Late last week, a federal court spanked Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, ordering him to restore tens of thousands of registered voters to the state's voting rolls and allow them to vote, requiring that officials count those ballots, and --- perhaps most importantly --- placing the onus on elections officials to justify the removal of voters from the rolls, rather than forcing the voters to prove they are who they say they are...
This week, Broward County, Florida, Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said, with a straight face, "No one could have anticipated that this election would be so historic and draw as much attention as it has," and defended her choice to oppose expanding early voting hours next week due to "logistical problems."
In addition to the problems in Florida, there are now reports that longtime GOP "voter fraud" hoaxster Pat Rogers (also known for his involvement in the U.S., Attorney Purge Scandal for the bogus "voter fraud" allegations he filed in 2004, and as a board member of the now-defunct and fully-debunked GOP astro-turf group, "American Center for Voting Rights," or ACVR), is apparently using private investigators to intimidate voters in New Mexico.
Details on those stories and many more --- pre-election litigation over polling place photo I.D. restrictions in Georgia and Ohio, absentee military ballots in Virginia, GOP efforts to close early voting polling places in Indiana, GOP calls for the Dept. of Justice to investigate ACORN just days before a federal election --- from across the country, all follow in the detailed round-up below...
The Hill reports today that defense attorneys for Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ) have filed a motion to dismiss 35 charges of corruption stemming from a sweetheart real estate deal, claiming the federal government secretly and illegally wiretapped Renzi's cell phone.
Ironically, Renzi appears to have been caught up in the very same warrantless wiretapping that he supported as a Congressman...
The emerging meme last week from the conservative corner is that the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is to blame for the economic meltdown on Wall Street. The CRA was intended to confront decades of institutionalized discriminatory lending practices by banks in refusing loans to women and minorities. The twisted logic behind this newest meme is that the CRA forced formerly prudent lenders to abandon their previously cautious ways, and forced them to throw sound lending practices out the window because that's what the law demanded, and gosh, it's not their fault that they made bad loans in the bargain.
You may not be surprised to learn that's not the case. Read below, in full, for some facts that counter the insidious prejudice --- with racism at its heart --- inherent in the latest lie drummed up in the conservative blame game. You'd think they couldn't cry "Political Correctness made me do it!" with a straight face, but alas, they do...
Nouriel Roubini, RGE Monitor, who accurately predicted the current economic crisis: "Last week we argued that, with the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie, comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke had started transforming the USA into the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America). This transformation of the USA into a country where there is socialism for the rich, the well connected and Wall Street (i.e. where profits are privatized and losses are socialized) continues … with the nationalization of AIG."
Atrios: "The entire financial system is practically collapsing and they're lamenting the possibility of more regulation...People who prattle on about 'the free market' are usually too stupid to have a clue how complicated and pervasive the "rules" had to be to to get a well-functioning modern market system: sophisticated concepts of contracts and enforcement, property rights, legal entities, proper accounting, bankruptcy, limited liability, etc... etc..., did not descend from the heavens but were, in fact, created."
Matt Yglesias: "Who knew the 'Washington Consensus' would die in Washington, DC under a Republican President in a mad fit of bailouts and nationalizations?"
WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel Wednesday voted to cite former top White House aide Karl Rove for contempt of Congress as its Senate counterpart publicly pursued possible punishments for an array of alleged past and present Bush administration misdeeds.
Voting along party lines, the House Judiciary Committee said that Rove had broke the law by failing to appear at a July 10 hearing on allegations of White House influence over the Justice Department, including whether Rove encouraged prosecutions against Democrats.
The committee decision is only a recommendation, and it was unclear whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would allow a final vote. Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions, and the White House has said Congress has no authority to compel testimony from current and former advisers.
...Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions, and the White House has said Congress has no authority to compel testimony from current and former advisers.
The White House's opinion that advisers cannot be compelled to testify does not address whether or not the witness is nonetheless required to appear in response to a subpoena. From Congress.
It remains to be seen whether Congressional Democrats will actually assert authority and re-establish parity as a co-equal branch of the federal government under the Constitution, or if this is just more sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Last February the full House voted to hold White House officials Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress. They have failed to enforce that vote, which passed 223 to 32, and AG Mukasey has said he would not enforce the House's contempt finding.
Last December, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended finding Rove in contempt in a bi-partisan 12 to 7 vote, during which Republican Arlen Specter noted "we have no alternative," given Rove's snub of the subpoenas issued by the panel.
Despite the endorsement from even two Republicans on the committee, Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid has failed to bring the recommendation to the full Senate for a vote. Will Pelosi hold the House committee's endorsement (and the will of the American people, and the Rule of Law) in similar contempt?
UPDATE FROM BRAD: In addition to the Committee's finding of contempt, the resolution passed today also recommends an interesting additional course of action recommended for the House, as noted in the Resolution's markup memo [WORD] that we received from the House Judiciary this morning...
Bhutto, 54, was being driven from the rally in her bulletproof vehicle when she asked that the rooftop hatch be opened so she could bid supporters farewell, according to several aides, including one who was sitting next to her.
As she leaned her head through the hatch, between three and five gunshots rang out, aides said. Bhutto sank back into her seat, just as a large bomb detonated to the left of her vehicle. Those inside the car said her face was badly bloodied. It was not clear whether she'd been hit by bullets or shrapnel from the bombing. She lost consciousness, aides said, and never regained it.
The explosion, apparently by a suicide bomber, killed at least 20 people outside the car, and injured many others. Police were investigating whether the bomber was also the gunman. One possibility was that the assailant fired the shots and then, after being tackled by security officials, detonated the bomb.
Coverage from around the world, including the inevitable politicization in this country, and a late update or two, all follow below...
The Washington Postreports that the United States and the European Union signed an agreement this week detailing the amount of private information the U.S. can obtain on EU citizens traveling to and from the United States, what kinds of information can be gathered, and for how long the data may be stored.
Privacy advocates in the U.S. and the E.U. immediately questioned the agreement's sweeping expansion of data mining of travelers’ private information, including such data fields as medical history, religious affiliation, trade union membership, sexual orientation, and sexual partners.
According to WaPo:
Peter Hustinx, the E.U.'s privacy supervisor, expressed "grave concern" over the plan, which he said is "without legal precedent." He wrote to E.U. officials on June 27, "I have serious doubts whether the outcome of these negotiations will be fully compatible with European fundamental rights."
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff praised the pact as an "essential screening tool for detecting potentially dangerous transatlantic travelers." If available at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Chertoff said, such information would have, "within a matter of moments, helped to identify many of the 19 hijackers by linking their methods of payment, phone numbers and seat assignments."
Paul Rosenzweig, Homeland Security’s deputy assistant secretary for policy, explained that the broad categories of information gathered are due to U.S. authorities' fears of risks they haven't yet imagined. Rosenzweig justified the unusual data fields if, for example, U.S. officials learned of an alert about passengers who request wheelchairs hiding bombs in leg casts.
It was the second week of Brad's guest hosting stint for the Peter B. Collins Show from the studios of KPFT in Houston, and what a week it was! (Audio archives now available after the jump!) BRAD BLOG DC Correspondent Margie Burns dug up the genesis of the catchphrase "compassionate conservative," Guest Blogger John Washburn uncovered apparent election fraud in Minnesota's 2004 Presidential election, and Video Master Alan Breslauer tore up the airwaves to bring you the latest and funniest video on the 'tubes! It's all here, including new revelations from CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's "top-to-bottom" review of all of the Golden State's voting systems (all were easily hacked --- no surprise there) and the stunning reaction from some CA election officials... the quiet revisions to the Dept. of Justice manual on "voter fraud" indictments...and the reaction of a PA election director upon discovering voting machine company ES&S's "unsavory business practices" (also no surprise there)!
Catch up on all that you may have missed in the last week, and more, after the jump....
It's the LAST DAY of Brad's week-and-a-half long Guest Hosting stint on the Peter B. Collins Show! And boy have we had a great time, and hope you have, too! Listen in today at 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET) for our final "Bradcast" from the facilities of Pacifica's Houston station, KPFT.
Today is BE THE MEDIA/FREE-SPEECH FRIDAY! So it's your chance to call in with whatever's on your mind (1-888-5PeterB)!
We'll have a few guests hanging with us. With perhaps more to come (if we're in the mood, or they decide to drop by). Just added: GREG PALAST, whom you may have heard of, will be dropping by to say hello and take your calls.
HOUR 1: Open lines, news from Bush World, breaking news on Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" of voting systems, and Greg Palast on vote-caging et al...
HOUR 2: Open lines, more news from Bush World, and Bryan Myers on details from PBS's NOW report on vote-caging, airing this evening...
HOUR 3: Election Integrity Hour - Details from Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" with John Gideon (report was released while we were on the air), a hand-off to Christine Craft of 1240am Talk City in Sacramento, who will be taking over as Guest Host of the PBC show beginning next week, and also leading a group to Bowen's public hearing next Monday, and tons of last minute callers!...
Thank you, PBC! Houston! And everybody in between! We're "outta here"!
The Hill reports that Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has issued a subpoena to White House adviser Karl Rove, the next step in the escalation of the standoff between the White House and Democrats over their attempts to assert congressional oversight and investigation over the executive branch. Scott Jennings, a White House aide, was also subpoenaed.
The latest subpoenas come on the heels of the contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, in which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was openly derided by both Democrats and Republicans on the committee for his perceived misleading testimony; several members of the committee alleged the testimony borders on perjury and today asked the U.S. Solicitor General to appoint a Special Prosecutor.
Comparing current Bush White House tactics to the embattled Nixon Administration, Leahy said:
The evidence shows that senior White House political operatives were focused on the political impact of federal prosecutions and whether federal prosecutors were doing enough to bring partisan voter fraud and corruption cases,” Leahy said. “It is obvious that the reasons given for the firings of these prosecutors were contrived as part of a cover-up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort...
Not since the darkest days of the Nixon administration have we seen efforts to corrupt federal law enforcement for partisan political gain and such efforts to avoid accountability...
I am left to ask what the White House is so intent on hiding that it cannot even identify the documents, the dates, the authors and recipients that they claim are privileged.
Rove and Jennings have one week to appear before the committee to testify under oath.