Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
The Nation's John Nichols on new revelations of Scott Walker lying about a criminal investigation and on the Black Lives Matter movement and Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
Catching up on a lot that fell through the cracks during last week's busy news week. From Jon Stewart to new toxic spill in SW to sentencing verdict for Aurora shooter to GOP debate answers media aren't discussing & more...
Friday was another very bad for Diebold (DBD), poor dears, though arguably a very good day in kind for those who love America and democracy and stuff.
Their stock price plunged another full 6.13% to close at $26.81 --- another low for the once-great, now-disgraced company. Their value hasn't been this low since April of 2001, just after George W. Bush was inaugurated. Go figure.
Worth of the Diebold company has now plummeted a whopping 47.43% since August 7th of last year, when a number of Diebold insiders all cashed in a bunch of stock on the same day at $53.04, near the year's high.
Previous coverage of Diebold's most recent dumpster dive, reasons for the bad company karma, details on recent fraud lawsuits, and current SEC and DoJ investigations of 'em, can be found here and here.
At least someone's bringing some accountability of some sort this year....
Looks like our old friends at Diebold have left us with an end-of-year gift, as their share prices continued tumbling today to close the year at $28.98/share. Just a smidgeon above their 5-year 7-year low set earlier in the day. (DBD stock hasn't been this worthless since April of 2001.)
But, as we reported in our recent summary of the years-long undoing of one of America's worst voting machine companies (we know, it's a close contest), there has yet to be any accountability, for the company insiders who, with stunningly fortuitous coincidental timing, just happened to sell off thousands of shares at $53.04 last August.
Those lucky executives moved at just the right time, right near the year's peak of $54.50, last August, and just prior to the precipitous 43% plunge over the rest of the year. We --- and we alone, unfortunately --- reported on that apparent insider trading just after the sell-off in late Summer.
Whether the recently announced DoJ investigation of Diebold has anything to do with that chicanery, we can't tell ya. And we're still waiting for any of the thousands of Election Officials, who've been screwed by the once-beloved America-hating company, to file suit themselves. But at least the shareholders, if no one else so far, are beginning to bring some accountability.
Happy New Years, Diebold! We'll see ya on the other side. And that's one thing upon which, you can finally count correctly, for a change...
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is attempting to build a case of misconduct against Alberto Gonzales by showing that the former attorney general may have played a hands-on role in ousting former New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias based on pressure he received from former White House political adviser Karl Rove, according to several individuals familiar with the agency's probe.
Succumbing to improper political pressure in firing a US attorney would constitute a violation of Justice Department policy.
Recently, the OPR contacted Iglesias's former executive assistant, Rumaldo Armijo, to interview him about whether he was pressured by Pat Rogers, a Republican attorney in Albuquerque, and Mickey Barnett, a Republican lobbyist, to bring charges of voter fraud against Democrats in the state, individuals with knowledge of the scope of the OPR probe said.
Rogers was affiliated with the American Center for Voting Rights, a now defunct non-profit organization that sought to defend voter rights and increase public confidence in the fairness and outcome of elections. However, it has since emerged that the organization played a major role in suppressing the votes of people who intended to cast ballots for Democrats in various states. Rogers is also the former chief counsel to the New Mexico state Republican party, and was tapped by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) to replace Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico.
In an interview with Truthout in May, Iglesias said he had investigated so-called voter fraud allegations and found zero evidence to support the claims. He added that, based on evidence that had surfaced thus far and "Karl Rove's obsession with voter fraud issues throughout the country," he now believes GOP operatives had wanted him to go after Democratic-funded organizations in an attempt to swing the 2006 midterm elections to Republicans.
The BRAD BLOG has, of course, been following the GOP's voter suppression scam, headed by the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) for years, ever since we first outed them as a phony GOP front group back in March of 2005. See our ACVR Special Coverage page for the entire sordid mess.
As well, in March of 2007, we ran exclusive comments from John Boyd, one of the top Democratic attorneys in New Mexico, who offered his first hand account of the pressure being brought to bear on Iglesias by Republicans in the state to bring phony charges of Democratic "voter fraud" as far back as prior to the 2004 election.
A review of Boyd's insider perspective is instructive, to say the least, particularly as we head into 2008 when disingenuous cries of "voter fraud" will be heard from Republicanists from coast to coast --- as long as they don't concern Ann Coulter's own voter fraud --- and as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a key case on Photo ID polling place restrictions, described by the Century Foundation's Tova Andrea Wang, in her year-end column, "The Best and Worst of 2007: Voting Rights and Elections," to be "a far more important decision than Bush v. Gore ever was."
But with the continuing --- some might say, snail's paced --- OPR criminal investigation of Gonzales, we should note that the probe, as mentioned above, at least can be said to be moving forward in some fashion. Unfortunately, that's a far cry more than we can say for the job the Democrats are doing in bringing accountability via the U.S. Congress after a full year on the job.
Even the New York Times, in an editorial over the holiday, called on the lackluster Dems to get their act in gear, calling for "a full investigation into the misconduct that may have occurred," in the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, adding that "it needs to be investigated vigorously and completely."
Then, unfortunately, they offer readers the bad news...
The Cincinnati Enquirer, the paper that originally reported on the still-unresolved case of Warren County, Ohio's tabulation room lockdown on Election Night in 2004, has taken note of the comments made by OH Sec. of State, Jennifer Brunner in The BRAD BLOG's exclusive interview with her last week.
They highlight our exchange with the Secretary, concerning the lack of investigation, by her office, or any other, into the specious "Homeland Security warning" that county officials claimed had forced them to impose an unprecedented lock out, of both the media and public, denying them the ability to observe the tabulation in the counting room on Election Night. Warren County was one of the last counties in the Buckeye State to report their results in 2004 and went overwhelmingly for George W. Bush.
Brunner told us during our interview last week that she found the issue "troubling," and said that she still "can't find any justification for it."
"We'll look again at that situation and see what the best course of action is to prevent it from happening in the future," she promised us.
We argued that the best course of action is to bring accountability in order to send the message that such behavior will not be tolerated again.
At this time, the issue remains uninvestigated, the FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security deny issuing any such warnings to Warren or any other county in Ohio, and many of the county officials responsible for the unprecedented lockdown in 2004, in violation of state law, as well as the same county prosecutor, all remain in charge as another Presidential Election is set to begin in 2008.
Two of the Enquirer's original reports on the disturbing matter are posted here and here.
A very quick review of the reportage at the time, naming the names of those who were complicit, and the federal agencies that denied any such threat, follows...
As we head into the holidays (just past O'Reilly's "nine days of Hanukkah"), the wheels continue to come off, if still maddeningly slower than they should, in one case of White House/RNC corruption and/or fraud after another. We used to be able to keep up with the bulk of it. But no more. We throw in the towel, as developments and new cases are now coming faster than Executive Branch officials can declare a suddenly-discovered need to 'spend more time with their families'.
In matters of Election Fraud, a particular specialty of The BRAD BLOG, the under-reported pickings, from which we previously had to choose, were mighty, but slim enough that we could at least touch (if not a great deal more) on most of them.
But no more. And thankfully, of course. Even if it's a bit frustrating not to be able to bring you every step, in every case, as they are now coming fast and furious across the nation.
Several such cases, of what clearly are of enormous import, of late, have received some good coverage elsewhere --- for a welcome change. So we take some solace in that, at least, even if we don't have the resources to keep up with all of them, much less advance them a few steps ourselves, as we always prefer.
But we should at least touch on a couple of them, a bit, for the historical record, here at America's Election Fraud Authority, The BRAD BLOG. Please read on for some pointers to two emerging and mind-blowing stories of apparently rigged elections, that you may, or may not, have read about yet.
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy held a hearing this morning on a motion filed by attorneys representing detainees being held in Guantanamo. Following reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post that CIA videotapes of ‘harsh interrogations’ of detainees had been destroyed, apparently by the CIA, possibly under administration approval, attorneys David Remes and Marc Falkoff filed an Emergency Motion [PDF] for inquiry into the preservation of documents relating to prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.
Before Judge Kennedy and a courtroom packed with journalists,
• Lawyers for the detainees are asking the court to schedule a hearing for inquiry into whether the government is preserving evidence relating to detainees. Attorney David Remes expressed concern that the destruction of the two videotapes, as reported, may not be the full extent of the evidence destroyed...
Anonymous Blogger Offers Evidence-Free Claim That 'Left-Wing Activist' Academics and SoS Brunner 'Cooked Up' Report Results Showing All Buckeye State E-Voting Systems Vulnerable to Failure, Fraud, Easy Tampering...
Shamelessly (an inaccurately) writing on the Ohio Republican Party's blogsite, an unnamed writer posted the following opening to a critique of the $1.9 million bi-partisan study [strikethrough included in the original]:
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner found some left-wing activists academics to issue an expensive taxpayer-funded "study" criticizing Ohio's election system.
"Left-wing activists"? Incredible. And wrong. And slimy enough on its own --- never mind the rest of the blog item, which gets even worse, as posted by an unnamed election terrorist from the Ohio GOP --- to merit an immediate apology and retraction by the Ohio Republican party, along with the outing and firing of whoever the official was who wrote it...
The controversial head of the DoJ Civil Rights Division, Voting Section, John Tanner, finally resigned from his position as of 11am ET this morning...
Today, John Tanner resigned from his position effective immediately as chief of the Civil Rights Division's voting section. His resignation email, with the subject line "Moving On" was sent out at approximately 11 AM to voting section staff. He said that he will be moving on to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.
"The resignation of John Tanner is long overdue," writes one happy voting section staffer to The BRAD BLOG this morning, saying that he and his colleagues are "overjoyed at the news."
"Since becoming Section Chief in 2005 and even before, Tanner demonstrated that he cared only about serving his Republican overlords' desire to suppress minority voting to help the Republican Party win elections and not about the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. A great many long-time members of the Voting Section staff are overjoyed at the news of his departure," the staffer tells us, adding that a celebration is in the works.
"We are already planning a party for next week --- not a 'John Tanner goodbye party' but a 'goodbye John Tanner party.'"
At right is the most notable section of the now-infamous BRAD BLOG video, taped by our own Alan Breslauer at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles and which kicked off the most recent firestorm over Tanner's tenure. In it, as we reported exclusively at the time, Tanner explains his reasoning for over-ruling the majority opinion of career staffers in his own department in order to approve a controversial Photo ID polling place restriction in the state of Georgia. The measure was later found unconstitutional and declared to be a modern day Jim Crow-era poll tax by two federal courts.
Tanner says in the video, that though it's a "shame" that the elderly might be disenfranchised by such laws, "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."
"Mr. Tanner had a clear record of undermining the core mission of the section – protecting the right to vote," Rep. Jerrod Nadler, chair of a House Judiciary subcommittee which oversees Tanner's department, said in a statement today in response to the resignation. "Tanner was actively seeking to curtail that cornerstone of American democracy. The right to vote is the foundation of all our liberties and it must be protected."
The chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, was so incensed by Tanner's comments, as well as his previous efforts at white-washing a DoJ investigation of election fraud and voter suppression during the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, hearings were called in the House in late October, featuring an even more shameful performance by Tanner (video highlights/lowlights here), who would be described by the Washington Post afterwards as "one sorry man."
In response to Tanner's testimony at the hearings, The BRAD BLOG posted a letter from a voting section staffer, excoriating his sworn comments to the panel as "not credible", adding that Tanner had "lost no time in twisting the truth" in his testimony.
Tanner's long, often rambling resignation email sent out this morning (posted in full at the bottom of this article) skillfully attempts to re-write the history of his shameful tenure. In it, he conflates past performance of the department, beginning with his original arrival at DoJ 30 years ago, with the Civil Rights division's more recent and politicized history during which six years passed without a single lawsuit against African-American voter suppression have being filed.
Just one such case was filed under the DoJ's Voting Rights Act Section 5 oversight mandate, and it was a reverse-discrimination case in which white voters in Mississippi were said to have been discriminated against.
A special series on "Bush League Justice" by MSNBC's Dan Abrams premiered this week. In it's opening episode on Monday, Abrams focused on the DoJ's disastrous Civil Rights Division, and once again played a clip from Tanner's "minorities...die first" comments which we originally captured.
"Under Mr. Tanner's leadership, the Justice Department essentially took positions that disenfranchised minorities and the elderly," Nadler echoed once more in his comments today.
The final installment of "Bush League Justice" on MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams deals with the controversial prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Evidence suggests that Siegelman, who remains in prison, was wrongly prosecuted by prominent Alabama Republicans with the help of Karl Rove.
For starters, two prominent Republicans, Senator Jeff Sessions and Judge William Pryor Jr., were also named by the chief witness against Siegelman but were never even investigated. Further, a Republican lawyer working for Siegelman's political opponent has sworn under oath that he overheard key Republicans on Governor Riley's team discussing the case. He quotes one operative as saying:
"Not to worry, that he had already gotten it worked out with Karl, and Karl had spoken to the Department of Justice."
After a brief introduction, Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) and Harper's Scott Horton join Abrams for an in depth discussion about the case.
The Reno Gazette Journal reports on Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) announcement that he intends to file Articles of Impeachment very shortly against George W. Bush...
"On the way over here, I was reading a 50-page document that relates to Articles of Impeachment for the President of the United States," Kucinich said to a standing ovation. "And I want you to know that I'm actually preparing this document for submission to the House."
The BRAD BLOG can confirm recent efforts by Kucinich's office to prepare such a document. We cannot yet confirm when it will be filed in the U.S. House, but we're told it may be quite soon.
In the meantime, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) demonstrated that he understands both the U.S. Constitution and American politics, by offering this lesson to his fellow Democrats at a speech last week in Florida. (RAW STORY has the short video):
"The way we pass stem-cell research, the way we get implemented a children's health care plan, the way we get higher CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] standards to bring our energy debacle into a better condition for generations to come is to have impeachment hearings," Wexler said, appearing to nearly run out breath at one point during his speech. "Because that'll get the president's eye. That'll get the vice president's eye. That for the first time will show that the Democratic majority is here, and that in fact we have the courage of our convictions, and that we're not bound to be tied by conventional wisdom."
Wexler said that impeachment hearings weren't just an option available to Congress, but a requirement.
"This administration has abused its power in office...and it is the obligation --- not discretionary --- but it is the obligation of this Congress to investigate," he said. "And that's what I and some of my colleagues are beginning to call for."
"If we want to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, we need to become more popular. If we want to avoid a traumatic split between Sunnis and Shiites that endangers further our national security, we need to become more popular...If we want to engage with the Chinese in a more beneficial way, we need to become more popular."
"Let me tell you one more thing those impeachment hearings will do," he concluded. "It'll make America more popular."
"I urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months," Wexler stated at the time. "Only through hearings can we begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office."
Two high-ranking Republicans, Arlen Specter (PA) and Chuck Grassley (IA), joined the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee today by voting in favor of holding both Karl Rove and former White House Chief of Staff, Joshua Bolten in Contempt of Congress.
The committee recommendation, which was passed by a 12-7 vote, now goes to Majority Leader Harry Reid who may, or may not, join House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in failing to hold a full floor vote on the recommendation. Pelosi has held a recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee, finding both Bolten and former White House attorney Harriet Miers in contempt, since July.
The White House, which we all know is well above the law, continued their bullying of the Democrats who are likely to shrink in fear at the intimidation.
"They should be fully aware of the futility of pressing ahead on this," AP reports White House spokesman Tony Fratto as saying. "It has long been understood that, in circumstances like these, that the constitutional prerogatives of the president would make it a futile and purely political act for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys."
"I vote for the contempt citations knowing that it's highly likely to be a meaningless act," Specter said. "In this context we have no alternative."
Paul Kiel at TPM Muck speculates: "Perhaps the Senate and House will team up and schedule both votes before the New Year, sending the White House contempt citations against Rove, Miers, and Bolten as a Christmas gift. Or maybe nothing will happen."
Take your time, kids. Those in contempt have said they won't allow you to carry out your duty in holding them in contempt anyway, so why make so much unpleasantness just before the holidays?
What's your guess on when/if Reid/Pelosi will schedule such votes?
By law, the U.S. government is barred from propagandizing within the country. While that hasn't necessarily stopped them before, the Bush Administration has raised the art to a science. As well, they've reportedly been doing so out of Gitmo, perhaps a tacit acknowledgment that the practice is illegal under U.S. law, but hey, they're not in the U.S. when they do it from there, right? At least, that's what their legal department has long maintained in support of suspension of habeas corpus, human rights and long-held treaty agreements in relation to the detention of whoever they damn-well wish to hold without charges down there.
So they've been "vandalizing Wikipedia" and news sites across the web, according to a recent report at Wikileaks, which also offers the evidence...
WASHINGTON--The US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has been caught conducting covert propaganda attacks on the internet. The attacks, exposed this week in a report by the government transparency group Wikileaks, include deleting detainee ID numbers from Wikipedia last month, the systematic posting of unattributed "self praise" comments on news organization web sites in response to negative press, boosting pro-Guantanamo stories on the internet news site Digg and even modifying Fidel Castro's encyclopedia article to describe the Cuban president as "an admitted transexual" [sic].
Anybody doubt these same guys are working to post their propaganda in comments at websites like...oh, The BRAD BLOG for example? We're sure the Bush DoJ will get right on it.