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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free charitable medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of clientele...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
Previous GNRs: 4/8/14 - 4/3/14 - Archives...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Previous GNRs: 4/3/14 - 4/1/14 - Archives...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Federal Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide documentation related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove the discriminatory intent of the new GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
'McCutcheon' Mints Millions for Mass Media
Veteran journalist and media activist Sue Wilson explains how the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a windfall for the MSM. She also has an idea what to do about it...
'Green News Report' 4/3/14
Startling U.N. climate change report; Kochs enviro champs, say Kochs; TX wind power record; PLUS: ExxonMobil says 'F#@K you! We're ExxonMobil!'...
Reproductive Rights & Campaign Finance Law: KFPK 'BradCast'
Katie Klabusich says she's being 'targeted' by Eric Scheidler's anti-choice group. They both join Brad. PLUS: Ian Millhiser on SCOTUS McCutcheon ruling...
SCOTUS 'MCCUTCHEON' RULING TRASHES EVEN MORE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LIMITS
'Free speech' for the super rich wins again at the Roberts Supreme Court...
'Green News Report' 4/1/14
It's our special 'April Fox Day' edition of the GNR! Celebrating the anti-scientists and fossil-fueled fools at Fox 'News'!...
FCC Rolls Back Corporate TV Consolidation
Under its new chairman, the federal agency finally takes one small step to fulfill their mandate of assuring the public airwaves are actually used in the public interest...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


'Combines the Corruption of Warren G. Harding, the War Mongering of James Polk and the Abuse of Power of Richard Nixon'...
'But You Don't Get to Become the Worst President Ever Without a Little Help from the Other Side'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2007 3:23pm PT  

As we mentioned yesterday, when we posted the Maher interview with Ron Paul, the final Real Time of the season kicked ass, and Maher killed (sorry, Dredd) from top to bottom. Here's his closing "New Rules" of the season so you can decide for yourselves. Enjoy...


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By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2007 1:10pm PT  

In Maher's final show of the season (he'll return Aug. 24), he absolutely killed. This interview with Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul is one example, as were the final "New Rules" of the season which I'll also try post here soon (UPDATE: "New Rules" video now posted here)...


Post-script: Democrats may wish to pay very close attention to the reception Paul received from Maher's quite liberal studio audience.

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And The No Longer 'Missing' Rove Emails Revealing the Cagey Scheme to Steal 2008...
By Greg Palast on 5/24/2007 12:20am PT  

UPDATE 5/31/07: Late breaking news on Griffin resignation from Palast interview with Conyers, now posted here...

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast

This Monica revealed something hotter --- much hotter --- than a stained blue dress. In her opening testimony yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee, Monica Goodling, the blonde-ling underling to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Department of Justice Liaison to the White House, dropped The Big One....And the Committee members didn't even know it.

Goodling testified that Gonzales' Deputy AG, Paul McNulty, perjured himself, lying to the committee in earlier testimony. The lie: McNulty denied Monica had told him about Tim Griffin's "involvement in 'caging' voters" in 2004.

Huh?? Tim Griffin? "Caging"???

The perplexed committee members hadn't a clue --- and asked no substantive questions about it thereafter. Karl Rove is still smiling. If the members had gotten the clue, and asked the right questions, they would have found "the keys to the kingdom," they thought they were looking for. They dangled right in front of their perplexed faces.

The keys: the missing emails --- and missing link --- that could send Griffin and his boss, Rove, to the slammer for a long, long time.

Kingdom enough for ya?

But what's 'caging' and why is it such a dreadful secret that lawyer McNulty put his license to practice and his freedom on the line to cover Tim Griffin's involvement in it? Because it's a felony. And a big one.

Here's how caging worked, and along with Griffin's thoughtful emails themselves you'll understand it all in no time.

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Why weren't these African-American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation --- and the soldiers were overseas. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote. Mission Accomplished.

How do I know? I have the caging lists...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Rebecca Abrahams on 5/23/2007 10:07pm PT  

A Guest Blog Editorial by Rebecca Abrahams, Freelance Network News Producer

Poor Monica Goodling. Poor, poor Monica. Oh, the indignity of it all --- having to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and all. With Immunity.

She may have violated laws but she didn't mean to. I guess it's all better now. And clearly Committee members agreed --- practically falling all over her with apologies for having been brought forth to testify. Goodling, the former Department of Justice's liaison to the White House and senior counselor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was granted immunity from prosecution during testimony regarding the White House's role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. And while she was the liaison to the White House, Goodling asserted that she did not "hold the keys to the kingdom" as some have suggested.

The first three hours of testimony shed little light on the plan to remove the USA's. Although Goodling did say she believed Deputy Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty had delivered inaccurate testimony before Congress. In particular, Goodling said, McNulty had not been forthcoming about newly appointed Arkansas US Attorney Tim Griffin's use of vote caging lists.

Goodling testified that there were "problems with her historic memory" and agreed that the firings should have been handled differently. She believed the USA's in question should have been given a chance to learn about their performance and given an opportunity to improve. Goodling believed the firings should have been done in person, noting "it was the right thing to do."

Goodling recounted a November 27, 2006 meeting she attended concerning the firing of Nevada US Attorney Daniel Bogden. She said the general consensus was that the Justice Department could do better than Bogden, noting, "good people needed to be put in those spots." Goodling said Gonzales agreed to use a provision within the Patriot Act to axe Bogden. Funny, Gonzales has sworn up and down he doesn't even remember attending the meeting. Regardless, Bogden, an Independent, was not the man for the job, despite the fact that he served the Department for more than sixteen years.

The Nevada US Attorney, testifying before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on March 6, 2007, recounted what Associate Deputy Attorney General William Mercer had told him the reason for his dismissal, was so that the United States Department of Justice could do it's job for the American people...by helping to build the resume of all of their close friends...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Says DAG Paul McNulty Withheld Knowledge of Tim Griffin's Involvement in Challenging Minority Voter Registration in 2004
Former Rove Aide Griffin Posted to U.S. Attorney Position in Arkansas...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2007 11:46am PT  

From Monica Goodling's opening statement to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this morning [emphasis added]:

Despite my and others' best efforts, [Deputy Attorney General, Paul McNulty]'s public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects. As explained in more detail in my written remarks, I believe that the Deputy was not fully candid about his knowledge of White House involvement in the replacement decision, failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of the White House's interest in selecting Tim Griffin as Interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, inaccurately described the Department's internal assessment of the Parsky Commission, and failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote "caging" during his work on the President's 2004 campaign.

For the record, it's the practice of sending registered mail to minority voters, asking for a reply, and if one doesn't come back, the voter's right to vote is challenged either at the polls, or attempts are made to remove them from the voter rolls --- usually without their knowledge. Allegations have been made that this was done, based on race, in 2004, when registered letters were sent to the home addresses of African-Americans in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere. Most insidiously, letters were said to have been sent to U.S. troops who were away, serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, and thus did not (and could not) answer the registered mail. Their registrations were then reportedly challenged.

The RNC agreed to cease the practice in a 1986 consent decree in a court case brought after they had "tried to have 31,000 voters, most of them black, removed from the rolls in Louisiana when a party mailer was returned, " according to the Washington Post.

"The consent decrees that resulted prohibited the party from engaging in anti-fraud initiatives that target minorities or conduct mail campaigns to 'compile voter challenge lists.'"

Hopefully one of the Judiciary Committee Members will follow up on this, with either Goodling or in further interviews with McNulty or Griffin, who was Karl Rove's aide at the time, before he was later shoved into Bud Cummins' position as Arkansas U.S. Attorney.

UPDATE 2:45pm PT: The DoJ released a statement this afternoon from McNulty, in response to Goodling's testimony and her claims that his "public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects":

"I testified truthfully at the Feb. 6, 2007, hearing based on what I knew at that time. Ms. Goodling's characterization of my testimony is wrong and not supported by the extensive record of documents and testimony already provided to Congress."

More on Vote Caging Lists at Wikipedia. The key details follow below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Speaks of DoJ Loyalty to Administration Rather Than Constitution...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2007 10:52am PT  

New Mexico's fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias op-eds in today's LA Times on Gonzeles et al. in advance of this morning's testimony by Monica Goodling:

WHAT HAPPENS in a presidential administration when loyalty, to borrow a phrase from "Star Trek," becomes the "prime directive"? What happens when its all-encompassing fog obscures all other values — such as fealty to the Constitution, the rule of law or simple humanity?
...
What has become clear already is that the "loyalty uber alles" mentality has infected a wide swath of the Bush administration. Simple notions like right and wrong are, in their eyes, matters of allegiance, not conscience.
...
Loyalty is a virtue with limits. That was one of the many hard lessons from Watergate. In that scandal, some of President Nixon's staffers carried their loyalty to the president all the way to federal prison.
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'Everything was Unraveling'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2007 11:25pm PT  

Monica Goodling, the DoJ liason to the White House, will testify, with immunity, tomorrow morning (Wed.) at 10:15am ET in front of the House Judiciary Committee. These early morning hearings are brutal for those of us bloggers on the West Coast, but we'd hate to miss this one.

Goodling broke down in tears on the morning the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal broke, and has copped the 5th, refusing to testify until given immunity. Why? We don't yet know exactly, but may find out tomorrow.

Career DoJ official David Margolis told Congressional investigators about her crying jag, and said, "I knew she must think everything was unraveling. And, you know, she was right about that."

TPMMuck has more from Margolis's deposition and on what we might expect in the morning. If you're watching, feel free to give us your thoughts in comments as things progress. Especially if she starts crying again. (Anyone want to wager on that?)

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Then-DoJ Appointee in Civil Rights Unit, Now Recess-Appointed FEC Chair, Tried to Influence EAC Reports on 'Voter Fraud'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2007 12:50pm PT  

Following up on Greg Gordon's Sunday piece on former DoJ operative turned recess-appointed FEC chair Hans von Spakovsky, McClatchy has now posted the emails referred to in the article in full [PDF].

As you'll recall, the point we focused on when we covered Gordon's article was the apparent attempted strong-arming, suggested by the emails, of U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio. Von Spakovsky was attempting to influence the EAC's reports and positions on GOP claims of massive "voter fraud" and the effects of legislation for Photo ID restrictions at the polls.

Von Spakovsky was concerned about the EAC's position and the "proper balance" (code word) being brought to bi-partisan reports on "voter fraud" and Photo ID, both of which eventually failed to give evidence of GOP claims of massive Democratic voter fraud. Such claims were being used by Bush's operatives at DoJ and out in the "grass roots" by their boy Thor Hearne and his "non-partisan" front group, the American Center for Voting Rights to game elections and media, and push for Photo ID laws (which have been found to be unconstitutional time and again.)

Both reports would eventually be altered and/or buried.

BRAD BLOG readers will also recall the many reports filed here concerning the partisanship and/or incompetence of the EAC, the White House controlled federal body which supposedly oversees our nation's electoral system. These emails highlight many of the claims we've made about inappropriate influence by the White House on the failed commission.

One thing which catches our eye in the emails right away is that von Spakovsky's emails were sent to the Republican members of the commission including DeGregorio, Donnetta Davidson (now EAC chair), and Tom Wilkey (EAC Exec Dir.), but not to the Democratic members. (Ed Note: See 5/24/07 UPDATE at bottom of article on this point.) We've covered both Davidson and Wilkey, and the failings of each, in some detail here at The BRAD BLOG in the past.

The notes were also sent to Republican aides of Sen. Christopher Bond in Missouri (home of the ACVR's Hearne), as well as Doug Lewis of the Election Center, a voting machine industry front group, which "the Dean of the DC press corp," WaPo's David Broder, recently referred to in a column as his favorite expert on elections, forgetting to mention that he's an industry/Republican shill. Can someone please put Broder out to pasture at this point?! And can the media stop quoting Lewis as if he's a disinterested, non-partisan "expert" on elections?!

Little time for the moment to report on the new specifics found in the emails, so we'll encourage you to give them a quick read (just 5 pages) and leave your thoughts here in comments. As time allows, we'll update this item with our own thoughts if possible.

But one quick point that we haven't highlighted enough lately: Voter Fraud is the term used to describe voters gaming the system on a retail level by voting twice, etc. It's extremely rare, as bi-partisan reports have shown time and again, despite GOP claims (that includes the EAC's own buried and altered reports that von Spakovsky hoped to influence).

Election Fraud, on the other hand, is the defrauding of elections through the administration of those elections, from inappropriate voter roll purges to gaming of voting equipment, etc. Evidence strongly suggests that the GOP's unevidenced claims of a "voter fraud" epidemic by Democrats may well have been forwarded after 2004 in order to deflect from the now-well-documented evidence showing GOP election fraud in Ohio and elsewhere.

Hope that reminder helps to clarify.

UPDATE 5/24/07: McClatchy's Greg Gordon writes to say that he believes that all of the commissioners, not just the Republican ones, were CC'd on the emails in question, but that those CC's somehow ended up on a second page and didn't get included when they created their PDF's of the actual emails. Due to the holiday weekend, unfortunately, he won't be able to try to find them in order to check for sure until next week at earliest. But he wanted us to note that there is a question about whether or not all of the EAC commissioners were actually CC'd, and to note his recollection that they were, at least on some of the notes. We'll update further if we can learn definitively one way or the other.

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Missive Sent Today to WH Attorney Fred Fielding from Conyers and Sánchez Warns of 'No Alternative But Compulsory Process' if Administration Continues Stonewall...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2007 2:53pm PT  

A letter sent to White House attorney Fred Fielding today by top U.S. House Judiciary Committee members offers "one last appeal" for voluntary cooperation in the U.S. Attorney firing probe, or else a "compulsory process" will begin.

The letter, sent to The BRAD BLOG by committee chair John Conyers (D-MI) and the chair of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), takes the White House to task for their "rebuff of efforts by the Judiciary Committee to obtain voluntary cooperation" in their investigation "concerning at least nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 and related matters."

The letter may be downloaded below.

"Even without a single document or witness interview provided by the White House," the letter charges, "it is clear that the White House played an important role in the events concerning the U.S. Attorney controversy."

By way of example, the two House chairs detail Karl Rove's admission that he intervened with both the White House Counsel's Office and the DoJ concerning the firing of New Mexico's U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to complete our investigation absent full and complete cooperation from the White House," they write, before pointing out that "it would be constitutionally irresponsible to accept your 'all or nothing' limitations" for nothing more than off-the-record interviews without transcripts or public questioning.

"If the White House persists in refusing to provide information to the House Judiciary Committee, or even to discuss providing such information, on a voluntary basis, we will have no alternative but to begin to resort to compulsory process in order to carry out our oversight responsibilities," the letter concludes.

No explanation of what such a "compulsory process" might include is offered in the letter.

The two-page letter also includes a copy of an email message from Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales's former Chief of Staff, discussing strategy for the firings of U.S. Attorneys last November. The complete letter sent to today to Fred F. Fielding, Esq., Counsel to the President, may be downloaded here in full [PDF]

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Plan Would Deny Legally Mandated Pay Increase, Stiff Military Servicemen and Women Serving in Combat in Most Dangerous Part of the World...
By Arlen Parsa on 5/21/2007 1:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Arlen Parsa

{Ed Note: An error in this report was later discovered while working on a follow-up to it. The illegality of the Bush military pay raise proposal as described in the report below, is based on a 1999 law which phased out the pay formula that Bush failed to meet, by fiscal year 2008. Lawmakers are in the process of restoring that provision, even while another law also keeps the legality of Bush's proposal in doubt. The full details and explanation for the error, after combing through a soup of defense authorization provisions, are explained in our follow up report. The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.}

Recently the Bush Administration and Democratically-controlled Congress were at odds over how much to pay US soldiers serving in the most dangerous places in the world: Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress said that the troops should get a raise of 3.5%, while the Administration said any raise higher than 3% was not deserved. Administration officials even bluntly said the White House "strongly opposes" giving the troops that extra 0.5%.

Although Democrats have been arguing for the 3.5% raise, what neither they, nor any news organization seems to have thus far noticed, is that the Administration's meager compensation plan would be, in fact, illegal.

Increases in military salary are traditionally determined by increases in average civilian salary, according to a method of measurement called the Employment Cost Index. Regardless of the actual dollar increase in salary, the base pay for service-members must be at least 0.5% above the corresponding civilian pay because of a Defense Authorization Act which Congress passed in 1999.

But according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, the Bush Administration's proposed raise of only 3% for active-duty troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is actually less than the average increase in civilian wages from 2006 to 2007 (3.3%), instead of the required 0.5% more than the average civilian wage (which would be equal to 3.8%).

If Congress passes the funding plan that the Administration has proposed, they will, in effect, be illegally depriving the troops of the minimum pay raise guaranteed to them by the earlier law. The move would save the Bush Administration millions and could cost new US Army recruits (who are the least effected by the proposed pay raise) a few hundred dollars annually.

Still, some service-members might take comfort from the fact that the issue at hand is a raise in salary, not a decrease, as the Bush Administration and the Department of Defense had previously tried to pull off in 2003, until they got caught red-handed attempting to stiff U.S. troops back then as well...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPDATED - DoJ Responds...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2007 4:58pm PT  

Senators Schumer, Feingold, Kennedy and Durbin are curious as to why it seems that Alberto Gonzalez lied about whether or not there was concern in the Dept. of Justice over the legality of Bush's domestic wiretap programming run out of NSA.

Gonzales testified in February of 2006 that there had been no such concerns, but the startling testimony of former Dep. Attorney General James Comey yesterday (video here) tells quite a different story, including a late-night trip by Gonzales and WH Chief of Staff Andrew Card to then-AG John Ashcroft's hospital room in hopes of getting his approval after Comey would not sign off the program. To his credit, Aschroft refused as well. Even after the White House --- apparently Bush himself --- called to inform him that Gonzales and Card were heading over.

The Senators sent the following letter today to Gonzales, reminding him of the apparent huge contradictions in his testimony as compared to Comey's, and to ask him for a "prompt response to the following question: In light of Mr. Comey’s testimony yesterday, do you stand by your 2006 Senate and House testimony, or do you wish to revise it?"

UPDATE: Bob Fertik at Democrats.com suggests it's either "impeach or jail" Gonzo. We'll not disagree. And based on Digby's as-always insightful comments on this, we'll guess she may not disagree either.

UPDATE 5/17: WaPo reports the reply from DoJ to the Senators letter. Their response essentially: the Feb. 2006 testimony is Gonzales' story and he's sticking to it.

The letter to Albert Gonzales from the Senators is posted in full below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2007 2:04pm PT  

Well...Mrs. Conyers anyway...

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26 Vote in Favor, Including First Time Supporters Clinton, Obama
Feingold on the Floor: Points Out 76 Senators Who Voted to Cut Off Funding for Somalia Conflict in 1993...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2007 1:56pm PT  

As we broke early last week, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) brought his Reid-Feingold amendment, calling for defunding and an effective end to the Iraq War by a date certain (March of 2008), to the floor today. The measure failed to pass, but received 26 votes in favor, including all of those we named last week plus 16 or so more, all Democrats, including Presidential hopefuls Clinton and Obama, who supported such a measure for the first first time.

Greg Sargent has the list of Dems who voted for and against. David Swanson has more thoughts on the vote.

And we have Feingold's complete floor statement today posted below, in which he noted that in October of 1993, 76 Senators voted in favor of cutting off funding for the conflict in Somalia by March of 1994. "Many of them are still in this body," Feingold pointed out, "including Senators Levin, Cochran, Domenici, Hutchison, Lugar, McConnell, Specter, Stevens and Warner."

"Did those Senators jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. troops in Somalia?" he asked. "By cutting off funds for a military mission, were they indifferent to the well-being of our brave men and women in uniform?"

Not a single Republican, even those who voted to cut off funding for U.S. troops in Somalia, voted in favor of Feingold's amendment today.

Feingold's full prepared statement for today's Senate debate on the Feingold-Reid Amendment follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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While White House Connections and Other Key Elements Central to the U.S. Attorney Scandal --- Many Long Ago Reported by The BRAD BLOG --- Still Being Overlooked, Ignored
Investigative Endgame Remains Unclear, Even as the ACVR's Thor Hearne and Other Unindicted Co-Conspirators Continue to Erase Their Tracks...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2007 4:43pm PT  

A WaPo article from Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein yesterday, headlined "Voter-Fraud Complaints by GOP Drove Dismissals," reports:

It has been clear for months that the administration's eagerness to launch voter-fraud prosecutions played a role in some of the firings, but recent testimony, documents and interviews show the issue was more central than previously known.

"More central than previously known" to whom? Certainly not BRAD BLOG readers, as we've been reporting on the scam to invent actionable, yet phony "voter fraud" claims via the White House's Thor Hearne-run front group, The American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), since at least March of 2005.

The swing-state hotspots reported by WaPo and others of late, as named by Rove in 2006, etc., are almost precisely the same ones which led the coordinated ACVR effort going back for years. The same locations --- Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Missouri, etc. --- were named in the ACVR's phony report on phony "voter fraud" released back in July of 2005. We covered it at that time, while few, if any, in the MSM --- certainly not WaPo --- bothered to take notice.

As we reported back then, in our August 2, 2005 article headlined, "Phony GOP 'Voting Rights' Group Delivers Onslaught of Disinfo Today!":

In a massive new attempt today to disinform the American Voting Public and sidetrack the true bi-partisan Election Reform movement in this country, the phony "voting rights" group --- calling themselves deceptively "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) --- issued a new report today charging that Democrats were "Far More Involved In Voter Intimidation And Suppression In 2004."

Five different heavily Democratic-leaning cities were cited in each of six different Press Releases issued at once via US Newswire within the last hour as being amongst the "top Election Fraud Hotspots" in the country.

The complete report, which we linked to at the time, is now found here via the Internet archives, since the ACVR website was taken down shortly after the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal began to expose the entire conspiracy. Here's what the "Letter of Introduction" for their propaganda report said at the time:

ACVR Legislative Fund has identified five cities as "hot spots" which require additional immediate attention. These cities were identified based on the findings of this report and the cities' documented history of fraud and intimidation. ACVR Legislative Fund will work with national and state political parties, state legislators and local officials to create a process that supports local election officials in these cities and ensures that any effort to continue the historic pattern of fraud and intimidation in the 2006 election is exposed and stopped.

1. Philadelphia, PA
2. Milwaukee, WI
3. Seattle, WA
4. St. Louis/East St. Louis, MO/IL
5. Cleveland, OH

Those cities and states, of course, have almost all come into play in the firings of the U.S. Attorneys. Point being that very little of the entire scheme is actually "new" --- it's just that the mainstream media (and even elements of the progressive blogosphere) are finally beginning to wake up to what we've been running around with our hair on fire for years trying to let them know about.

It's all been there all along. The only thing that was missing was the will to investigate and report on it. And it's still being under-investigated and under-reported today.

So, if we might take the liberty, allow us once again to point to the person who holds the key to much of all of this: one Mr. Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, the former national general counsel to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., friend of Rove, and mastermind behind the ground game for national conspiracy as aided, abetted and orchestrated by the group he co-founded, the still-mysteriously funded ACVR.

Although some light was finally shone onto Hearne and the ACVR in a recent groundbreaking McClatchy report, he and his entire direct connection to the White House remain incredibly under-investigated, even while he and his ACVR co-conspirators have been trying to hide their tracks wherever possible of late. (E.g., Thor's online profile at his very powerful, corrupt Missouri legal firm, Lathrop & Gage --- also very much at the center of all of this, btw --- had described him as "General Counsel for the American Center of Voting Rights (ACVR)" as of April 27, 2007, as seen via the Internet archives. That reference to ACVR has now been quietly excised from Thor's current online profile.)

So again, all we can do is try to get the word out that MSM reporters and progressive bloggers looking into the US Attorney scandal may want to peruse our years of coverage on all of this, nicely indexed for their review at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.

On a related note, moving the ball one step forward...WaPo's piece also goes on to quote Dan Tokaji, election law specialist at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, as saying: "There is reason for worry and suspicion at this point as to whether voting fraud played an inappropriate role in personnel decisions by the department."

"Reason for worry and suspicion?" With all due respect to Tokaji, we'd say it's gone far beyond that. We'd suggest "reason for indictments and jail time" would be more accurate.

But the question, however, which occurs to us at this point is: What is the next step? It's unclear where Congress plans to go with this investigation, as it's become clearer and clearer that the White House was directly behind the use of the DoJ as little more than a political bludgeon and an outreach arm of the RNC.

Do they plan to recommend indictments? If so, to whom? The DoJ? Will they ask for a Special Prosecutor to do same? Or will they exercise their Constitutional duty to impeach those Administration officials who have criminally violated their oaths to protect and defend that Constitution?

We don't pretend to know where all of this goes, and the endgame seems hazy right now to say the least, but we'd suggest it's time for Congressional investigators to start thinking and/or talking about it.

We hope to have a fresh Exclusive here tomorrow from Greg Palast, with some new details, which begin to look at exactly that. Stay tuned...

ReddIt this story!



Jim Hightower Explains 'Why We're In Iraq'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2007 2:05pm PT  

(Hat-tip David Swanson who has more thoughts at AfterDowningStreet.org)

ReddIt this story!



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