And on a "lighter" note, Colbert takes a look at the report that AG Eric Holder is "on the verge of" appointing a prosecutor to look into Bush/Cheney torture, and the media's dismal coverage (hello NBC's Chuck Todd!), contending that carrying out the Rule of Law against politicians --- apparently only Republican ones --- should be avoided, because politicians would debate about it on television...
On Friday the House Labor and Education Committee voted 27 - 19 to adopt an amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to HR 3200 [PDF], the hybrid "public option" health care legislation that leaves in place the current multi-payer system. The Kucinich amendment was supported by 13 of the Committee's Republicans. It was opposed by the Committee's chairman, George Miller (D-CA). If it survives a House floor vote and a House/Senate Conference Committee, the Kucinich amendment would insure that efforts to secure single-payer systems at the state level would not be preempted by federal law.
As explained by Donna Smith, co-chair of Progressive Democrats of America's "Healthcare NOT Warfare" campaign during a July 15, 2009 conference call [audio] amongst single-payer activists, the Kucinich amendment does not reflect an abandonment of the effort to enact the national single-payer system embodied in HR 676 [PDF]. As Smith sees it, the right to basic health care is a civil right, and like the earlier civil rights movement, its advocates must be flexible, yet relentless in pressing various strategies to put an end to what I described in "Single-Payer and the 'Democracy Deficit'" as a corrupt, dysfunctional and deadly system which places the obscene wealth of the few over the health and very lives of our citizens.
The Kucinich amendment would permit single-payer advocates in the U.S. to pursue the same strategy used in Canada where a single-payer system was first adopted at the province level, eventually placing pressure on Canada's federal government to adopt a national health care system.
This, by no means, suggests that HR 3200 comes even close to representing meaningful reform...
Earlier this week I wrote about the ABC "News" chuckleheads, and their laff riot over the floated idea of a torture probe, "on the verge of" being announced by AG Eric Holder. They laughed and pooh-poohed the high-larious suggestion on last Sunday's Stephanopoulous.
And now MSNBC offers another egregious example of corporate media failure --- in this case, again, "inside the beltway" corporate media failure --- in their "coverage" of such a possible investigation/prosecution. Glenn Greenwald is, as usual, a must read here beginning this way on Wednesday...
NBC's Chuck Todd --- who, remember, is billed as a reporter covering the White House, not a pundit expressing opinions --- was on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday discussing reports that Eric Holder is likely to appoint a prosecutor to investigate Bush torture crimes. Needless to say, everyone agreed without question that investigations were a ridiculous distraction from what really matters and would be terribly unfair.
As I say, Greenwald's analysis of how far off the rails such insider "journalism" has now gone; how far from what the nation's Founders intended; how completely and utterly out of touch these guys actually seem to be from the public, is a must-read. So please do.
At this rate, Beck is turning himself into a real contender against Palin for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination! A very impressive moment from his radio show today, courtesy of Media Matters, sure to make the wingnuts go further gaga for him!...
Now, if he'd only shoot someone in the face, he'd be a lock for the nomination!
It's been nearly a month since the New York Timesmisinformed readers by describing NJ Democratic Congressman Rush Holt's national election reform bill (H.R. 2894) by inaccurately writing that it "would require paper ballots to be used for every vote cast in November 2010."
As it's currently written, it will do no such thing. It won't be until 2014 that a paper ballot for "every vote cast" will be required.
Election integrity expert Ellen Theisen, of VotersUnite.org (who had previously endorsed the bill, until withdrawing the group's endorsement after a different provision was amended prior to final introduction), told us earlier this month she believed the Times' assertion, in the unbylined editorial, was a "glaring inaccuracy" and a "complete misrepresentation of the bill."
Election attorney John Bonifaz, director of VoterAction.org, which has fervently endorsed this version of Holt's bill, later concurred, in response to a request for comment from The BRAD BLOG, that the Times was inaccurate in its representation of the bill.
While the Times has yet to take note, or issue a correction, Holt himself has responded to our concerns by somewhat re-writing the bullet-point on his website --- which had previously offered inaccurate language describing the bill almost identical to the Times' mischaracterization --- in order to somewhat more accurately describe what the bill actually does...
Following up on Saturday's NEWSWEEK scoop that Attorney General Holder "may be on the verge of" appointing a prosecutor to investigate Bush/Cheney-era torture, Digby notes how the chuckling dinosaurs of ABC News' This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday snickered their way through a discussion of prosecution for torture by the Bush/Cheney regime (in our name!) as if they were wise-cracking about any old political brouhaha from inside the Beltway. (Video/transcript here, courtesy of C&L.)
Note to Stephanopoulos: How about featuring some actual journalists and bloggers who've actually been covering this issue for months (years?) before you eventually come to wonder why your show has gone the way of all the dead trees in the newspaper publishing business. Greenwald, Scahill, Wheeler, Horton all come to mind. It might bring your show up to date...or at least, up to 2006 or so.
The serious folks out there, several mentioned above, took a look at Saturday's NEWSWEEK report with the grim sobriety and analytical acumen that it deserves, while in largely shabby followups Washington Post, New York Times, and Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal all seem to float anonymously sourced trial balloons, averring the notion that only low-level rogue interrogators who exceeded the boundaries of the DoJ's illegal torture justification memos would be targeted by such an investigation.
On that point, while Glenn Greenwald charges such an approach would be arguably "worse than doing nothing," as it would "actually further subvert the rule of law rather than strengthen it," he also notes:
It's worth emphasizing here that all of these reports are preliminary and from anonymous DOJ sources, so it's a bit premature to get too worked up over a prosecution approach which Holder hasn't even announced yet. Still, given how many DOJ sources went to multiple newspapers at the same time to disclose Holder's plans, it seems clear that this was a coordinated, approved effort to disseminate Holder's intentions as a "trial balloon" to gauge public reaction.
Scott Horton's reporting counters the indications from anonymous sources in the increasingly obsolete WaPo, Times, and WSJ coverage which suggests focus on only low-level agents and contractors, rather than policy makers, by reporting that his sources at DoJ indicate just the opposite [emphasis ours]...
The once-great ABC News' Nightline decided on Monday night's show that they would take a look at the possible reasons for Sarah Palin's decision to cut and run from her first term as Alaska Governor. They promised to take a look at the leading theories, so as to help "separate fact from fiction."
How did they do it? First, they asked two of Palin's friends who both generally agreed she decided to abort the job largely because she was tired of it. Then, they presented five possible theories that have been floated.
"Those explanations from people who know Palin haven't been enough for Internet bloggers and conspiracy theorists," Nightline's Vicky Mabrey reads over screenshots of The BRAD BLOG, The Daily Beast, and others sites that reported on the possibility of a criminal investigation. "They've had a field day over the holiday weekend, speculating on a host of other theories why Palin would leave office"...
In an unbylined Wall Street Journal editorial (why a liar and sore-loser like WSJ/GOP operative John Fund is so ashamed to put his name on his own writing we'll never know...okay, maybe we do), the once-respectable paper shamelessly asserts: "Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election."
In response, we'll associate ourselves with TPM's Eric Kleefeld's take on it, calling it "an essay that is so full of factual errors and distortions about what happened, it can drive you nuts if you'd spent countless hours following all the gritty details like I did."
But since the sore-losing, sour-grapes, tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists of the Wall Street Journal have taken the opportunity to propagandize the transparent Franken/Coleman election results by comparing them to the 2004 Washington state Gubernatorial race, where the Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire defeated Republican Dino Rossi during a long, sloppy post-election contest and court case, let's remind folks for the record, here in the reality-based community, what the judges in each case found in regard to the keyboard wingnut claims of "fraud"...
So, imagine if the corporate media had spent even a fraction of the time and resources they've spent going wall-to-wall with around-the-clock "team coverage" of their important "investigation" into the death of Michael Jackson, on any single investigation of any single crime of the Bush Administration.
For example, imagine if they had spent as much time and resources for any single week over the past eight years, on any of the crimes involved with sending us into a war that's killed over 4,000 Americans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and has otherwise put our national security at dangerous risk for decades to come.
Some things are important, we guess. Other things aren't. Don't stop till ya get enough. And don't forget to blame the bloggers on the way out. Heckuva job, mainstream media. Don't let the door hit ya...
It was a "glaring inaccuracy," according to VotersUnite.org's Ellen Theisen last week.
Yet, even though it's been more than a full week since the New York Times ran an editorial endorsing Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)'s new election reform bill (H.R. 2894), in which they included a huge factual error about the legislation, they have failed to issue a correction. Neither have they even bothered to respond to letters to the editor detailing the error, sent to them when we first pointed out the problem last week.
While several aspects of their editorial misled readers about the bill, as we detailed in our original article, one assertion made by the "paper of record" was just out and out incorrect, when they erroneously asserted the following:
Mr. Holt's bill would require paper ballots to be used for every vote cast in November 2010.
On that point, the Times is just plain wrong. Any reading of the bill would quickly reveal as much. Theisen would later call it a "complete misrepresentation."
While the bill, as currently written, would require Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines to print "paper trails" (otherwise known as "voter verifiable paper audit trails" or "VVPAT") by 2010, it decidely does not "require a paper ballot to be used for every vote cast in November 2010." Paper ballots for every voter will not be required by Holt's bill, as it's currently written, and as it's been introduced in the House, until 2014. That's two federal elections away, including one Presidential election. The Times is off by four years in their assertion.
That the NYTimes --- again, known as the "paper of record" for a reason --- would get something as important as that blatantly wrong in an editorial endorsing such a sweeping piece of legislation, is rather incredible in the first place. That they've not bothered to issue a correction, or even respond to a letter pointing out the error, is mind-boggling.
But their appears at least one reason --- though hardly an excuse --- that the Times might have gotten it so wrong. Congressman Holt makes the same wholly erroneous assertion about his own bill on his own Congressional webpage...
As of tomorrow, the increasingly useless Washington Post will become more so. Dan Froomkin, one of the few journalists at the once-credible newspaper who bothered to do his job by investigating and asking the questions that mattered during the Bush Administration's historic gutting of America and so much of what it stands for, filed his final "White House Watch" column today. He described, today, what he does as "accountability journalism." We could use dozens more like him in the MSM.
His piece today echoes FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley's exposé on these pages yesterday, in his description of Bush as "the proverbial emperor with no clothes." He goes on to note how, after 9/11, "the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve."
By late January/early February, 2003, I and other Americans were witnessing the Bush Administration's final and intense push to launch their pre-emptive war on Iraq, based largely on (what are now well known as) two completely false pretexts: Iraq's possession of WMD and its connections to Al Qaeda terrorists. My knowledge that Iraq's WMD was being exaggerated was merely what anyone could gain from close reading of public sources: the McClatchy news articles by Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel (who later won Pulitzers for their reporting) as well as a few buried articles in the Washington Post and Newsweek debunking the "evidence" being educed by Bush-Cheney-Powell-Rice-Rumsfeld et al.
Due to the Minneapolis FBI's pre-9/11 investigation of an Al Qaeda operative, however, I was in a better position to know more than J.Q. Average Citizen in regard to the non-existence of ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
I felt it my responsibility to speak out, and so I did --- or tried to --- to my bosses at the FBI, and to the media, including CBS' 60 Minutes...
The New York Times just doesn't get it. You'd think, by now, they would. But they don't. And they should print a correction immediately.
In a brief, unbylined editorial yesterday, headlined "How to Trust Electronic Voting," the paper endorses this year's version of Rep. Rush Holt's election reform bill (H.R. 2894). The editorial is misleading and, even worse, blatantly (and inexcusably) inaccurate on at least one important point...
It's been nearly five months since the official complaint about Ann Coulter's alleged voter fraud in 2002 and 2004 was filed in Connecticut, yet state election officials continue to refuse comment on the status of the case beyond acknowledging that it's "still pending," as recently confirmed by The BRAD BLOG.
Several charges of absentee voter fraud were alleged in the complaint against Coulter in Connecticut, where evidence shows she cast absentee ballots illegally while living in her then permanent New York City residence.
In addition to the head of the California GOP's voter registration firm pleading guilty to fraud last week (his company, Young Political Majors, is under investigation in several other states as well, and is alleged to have secretly changed thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican, denying voters the ability to cast votes in last year's primary), and the Republican election official in Kentucky who last month pleaded guilty to participating in a massive election fraud conspiracy beginning in 2002, there still remains the outstanding official investigation into the allegations against Coulter, the GOP's storied Queen of Voter Fraud.
If all you watched was the Fox "News" Channel, however, and their increasingly bizarre --- and yet still evidence-free --- "investigation" into "voter fraud" by ACORN, you'd have no idea. That, even though Coulter herself continues to parade in front of their cameras as a regular guest without ever being asked about the official inquiry in the second state to investigate voting improprieties by the GOP superstar.
"The delay in this case is inexplicable given they need to prove two things: where she registered to vote/voted and where she lived when she registered to vote/voted," the complainant in the case, Daniel Borchers, a Christian conservative who has long opposed Coulter's behavior, told The BRAD BLOG. "Both are easily proven."...
In last week's "New Rules" segment on HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher blasted President Obama for "not getting the job done," adding "this is not what I voted for." He had been critical of Obama's lack of fight for health care reform, and "nibbling" that's leaving insurance companies "still running the show," bailed out banks "laughing at us about how easy it was to get back to 'business as usual,'" and scientists' vital warnings about serious climate change being largely ignored.
We ran that video last week, and found it was linked to by an enormous number of rightwing websites, using the opportunity to suggest that Maher now agreed with them about Obama.
This week (video above-right) Maher clarified the record. He first noted: "Last week in this space, I criticized President Obama for not fighting corporate influence enough, and it made some Liberals very angry. My phone rang off the hook." But he then removed any doubt about whether he was actually "in league" with those on the Right.
"As far as you folks on the Right that think that we're somehow in league --- we're not in league! I was criticizing Obama for not being hard enough on the corporate douche bags you live to defend. I don't wanna be on your team. Pick another kid."
"So I stand by my words," Maher said, before launching into a no-holds barred attack on the Democrats and Obama for their failings, yet again. "There is another side to the story. And that is, that every time Obama tries to take on a Progressive cause, there's a major political party standing in his way --- the Democrats."
"We don't have a Left and a Right party in this country anymore. We have a center-Right party and a crazy party. And over the last thirty-odd years, Democrats have moved to the Right, and the Right has moved into a mental hospital."
He went on to criticize Democrats for becoming the party of "hedge fund managers, credit card companies, banks, defense contractors, big agriculture and the pharmaceutical lobby [who] sit across the aisle from a small group of religious lunatics, flat-earthers, and Civil War re-enacters...who mostly communicate by AM radio and call themselves the Republicans."
The major concluding thesis in his scathing criticism: "Bottom line, Democrats are the new Republicans"
Diane Sweet of RAW STORY observed in her coverage: "If Maher had finished by declaring his candidacy for public office, by the sound of the applause in response to his monologue, he would have left the studio Friday evening with an audience full of supporters."
If you're unable to watch the video (above right), a text-transcript of the key quotes from this week's must-see monologue follow below. As with last week's, we find ourselves hard-pressed to disagree with a word of it...