After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
Last Friday, we told you about the bogus challenges --- 6,000 of them --- made by the Montana GOP against voters in six Democratic-leaning counties in the state, based solely on the fact that the voters had filed change of address forms with the U.S. Postal Service within the last 18 months. The GOP claimed, with a straight face, they were fighting "voter fraud", even though there was indications of no such fraud, and the result was little more than chaos at the election offices, just 30 days out from a major election.
One of the GOP's challenged voters turned out to be an Army Reservist who would be unable to verify his authenticity --- and thus would lose his right to vote under the challenge --- since he was in New Jersey, about to ship out for his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Well, we've got some good news on this story, for a welcome change...
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...
Tomorrow (Friday) there will be a hearing in Washington DC to discuss and take testimony about the failures in the DC primary election. How did one precinct have over a thousand more votes than it had voters? Again this seems to clearly be a machine issue.
The tie that binds Palm Beach Co and Washington DC together is that their voting machines were all supplied by Sequoia Voting Systems...
ADDENDUM FROM BRAD: More details on all of the above now here...
Guest Editorial by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
The bailout of Wall Street is the rancid pickle on an economic crap sandwich that is a result of 30 years of conservative deregulation/trickle-down ideology. The fact that the Bush appointees who devised the original bailout plan are from the same gene pool as the neo-cons, cronies and heckuva-jobbers who turned America into a torture state, spied on Americans, drowned New Orleans, stole two national elections, corrupted the Department of Justice and took the country to war on the false pretext of bringing democracy to Iraq but then screwed up their true intent --- to steal its oil --- should have been reason enough to kill the plan on sight.
But that's not going to happen. As inept and ineffectual as they are at everything else, the Bush team is highly practiced at forcing Congress to act in haste. Six years ago this month, Karl Rove and the White House political shop "created a reality," as one of them has described it, that there was an urgent need to push the Iraq war resolution through Congress just days before the midterm elections. Now we know that the only urgency was Rove's need to get Senate Democrats who were potential Bush rivals in the 2004 presidential election on the record about the war before the election. Iraq post-invasion has been a disaster, but the vote on the resolution was stunningly successful in hobbling the campaigns of both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.
Now, in what is either a horrendous coincidence or the most elaborate (and apparently botched) October Surprise in presidential campaign history, as Bush prepares to slouch off to Crawford for good, he is pushing one last crisis down our throats. As with his invasion of Iraq, it will probably be years before we know if this latest crisis is "real," or if it was fumbled attempt by the White House to change the game in John McCain's favor.
It certainly feels like we're being played again...
[Ed Note: Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case discussed below, will be joining me Wednesday evening to talk about the case, when I sit in to Guest Host The Mike Malloy Show, which I'll be doing Wed-Fri this week, from 9p-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) - BF]
A recent flurry of activity in the long-standing King Lincoln v. OH Sec. of State lawsuit concerning voting rights violations in the state during the 2004 election has resulted in the judge lifting the stay to allow depositions to be taken of key GOP tech-guru Mike Connell, and potentially others, such as Karl Rove.
A subpoena has now been served to Connell, who was recently described by the attorneys working on the case, as a 'high-IQ Forrest Gump...at the scene of every GOP crime.'
Federal District Court Judge Algenon Marbley's brief order [PDF], agreeing to lift the stay, was quietly issued on September 19th. It reads:
On motion of the plaintiffs and agreement of the defendant Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, the stay in this matter is lifted for the sole purpose of permitting the plaintiffs to take the deposition of Michael Connell and any other witnesses whose testimony, in the judgment of these parties, may be warranted based upon the deposition of Michael Connell.
The BRAD BLOG had learned about the latest court action, which could soon entangle Rove as well, some time ago, but we were asked by parties involved in the case to embargo the information until such time as they were able to serve Connell with his subpoena...
Americans - most notably right-leaning Americans - used to issue dire warnings about sliding down "the slippery slope" on any number of hot-button political issues. From the slippery slope of same-sex marriage to the slippery slope of gun control to the slippery slope of abortion rights to the slippery slope of immigration and on and on, various political interest groups in America guarded that slope, with no small amount of zeal, lest any of us find our God-given rights or once-vaunted rule of law lost for good before we even noticed.
Bad news. We've lost our God-given rights, at least our constitutional ones, and certainly the rule of law. The US is now in full-plummet down the slippery slope, due, in no small part, to a lack of courage, willingness, interest and imagination of those who might have kept it from happening long ago.
Under the proposed bailout legislation (according to Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury), the US Treasury or agents thereof could acquire Microsoft for one US dollar, with no legal recourse for Microsoft or even its shareholders.
Here is the text of proposed legislation and here is what the Treasury Department claims the legislation will allow it to do, and here is how Paulson (or his successor) could own Microsoft...for a buck...
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- cited for the third year in a row by a public interest watchdog as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" --- has finally decided to "apologize" for going on that $75,000 lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland in 2003, along with the disgraced, and convicted, Jack Abramoff. The "apology" comes in the form of a desperate, 30-second campaign ad (at left.)
Feeney is the last remaining member of Congress to have gone on one of those Abramoff-funded private jet trips to hit the links in St. Andrews. The other two, Tom Delay (R-TX), who went in 2001, and Bob Ney (R-OH), who went in 2002, have both left Congress in disgrace and under indictment.
You'll note that the ad --- in which Feeney never bothers to mention that he's a Republican --- ends, laughably, with: "Because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake."
That line might more appropriately, at least for Feeney, have been: "Public service is about admitting that you broke the law, five years after you took a huge favor from a corrupt lobbyist and were finally forced to admit it outloud in a desperate, last-ditch attempt, to save your Congressional meal ticket."
But he might have had trouble getting all of that into his :30 spot.
The ad also says, on screen: "Get the facts: Tom Feeney.com" Might we suggest if you really want the facts on Tom Feeney, one of the filthiest players remaining in Congress, that you see instead our special coverage page about him, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis worked at the same company as Feeney, back when Feeney was both the powerful Speaker of the Florida House and a lobbyist for the software firm with millions of dollars in state contracts. The same company also employed undocumented Chinese aliens working on systems for NASA and others, even as Feeney has continued to protect that company to this day (he was also their one-time general counsel) and has housed his campaign headquarters in their building.
A remarkable documentary film, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, covering that story, and The BRAD BLOG's attempts to tell it over the last four years, has just been released. If you'd rather learn the facts in movie form, please check out that film! NOTE: It's terrifying and includes untold details on at least two grizzly deaths related to the Curtis/Feeney scandal.
Curtis himself eventually switched to the Democratic Party following the incident and, after Congress refused to take action on Feeney, he ran unsuccessfully against him in 2006. His attempts to do so again this year were derailed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backed wealthy opponent Suzanne Kosmas in the primary. With polls showing the well-funded Kosmas in a tight race with Feeney, clearly, one of the dirtiest Republicans in America is now running very scared.
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?"
Rather than being cowed by the press' mini-sermons about truth-telling, McCain and Palin are practically laughing at the press.
Can you blame them?
Nope, and Eric Boehlert explains why. After years of having abdicated their Constitutionally-guaranteed role as watchdog for the public, the corporate media's too-little, too-late, temporary stint at actually reporting is now regarded as little more than a joke. And one that not even McCain/Palin feel they need to take seriously. What they've sowed, so shall we reap.
Wow. Poor Tucker Bounds. First CNN's right-leaning Campbell Brown (she's married to Bush Admin loyalist/lackey Dan Senor, despite the fact that CNN rarely, if ever, discloses that serious conflict of interest) committed a rare act of actual journalism by asking Bounds what foreign affairs experience Sarah Palin had. The McCain/Palin shill had nothing, and embarrassed himself under Brown's repeated, and responsible, prodding. So the McCain camp subsequently cancelled an interview with CNN's Larry King, claiming "that exchange was over the line" because Brown bothered to ask actual questions, and follow-ups, of their campaign.
And now, it seems that even Fox "News" is holding a McCain foot to the fire for some currently inexplicable reason. Fox's Megyn Kelly went after Bounds in regard to the McCain camp's continuing lies, and new ad claiming Obama plans to raise taxes on the middle class, despite countless independent think-tanks that have studied the Obama tax plan and have reported the McCain claim to be simply untrue.
"I want to hold you accountable for what McCain is doing," Kelly said for some reason today. ThinkProgress has details, here's their video...
The remarkable video of Brown's grilling of Bounds on CNN during the Republican Convention follows below, in case you missed it previously, or in case you'd like a nourishing second helping of freshly grilled Tucker...
In an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air" about his new book, The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008, Bob Woodward said that his reporting had uncovered a top-secret new weapon introduced by U.S forces into Iraq that is primarily responsible for the current period of stability there.
The Bush/McCain Surge is just one of four factors that have tamped down violence, according to Woodward. The other factors include the Anbar Awakening, in which the Sunnis rejected Al Qaeda's extremism; the stand-down of Muqtada al Sadr's Shiite militia; and this new top secret weapon:
BOB WOODWARD: The fourth [element] is very top secret. And that is a series of operations that have been developed that allow U.S. forces to locate targets and kill extremists, al Qaeda members and members of the insurgency.
On Friday [Sept. 5, 2008], the White House in responding to the book for the first time confirmed that there were "newly developed techniques and operations which helped the situation stabilize in Iraq."
TERRY GROSS: At the request of the military and the White House, you're not revealing any of the details you found about what these top-secret operations are. What can you tell us?
BW: That it's like any war. There's always something --- there's a game-changer, a new development. In the early 20th century, it was the tank or the airplane. World War II, the Manhattan Project and the development of the Atomic Bomb. These [new] operations and techniques are not something where you're going to see an explosion like an Atomic Bomb but they are incredibly effective. They are something that --- as Pres. Bush said to people that I quote in the book, "We are killing them all. We are killing all of the people who are the leaders." Now, it's not literally "all," but they are killing hundreds and hundreds of key people on the other side in this conflict.
So what could this new weapon be? Sharon Weinberger at Wired.com has a guess:
Last night we offered the quick skinny on the abrupt resignation of Colorado's state Election Director, Holly Lowder, just 60 days out from what promises to be one of the largest and most important --- and potentially closest --- elections in the state's history.
We summarized some of the dizzying background on the exceptionally embarrassing and dysfunctional state of certification, decertification and recertification of e-voting systems in the Centennial State over the last two years, under current Sec. of State, Republican Mike Coffman (who is overseeing his own election for the U.S. House this November), and in previous years under two former Republican SoS' (one of whom was promoted by George W. Bush to do the same lousy job of e-vote testing for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission).
We also suggested, based on information from sources in the states, that the old euphemism about "election officials being in bed with voting vendors" may well become more than just a euphemism when the full explanation for Lowder's sudden departure became known.
And today, as we'd hinted last night, some of that information has now become known...
Last night, we noted the bizarre choice of backdrop that led to the first five minutes, or so, of McCain's acceptance speech being given in front of a classic green screen. For those who watched the speech, they likely realize that the green in close-up was the lawn from a larger backdrop of what appeared to be a mansion.
Our thought: One of McCain's?! Odd choice, that.
Turns out, no, it wasn't one of his houses, it was an even dumber selection from the geniuses what run the GOP, who want you to entrust them to run the country...
John Aravosis explains what that backdrop actually was...
You're gonna love this. ... In fact, the picture was of Walter Reed. No, not Walter Reed Army Medical Center where injured troops are treated - though that was clearly McCain's intent, to use our injured troops as a political prop (just as last night they dared show footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, and the towers falling) - no, in fact, McCain posted a photo of Walter Reed Middle School, a school for kids in California that has nothing to do with Walter Reed the military hospital. They actually thought the school was the Army hospital. Apparently McCain just discovered the Google.
With these chuckleheads in charge, little wonder the "war on terror" is going so well. For our money, the hit of the night last night was the courageous American from Iraq Veterans Against the War who managed to get the real message out to the whole wide world, over the pool camera feed during McCain's speech...
(NOTE: We'll be hosting The Randi Rhodes Show on Monday. We've learned it was Adam Kokesh who managed this very successful demonstration and smart use of his First Amendment freedoms last night, and we're going to try to get him on the air with us!)