdog Texans for Public Justice. “If they want to do that kind of one-sided politicking, they need to be a political party or a political committee. They can’t hide behind nonprofit laws to do political campaigning.”

KSP is registered with the Texas Secretary of State as a nonprofit corporation, and, according to KSP representatives, is a nonprofit 501(c)4 corporation. A 501(c)4 group does not have to disclose the source of its donations. Violating state campaign finance laws against corporate contributions is a felony that can carry thousands of dollars in fines and years in jail.

They're in league with the outgoing Harris County voter registrar Leo Vasquez, also a violation of the law which has resulted in yet another lawsuit filed against that office. The Harris County GOP is working in concert with them to "train pollworkers". They intend to intimidate and harass voters on Election Day.

Glenn Smith, Stace Medellin, and I have previously documented these violations. What these radicals have already done, however, pales in comparison to what they plan to do in the coming election period.

The video, posted Oct. 6 to by a user named King Street Patriots, opens with text introducing Murphy as a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives District 133. (There are only 32 congressional districts in Texas — Murphy is a candidate for the Texas House.) The text also identifies Catherine Engelbrecht, president of KSP and its 501(c)3 nonprofit True The Vote, and dates the video Sept. 20, 2010.

In the video, Engelbrecht introduces Murphy: “He is, as we all know now, up against Kristi Thibaut” — someone off-screen shouts “ACORN” — and Engelbrecht smiles and says, “Hmmm, really….”
Engelbrecht continues, “Without further ado, let’s bring up our soon-to-be Rep. Jim Murphy.”

Murphy begins his speech by thanking KSP for its work challenging voter applications sent in by nonprofit Houston Votes, a project of Texans Together Education Fund. Thibaut has a leadership position in the organization, and also received $43,000 in political contributions in 2008 from Texans Together’s affiliated political committee, which, unlike KSP, is registered with the Texas Ethics Commission.

In the video, Murphy calls on Thibaut to resign her position with the group, denounce its activities and to “return that tainted money.”

Murphy tells the audience that he lost his 2008 Texas House reelection bid to Thibaut by a mere 453 votes: “But who’s counting?” he jokes. (Murphy actually lost by 497 votes, according to the Texas Secretary of State.)

Murphy introduces his wife to the crowd, as well as his campaign manager Tom Holloway and assistant campaign manager Rachel Nicholson, identifying them by name.

“I point them out because they want you to get to work, and they want to see you after this presentation, so we’ll get to that,” Murphy says before launching into the subject of the Texas Legislature.

At the end of his roughly 30-minute talk, during a Q&A session with the audience, Murphy appeals for their help in electing more Republicans to the Texas House, in order to replace House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) with someone more conservative.

“We need about another eight Republicans across the state,” Murphy says. “And you have friends in Dallas; you have friends in East Texas; you have friends in Central Texas that can influence these elections, that will give us the numbers we did [before the 2008 elections].”

At one point in the video, after making an awkward joke about heterosexuality and marriage, Murphy laughs and says, “Is this being filmed? You can edit that part out.”

He continues, “We’re among friends.”

The Texas Ethics Commission has a procedure for filing a complaint against this illegal activity as the first step in citizen action. You may call them for more information at 1-800-325-8506.


* Houston tea party group King Street Patriots may risk violating state, federal laws, experts say
* Houston tea party-trained poll volunteers not expecting voter fraud, are prepared to address it, group leader says
* Harris County GOP directs pollworkers to training from tea party group
* Harris County spokesman: Democrats’ $1.5 million voter records request vastly different from tea party’s $1,000 one
* Rabid Dog Briefly Mistaken for Tea Party Candidate (Andy Borowitz)
* Right wing anxiety over voter fraud grows

And an excerpt from that last link ...

Emerging from the resulting hysteria has been a concerted effort among some tea party groups, most notably the one in Harris County, to conduct training sessions for poll workers and recruit volunteers to monitor the polls during election day. This development, in turn, has alarmed voting experts who are less concerned about dead or imaginary people showing up to vote than poll watchers who might unfairly challenge votes because they are partisan or don’t understand the rules of polling places.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ed Emmett, Don Sumners, and "esperanza"

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has brokered a deal with the Texas secretary of state to restore about $700,000 in funding the state had cut off after the county tax assessor said he would not purge presumed-dead voters from the rolls before the Nov. 6 election.

Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners on last week said he would delay the purge after hundreds of very-much-alive voters called his staff, upset about a letter they had received from his office saying they may be dead and would be removed from the rolls if they did not act within 30 days.

Those voters were on a list of about 9,000 names generated by the Secretary of State's Office using data from the Social Security Administration's master death file, as mandated by a new state law.

State officials, saying the purge is required by law, accused Sumners of jeopardizing the integrity of the election and cut off his voter registration funding. Sumners had received about $31,000 of an expected $732,404 this year before being shut off, secretary of state spokesman Rich Parsons said. 

When this news broke last week -- along with the subsequent developments -- my first reaction was the same as everyone else's: "I'll be damned; Don Sumners did the right thing". As I thought about it some more -- given Sumners' inherent Tea Party bias -- I began to wonder if this wasn't some kind of three-dimensional chess game, where Sumners would be able to disenfranchise last-minute registrations, hang a 'Mission Accomplished' banner at the King Street Patriots' headquarters, and avoid being seen as the bad guy. (Texas SOS Esperanza "Hope" Andrade is, after all, appointed by the governor and thus unaccountable to public opinion.)

But then I remembered: this is Don Sumners. He can't be trusted to pull on his boxers with the snap in front. Even Ed Emmett knows this.

Emmett blamed Sumners for the mix-up, revealing the tax office had been sent two lists by the secretary of state, but only acted on one. One list included 9,000 names the state considered "weak" matches to death records. The second list was composed of about 1,000 names considered "strong" matches to death records.

Sumners' office only sent letters to voters on the "weak" list. Sumners, who serves as the county's chief voter registrar, acknowledged his office erred, believing until late last week that the 1,000 names on the "strong" list were among the 9,000 on the other list.

Emmett's deal is based on the "strong" list. The secretary of state has agreed to restore Sumners' funding if the taxman sends letters to the names on the strong list, canceling those whose relatives confirm they are dead and removing from the voter rolls those for whom there is no response after 30 days, Parsons said.

Everybody -- yes, even Democrats -- believes the deceased ought to be removed from the voter rolls. Only a few people who drink too much tea and watch too much Fox News believe it's a good idea to do it the way Sumners did it, especially less than two months before Election Day. He must have gotten a lot of calls from allegedly dead Republicans to have reversed himself so quickly.

To the larger issue of voter disenfranchisement generally -- and the growing franchise operated by Catherine Engelbrecht -- here's an example of what KSP thinks is happening... and what's really happening.

In Houston, the group targeted the Congressional district represented by Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat who is black. Ms. Engelbrecht said the group settled on Ms. Lee’s district because thousands of addresses there housed six or more registered voters, which it took as an indication of inaccurate registrations. The methodology, which the group still uses, could disproportionately affect lower income families. 

Volunteers spent five months analyzing 3,800 registrations in Ms. Lee’s district, discovering more than 500 voters that the group said were problematic. More than 200 voters were registered at vacant lots, prompting Ms. Engelbrecht to later remark that those voters had a “Lord of the Rings Middle Earth sort of thing going on.” 

The reality was far less interesting. 

“They had one particular case I remember very well,” said Douglas Ray, the Harris County assistant attorney who represents the election registrar. “They had identified an address where eight or 10 people were registered to vote. There was no building there.” Mr. Ray found out that the building had been torn down and that the people simply moved. 

This would be another example of conservatives really having no understanding -- and even less empathy -- of how the poverty-stricken live their lives.

My feeling is that most independent voters are as sick of sneering plutocrats and oligarchs as the the rest of us. But we'll have to wait and see what the poll that concludes on November 6 says.

That's moving from esperanza and toward surety every day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Republicans are worried about voter suppression.

Yes, you read that right.

Conservative blogs and news media are all buzzing about a team of international election monitors coming to observe the presidential elections in November. The observers are arriving at the invitation of the State Department and the behest of a number of civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, ACLU, and others.

The latter groups’ call for an international team to keep an eye on the U.S. elections focuses particularly on states that have enacted strict voter I.D. laws and other curtailing of voting rights. An NAACP delegation visited the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland in September to bring attention to the issue. The NAACP’s move, and the idea of foreign presence in the U.S. to observe elections, has infuriated many on the right.

Such as Greg Abbott.

(Abbott) sent a sharply worded letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a group affiliated with the U.N. that plans to monitor Texas' elections on Nov. 6.
Abbott's message to the group, which has been dubbed the world's biggest election monitoring organization: Come at your own risk.

"The Texas Election Code governs anyone who participates in Texas elections — including representatives of the OSCE," Abbott wrote. "The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law."

Let's go to Catherine Engelbrecht, of True the Vote (sic) and her interview on Fox News.

Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote appeared on Fox News on Monday claiming that the monitors’ presence was actually intended to prevent and discourage U.S. voters from exercising their rights. Fox’s Megyn Kelly readily agreed, stressing the left-leaning nature of the civil rights groups, seemingly unaware of the State Department’s role in inviting the monitors. It’s worth mentioning that True the Vote, itself a Tea Party group voter suppression effort, is currently under investigation for possible criminal conspiracy.

The most effective conservative meme feeds into a handful of paranoid conspiracies at once, and this one fits the bill. (Did you notice how quickly the United Nations connection was seized upon?)

As commenter Laura Miller notes...

The GOP is so vociferously concerned about voter fraud, you'd think they'd welcome outside observers to make sure there are no problems.

What are they so afraid of?

Why, that would be losing a fair election, of course. Or getting caught trying to steal one again, like they did in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. Or that "American exceptionalism" might not be all it's purported, with all of the voter fraud committed by Republicans that's been coming to light lately.

If you're not doing anything wrong, Republicans, you don't have anything to worry about.

On the other hand...

I certainly hope the election observers will be wearing body armor, because the Texas Taliban are capable of showing up armed and deranged when their fear and xenophobia are stoked like this.

Updates: Neil with more, and the international monitors respond to Abbott's bluster.

Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), responded in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that Abbott's threat put the state of Texas at odds with an agreement between the body and state authorities.

“The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable,” Lenarčič said. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”

Lenarčič took issue with insinuations that officials in the group would meddle with elections, reiterating that they were bound by national laws and regulations, as well as their own strict code of conduct.

“Our observers are required to remain strictly impartial and not to intervene in the voting process in any way,” Lenarčič said. “They are in the United States to observe these elections, not to interfere in them.”

Let's separate and add some emphasis to this last sentence.

A release relaying Lenarčič's comments pointed out that the OSCE has observed five previous U.S. elections since 2002, all without incident.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A four-year-old tale of corruption finally told: Greg Abbott and Houston Votes

The Texas attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weekend just got a whole lot worse.  From James Drew at the Dallas Morning News...

On an overcast Monday afternoon, officers in bulletproof vests swept into a house on Houston’s north side. The armed deputies and agents served a search warrant. They carted away computers, hard drives and documents.

The raid targeted a voter registration group called Houston Votes, which was accused of election fraud. It was initiated by investigators for Attorney General Greg Abbott. His aides say he is duty-bound to preserve the integrity of the ballot box.

His critics, however, say that what Abbott has really sought to preserve is the power of the Republican Party in Texas. They accuse him of political partisanship, targeting key Democratic voting blocs, especially minorities and the poor, in ways that make it harder for them to vote, or for their votes to count.

A close examination of the Houston Votes case reveals the consequences when an elected official pursues hotly contested allegations of election fraud.

The investigation was closed one year after the raid, with no charges filed. But for Houston Votes, the damage was done. Its funding dried up, and its efforts to register more low-income voters ended. Its records and office equipment never were returned. Instead, under a 2013 court order obtained by Abbott’s office, they were destroyed.

And the dramatic, heavily armed raid never was necessary, according to Fred Lewis, president of Texans Together, the nonprofit parent group of Houston Votes. “They could have used a subpoena,” he said. “They could have called us and asked for the records. They didn’t need guns.”

The previously unreported 2010 raid coincided with agitation by a local tea party group and Lewis’ testimony in the trial of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land. Lewis had filed a complaint against DeLay that, in large part, led to his indictment on corruption charges.

Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, declined interview requests. A spokesman, Jerry Strickland, said the attorney general does not recall being briefed by staff members on the Houston Votes investigation.

This is a lengthy piece, and you should set aside some time to read every word. I have a vested interest because Mo Haver (the former head of Houston Votes, mentioned prominently) is my friend, Fred Lewis is an acquaintance, and I was present at the kickoff for their mobilization four years ago.  The efforts of Houston Votes turned into a massive brouhaha -- as the article reveals -- involving three previous Harris County tax assessor-collectors: Paul Bettencourt (he's now poised to be elected state senator, replacing Dan Patrick), Leo Vasquez, and Don Sumners; the head of the now-notorious King Street Patriots/True the Vote, Catherine Engelbrecht; and a handful more of some of the most corrupt and venal Republicans in the state of Texas.

Here it might be useful to point out, via a very handy GIF, the entire substance of voter fraud in the United States.

You should read the entire DMN article, particularly for the backstory on this.

(OAG investigator Jennifer) Croswell said a Houston Votes employee had told her that scanned copies of voter registration applications were given to Lewis and several of them didn’t have personal information redacted.

That, Croswell said, was a felony violation of the Penal Code.

“You are not allowed to copy, scan, reproduce a voter registration application, period. Nobody is allowed to,” Croswell told Haver.

Haver responded that Houston Votes had received voter registration cards from the county in 2008. Printed on the cards was a note directing that copies should be kept for 18 months.

Haver’s attorney said Vasquez, the Harris County tax assessor-collector, had given copies of voter registration applications to King Street Patriots. Haver said Vasquez also displayed them during a news conference. Was that not illegal?

Croswell did not respond.

Croswell left the attorney general’s office a few months after her interview with Haver and is now an Austin police officer. She declined to comment.

And to the end.

Haver, who resigned for reasons of poor health from her job with Texans Together in January 2011, said she believes there was no prosecution because there was no “credible evidence of voter fraud or criminal behavior.”

“From the [voter] registrar to the attorney general to the district attorney, all the players were Republicans, so no one can point to partisan protection from indictment. Instead, one can point to a lack of evidence,” she said.

When Haver was interviewed by Abbott’s office in late 2010, her attorney asked if Haver could get some folders returned to her. They’d been taken in the Houston raid and contained research Haver had done on possible irregularities in how GOP officials in Harris County were handling voter registration.

Haver told the attorney general’s office that the research had no relationship to the Houston Votes investigation. “We kept following up, and they kept giving us the runaround about getting it returned,” she said recently.

In late 2013, Abbott’s office asked judges in Harris and Travis counties for permission to destroy the records seized in the two raids. The request said records contained the names of people who were not suspects, partial Social Security numbers and forged voter registration applications.

When the attorney general’s office received a green light from judges, Haver’s research, which did not contain personal identifying information, was among the materials destroyed.

As is historically the case, this development isn't likely to damage Abbott much with his true believers.  It will provide extra motivation to all those folks working with BGTX to mobilize Democratic turnout, registered and still-unregistered.

It helps everyone understand why Abbott doesn't want to do any debates.  He can't respond 'no comment' when the media asks him about things like voter "fraud" -- and Ted Nugent, and Dr. Murray, and CPRIT, and the Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman rape case, and "driving around" to ask if explosive chemicals are stored near your house, and all of the rest of his myriad of scandals -- in a debate.

And it also reveals once more the depth of the immoral, craven, opportunistic sociopath who sits in the OAG, and who hopes to sit in the Governor's Mansion next January.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Bloglunch with Mike Sullivan

Last Friday, the Harris County tax assessor/collector's new media and communications manager, Justin Concepcion -- he recently moved over from Mayor Annise Parker's office --  arranged a sit-down with us blogger types.

John filed a brief report about it already, and Noah has been a fan of Sullivan's for some time.

Sullivan's term as TA/C so far is in marked contrast with his way-too-high-profile predecessors Paul Bettencourt, Leo Vazquez, and Don Sumners.  (Between the three of those assholes, it seems I have written more than fifty blog posts.)  Sullivan appears to have figured out that the tax office doesn't need to make headlines, and that's to his credit.

Sullivan really wanted to brag a little on the improvements in customer service he's made, which include shortening the queues at the 16 branch offices and taking credit cards as payment for vehicle license registrations.  We wouldn't let him, however; much of our focus was on the voter registration side of things.

Mike Sullivan knew he had a big job ahead even before he was elected TA/C of Harris County. He just didn't know HOW big.
(photo courtesy Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle)

Let's get some advisories out of the way first: it's too late, as of yesterday, to register to vote in Houston's municipal elections on tap.  You still have time to make sure you have the proper photo identification in order to do so, and here's everything you need to know about that.  Make sure you get that done, and do it now.

Sullivan was avuncular and candid in our hour-long meeting.  He makes a good impression as an administrator and his record so far seems to reflect that competence.  I'm still not bowled over by his efforts to be bipartisan (or non-partisan, as the case may be).  He demurred when asked about things connected with the controversies of the recent past in regard to voter registration; he said that purging of the voter rolls is continuous and ongoing and in coordination with the Texas Secretary of State, John Steen.  But he dodged my questions about whether he favored or disfavored the creation of a county elections administrator.  The topic of True the Vote and Catherine Engelbrecht unfortunately did not come up.

And I am not at all impressed with his appointment of voter registration manager Albert Cheng.  Greg has a couple of posts on Cheng's testimony during this past summer's redistricting hearings, and how badly he misunderstands the concept of "candidate of choice".

But overall, like John and Noah, I admire Sullivan's work ethic and his efforts to improve the county's tax office are apparent.  I just won't ever be a fan of the man's politics.  He does, however, set an example that other Republicans would be wise to follow: leave the BS about Obama outside and do your job.

I'd like to see a lot more of that.

Update: Greg and Charles were also in attendance.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Climbing a tree to tell a lie

... rather than standing on the ground and speaking the truth. That's your modern GOP hard at work. Here is Glenn Smith's expose' from HuffPo:

A right-wing group in Houston engaged in a systematic voter suppression and intimidation effort used a doctored photo in its showcase video. Tellingly, a hand-lettered sign carried by an African-American woman at a 2000 Florida, Gore-Lieberman recount rally was changed from, "Don't Mess With Our Vote," to read, "I Only Got to Vote Once."

Huffington Post editors first suspected the photoshopping after I posted "Possible Arson and the Right's Texas Voter Suppression Effort" regarding King Street Patriots' attacks on a nonprofit voter registration effort and the mysterious fire that destroyed all of Harris County's (Houston) voting machines.

In my regular Sunday FireDogLake column, I posted a follow-up piece, "Contempt for Democracy: Attacks on Voting Rights," that included a link to, which had launched an effort to locate the original photo. Within hours, Newshounds found it.

In addition, a Gore/Lieberman sign was altered to read, "I'm With Stupid." Here is the doctored video as presented in King Street Patriots' video, followed by the original photographs.

In the video, King Street leader Catherine Engelbrecht says their effort is all about the truth, that they just want true, fair, honest elections. But if they are so committed to the truth, why did they use doctored photos? Why did they lie?

Because their real intent -- as it has been for similar voter suppression efforts for decades -- is to create barriers between the ballot box and the voters. They want to suppress the vote of people they suspect of opposing their agenda. In this case, as in most, that means assaulting the voting rights of the poor and minorities.

Now why would the Republicans bother with all of this cheating if they were actually as far ahead as the Lamestream Media bleats that they are? No, really; why?

Similar kinds of crap is happening everywhere.

Benjamin Pearcy, a candidate for statewide office in Arizona, lists his campaign office as a Starbucks. The small business he refers to in his campaign statement is him strumming his guitar on the street. The internal debate he is having in advance of his coming televised debate is whether he ought to gel his hair into his trademark faux Mohawk.

Pearcy, 20, is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission, which oversees public utilities, railroad safety and securities regulation. Although Mr. Pearcy says he is taking his first run for public office seriously, the political establishment here views him as nothing more than a political dirty trick.

Mr. Pearcy and other drifters and homeless people were recruited onto the Green Party ballot by a Republican political operative who freely admits that their candidacies may siphon some support from the Democrats. Arizona’s Democratic Party has filed a formal complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors in an effort to have the candidates removed from the ballot, and the Green Party has urged its supporters to steer clear of the rogue candidates.

“These are people who are not serious and who were recruited as part of a cynical manipulation of the process,” said Paul Eckstein, a lawyer representing the Democrats. “They don’t know Green from red.”

The GOP has to recruit Greens to draw support away from Democrats in Arizona?!? Why, that's almost as ridiculous as their doing so in Texas. Oh, wait ...

Regarding Mr. Eckstein's quote at the end of the excerpt above, naturally our Greens in Texas sure can tell the difference, and they don't care. But that's a digression.

Why don't the Republicans just refocus their efforts? Why don't they try a little harder and come up with some fresh ideas to move the country forward instead of spending all this time, energy, and money on dirty tricks?

Because they can't help themselves; it's just their nature.

Sadder still, people actually do fall for it.  The Republicans constantly pull dirty tricks because it works.

I suppose if this mass delusion actually does manifest itself in November, then the people will get the kind of government they want. But what are the rest of us going to do?