Oops. Bill O'Reilly is "furious". So you know what that means, of course. Fox "News" gets it wrong again...
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Oops. Bill O'Reilly is "furious". So you know what that means, of course. Fox "News" gets it wrong again...
We're up before the West Coast dawn this morning to monitor the hearings in the U.S. House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties featuring John "Minorities Die First" Tanner. His recent objectionable comments were originally video-taped and reported by The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago.
The most objectionable of those comments including his contention that it was a "shame" that elderly voters might be disenfranchised by a 2005 Georgia Photo ID poll restriction that he approved on behalf of DoJ and against the advice of four out of five of his career staffers, minorities would somehow benefit from it. His twisted reasoning was that "because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way white people do. They die first."
Tanner, incredibly, is still the Chief of the Voting Section in the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.
Major points in our story so far...
Beyond that, Progress Report has an excellent round up of Tanner's "Erosion of Voter Rights" during his tenure.
The hearings have now ended, but our notes from our Live-Blogging of today's hearings are below, along with video clips of the key, and most pointed exchanges...
-- By Brad Friedman
Attention CBS 60 Minutes: we've got a huge scoop for you. If you want it.
Remember the exclusive story you aired on Sibel Edmonds, originally on October 27th, 2002, when she was not allowed to tell you everything that she heard while serving as an FBI translator after 9/11 because she was gagged by the rarely-invoked "States Secret Privilege"? Well, she's still gagged. In fact, as the ACLU first described her, she's "the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America."
But if you'll sit down and talk with her for an unedited interview, she has now told The BRAD BLOG during an exclusive interview, she will now tell you everything she knows.
Everything she hasn't been allowed to tell since 2002, about the criminal penetration of the FBI where she worked, and at the Departments of State and Defense; everything she heard concerning the corruption and illegal activities of several well-known members of Congress; everything she's aware of concerning information omitted and/or covered up in relation to 9/11. All of the information gleaned from her time listening to and translating wire-taps made prior to 9/11 at the FBI.
Here's a handy bullet-point list, as we ran it in March of 2006, for reference, of what she's now willing to tell you about.
"People say, 'why doesn't she just come forward and spill the beans?' I have gone all the way to the Supreme Court and was shut down, I went to Congress and now consider that shut down," she told The BRAD BLOG last week when we spoke with her for comments in relation to our story on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's original attempt to move a resolution through the U.S. House in 2000 declaring the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey as "genocide."
"Here's my promise to the American Public: If anyone of the major networks --- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX --- promise to air the entire segment, without editing, I promise to tell them everything that I know," about everything mentioned above, she told us.
"I can tell the American public exactly what it is, and what it is that they are covering up," she continued. "I'm not compromising ongoing investigations," Edmonds explained, because "they've all been shut down since."
Given our previous vid, smashing up Dems, it seems only fair to offer another smashing up the Republicanists. We're nothing if not fair and balanced, after all. This one's pretty brilliant and hysterical...And you can even sing along!...
(Safe for work? We report, you decide...)
P.S. On the rare occassions these days when we see those magnetic "Support the Troops" ribbons on cars and/or SUVs in parking lots, we've frequently pondered (not saying we've actually done it or not) removing them and re-applying them on the same cars' gas tank covers. Might get the owners thinking. You might wish to ponder same. Just sayin'.
Feingold on the 5th anniversary of Bush's signing of Congressional authorization for use of military force in Iraq:
“I will not stand idly by while this mistaken war continues. I will continue working to end this war and bring our troops home, and I will continue looking in the days and weeks ahead for opportunities to debate and vote on ending the war – this year, and, if necessary, next as well. My colleagues may complain, they may be inconvenienced, they may prefer to focus on other matters. But this Congress has no greater priority than making right the mistake it made five years ago when it authorized this misguided war.”
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review
Guest Blogged by Emily Levy
ED NOTE: The BRAD BLOG's Emily Levy sat down with Dennis Kucinich on Sunday, just before serving as a hand-counter for votes in the first Democratic San Mateo County Presidential Straw Poll. Results of that poll are below. Kucinich spoke about his plans to force a vote in the U.S. House on the Impeachment of Dick Cheney; on having officially removed his name as co-sponsor of Rep. Rush Holt's flawed Election Reform Bill; his interest in hand-counted paper ballots; and concerns about e-voting systems. As it turns out, however, his wife Elizabeth may have stolen the show with an impassioned speech on what America must do to restore "a rigged and a fake political system," which, she told Levy, is "very, very undemocratic."
Candidate Kucinich was surrounded by supporters after his speech to Democrats in San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco, over the weekend. One asked the U.S. House Rep (D-OH) about the failures of the current Congress to protect the Constitution. "If Congress did the right thing," he answered, "they would be talking … about impeachment."
At that point, I broke in with a question:
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: The American people: an outcry. That's what we ought to be talking about.
EL: What do they hear? What do they hear? I mean, I hear the American people screaming. How come they can't hear?
DK: They aren't. You're exactly right. You know, I introduced House Resolution 333 because I heard from the American people and they said they wanted some response to make Dick Cheney accountable for the statements that he made that took us into a war based on lies. And the statements he made that would take us into a conflict against Iran. Again, more lies.
The President is now openly invoking the specter of World War III with respect to Iran. He ought to be held accountable also. I'm the only member of Congress who stepped forward on the issue of making Dick Cheney accountable. And now we have 21 members who've joined me. That's a step in the right direction. But I'm going to go beyond that. I'm going to call a privileged resolution, at which point, would force a vote --- at least if it's only on a procedural motion --- members are going to have to confront this issue of impeachment. They're not going to escape it. This is a question of defending our Constitution. It really is.
(In a follow up phone call with the Congressman last night, I asked when he intended to introduce the privileged resolution in the House. He said it would happen in "the next few weeks," but couldn't be more specific. Now back to San Mateo...)
Kucinich burst into laughter when I showed him the teabag tag hanging from my shirt pocket. I praised his ingeniously deadpan appearance on The Colbert Report. He searched around in his jacket pocket for his mini-Colbert but was unable to produce the little guy.
While I waited for my turn to speak with Kucinich alone, I spoke with his wife, Elizabeth, who was "enjoying the last day of my twenties." (Happy birthday, Elizabeth.) I asked her the question that was really on my mind: Knowing what he knows about the theft of the last two presidential elections, why would her husband run for president?
After she said, "Are you kidding?" several times with increasing alacrity, I asked if I could turn on my voice recorder...
Yes, she was covert until being outed by the White House.
Yes, she was monitoring nuclear weapons and other WMD going into and coming out of Iraq and Iran, as RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna correctly and originally and exclusively reported in February of 2006.
Yes, her outing led to a still-classified CIA damage assessment and "serious" consequences" to other members of her CIA intelligence network.
No, despite Bush's promise, no one has ever been held accountable for leaking her identity in the first such outing of a covert CIA operative by agents of the U.S. Government itself.
No, Bush "is not a man of his word," as Valerie Plame Wilson told 60 Minutes tonight in her first broadcast network interview. Here's the video in two parts...
Some of what Plame is still not allowed to say, including details about "being taken hostage and subjected to torture for two days," is covered by her former CIA colleague, Larry Johnson, right here...
And in another posting today, Johnson gives us some details from Plame's new book, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, in which it's disclosed that "In 2004 the FBI received intelligence that Al Qaeda hit teams were en route to the United States to kill Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Valerie Plame."
So what did the White House do about it? Johnson tells us...
Valerie contacted the office of Security at CIA and requested assistance. They told her too fucking bad and to go pound sand. They did not use those exact words, but they told her she was on her own.
Special to The BRAD BLOG by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Columbus Free Press
ED NOTE: The following feature was originally published in the Autumn '07 print version of the Columbus Free Press. The comprehensive aerial overview --- connecting dots from 2000 to 2004 to the outlook for 2008, as based on a wide body of years-long investigative reportage and exposés as collected from a variety of sources, including The BRAD BLOG and many others --- offers such a useful round-up of "our story until now" that we thought running the piece in its entirety here would be a very good idea. We hope you agree.
With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP's neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare?
Think again – the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election.
With his usual devious mastery, Rove has seized upon the national outrage sparked by his electoral larceny and used it as smokescreen while he makes the American electoral system even MORE unfair, and even EASIER to rig. Thus the administration has fired federal attorneys when they would not participate in a nationwide campaign to deny minorities and the poor their access to the polls. It has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to install electronic voting machines that can be "flipped" with a few keystrokes. And under the guise of "reforming" our busted electoral system, it is setting us up for another presidential theft in 2008.
Thus it should come as no surprise that our exclusive investigations into the firings of eight federal prosecutors who refused to execute Rove’s plans for massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters reveal a pattern of illegalities and fraud aimed at reducing the number of minority, poor and young voters at the core of Democratic support. In the wake of major news breaks, two felony convictions have come from the rigging of the illegal Ohio 2004 vote count and recount that gave George W. Bush a second illegitimate term. Stunning new admissions from county election boards that illegally destroyed voter records will almost certainly lead to new convictions. And the multi-million-dollar electronic voting machine scam that made possible the biggest electoral frauds in US history is under massive new attack, with key states moving to scrap the machines altogether in a desperate attempt to restore American democracy – but with the job far from done.
Rove, Ney and the Undead
Indeed, the Rovian theft engine is far from dead. The media groundwork has already been laid out for the Republicans to claim that hordes of illegal aliens have registered to vote. The Bush administration has been caught ordering public agencies – possibly in violation of the law – to cease registering voters. In an April, 2006 speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association, Rove openly alluded to the strategy of demanding photo ID and purging voter roles of poor, minority voters just as had been done in 2000 and 2004. And, as always with Bush/Rove, there is much more beneath the surface.
All that has happened to challenge the GOP death grip on the American vote count has been reported in the pages of Hustler and on the internet at FreePress.org, The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and is being seized upon by a national grassroots movement determined to restore American democracy next year.
Nowhere has that movement been more in evidence than with the high profile firestorm surrounding Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ firing of eight federal prosecutors without legitimate cause.
Evidence continues to surface from throughout the United States about this blatant Bush abuse of executive power. But we have traced the roots of the firings to an obscure Congressional hearing held at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 21, 2005, and to a shadowy GOP operative named Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.
The hearing was conducted by none other than former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-18th OH). The once-powerful Ohio Congressman (who is now behind bars) was the godfather of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the national boondoggle that mandated electronic voting machines for the American electoral process.
That the machines would cost taxpayers billions was a big plus for Ney. They would come from Diebold and other companies that poured money into Republican coffers. Thanks largely to the manipulations of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, these e-voting machine companies would help guarantee the GOP’s ability to steal elections.
Ney’s hearing featured a marquee appearance by J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State responsible for delivering Ohio’s decisive 2004 electoral votes to Bush. Blackwell was a key operative for the Bush election campaign in Florida in 2000 and co-chaired the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign in Ohio...
After recently stepping up, along with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), to block the nomination to the FEC of insidious GOP "voter fraud" zealot Hans Von Spakovsky, Illinois' Democratic Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is calling for the head of the Voting Rights Section chief of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.
In a letter sent today (posted in full at end of this article) to Acting Attorney General, Peter D. Keisler, Obama has requested that John Tanner be sent packing following objectionable comments he made two weeks ago in Los Angeles at the National Latino Congresso.
The remarks by Tanner, video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG, were meant in support of his decision to allow a Photo ID restriction at polling places in Georgia, over the recommendation of four out of five of the career attorneys in the Civil Rights unit. The law would later be found unconstitutional by two federal judges, one of whom declared the practice to be a "Jim Crow-era poll tax".
Tanner told audience members during the panel on October 5th, that while it was a "shame" that the elderly would, in fact, be disenfranchised by the law he approved on behalf of the DoJ, minorities would have less to worry about because, as he told the stunned room, "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."
Former colleagues of Tanner went on to characterize his comments as "false", "ludicrous" and "cherry-picked" from existing data.
In his letter today, Obama said, "Such comments are patently erroneous, offensive, and dangerous, and they are especially troubling coming from the federal official charged with protecting voting rights in this country."
As we reported several days ago, Tanner is scheduled to testify on this and related matters to a sub-commitee of the House Judiciary Committee on October 30th. The committee has asked The BRAD BLOG for a copy of the entire session with Tanner, as video-taped by our own Alan Breslauer. We have complied with their request.
In breaking the news of Obama's letter this morning, TPM Muckraker's Paul Kiel noted the irony that during his appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Tanner will "get to explain personally to its 78 year-old African-American chairman [John Conyers] that minorities don't 'become elderly.'"
"Through his inexcusable comments," Obama writes in today's letter, "Mr. Tanner has clearly demonstrated that he possesses neither the character nor the judgment to be heading the Voting Rights Section. For that reason, I respectfully request that you remove him from his position."
Since the 2004 election, Republican officials and operatives have been attempting to enact such Photo ID laws at polling places across the country, despite some 10 to 30 million, largely Democratic and minority voters, who do not have such ID's and would be disenfranchised by such laws. Millions of dollars have been spent to support the unevidenced idea of Democratic "voter fraud" by phony GOP front groups such as the "non-partisan" ACVR, created by Bush/Cheney '04's national general counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director, Jim Dyke. Hearne is now laying low since shutting down the ACVR in the wake of calls for phony "voter fraud" prosecutions being found at the center of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Dyke, who parlayed his "non-partisan" ACVR gig into work for Dick Cheney, is now Communications Director for the Rudy Giuliani campaign.
Continuing the false GOP meme of Democratic "voter fraud", The BRAD BLOG recently noted unsupported claims of undocumented immigrants being "rounded up, herded into the polls [and] voting illegally" in California as charged by Golden State Rep. Duncan Hunter during a recent Republican Presidential Debate. Both Hunter's campaign and Congressional offices subsequently failed to respond to BRAD BLOG requests to back up with the claim with details or evidence.
During it's current session, the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to review the constitutionality of a similar Photo ID law enacted in the state of Indiana.
LATER UPDATE: WaPo again picks up the story, and again, as last time (and unlike AP) credits us appropriately. They also offer yet another DoJ spokesman's defense of Tanner, while an insider DoJ source gives us an indication of what's really going on over at DoJ in the wake of all of this. Details here...
The complete letter from Sen. Barack Obama to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler follows below...
Well now we're really confused. Over the last three days we've heard McCain and Rush and O'Reilly all reprimand us for not paying attention to how well the "new" strategy is working in Iraq and how things are finally beginning to get straightened out over there.
Yet 12 former U.S. Army captains who served in Iraq between '03 and '06, all indicate otherwise on today's usually-rightwing WaPo editorial page.
Criticizing "the surge" as not working, their comments begin: "Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles."
...And concluding thusly:
America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.
Once again, we must ask: Why do the troops hate the troops? And when will the troops on the ground start listening to the troops on the ground?
U.S. House Judiciary Committee staff informs us that October 30th will be the day for hearings with John Tanner, the DoJ Civil Rights Division's Voting Section chief. Tanner has caused a bit of a stir of late by suggesting that minorities needn't worry about being disenfranchised at the polls by restrictive Photo ID laws because they "die first" before become elderly (the original twisted BRAD BLOG video exclusive of Tanner's comments here). As well, Tanner's previous bizarre and unprecedented justifications on behalf of the DoJ, for why minorities have only themselves to blame for not being able to vote in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election have once again attracted the attention of John Conyers and his staff.
Though the hearing where Tanner will testify is currently planned for the 30th, we're told it won't be "official" until it appears on the official schedule for the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties --- usually a week or so prior to the hearing.
In the meantime, however, democracy and accountability fans in the Northern California area may get their Tanner fix this Thursday, as he's schedule to appear for a talk at UC Berkley's Institute of Governmental Studies. The talk is scheduled for 3:30p-5:00p at the Institute's Library, 109 Moses Hall, as sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research and the Election Administration Research Center (EARC). More details here.
Tanner's recent unbelievable comments to the National Latino Congresso --- "It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame. Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first." --- made their way to both the Washington Post and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
So who knows what he'll say next?!
We hope a few BRAD BLOG readers who may be concerned with some of Tanner's statements and behavior at the DoJ might find their way to showing up at his UC Berkeley event this week to video tape and/or ask a few tough questions of the man who oversees voting rights on behalf of the federal government.
If so, we hope you'll share any notable comments (hopefully on video or audio) with us!
I've been meaning to mention all week how appalling it was to see Tim Russert waste the entire sixty minutes of network airtime last week on NBC's Meet the Press, covering the 2008 Presidential Speculation. What, Ann Coulter was available for an "exclusive" full hour interview?
The vacuous hour followed a week on the heels of an extraordinary NY Times exposé on the con game played out by the Bush Administration concerning their torture policies; while America still has more than 160,000 troops committed to two hot wars; and with a criminal cabal still running full throttle out of the current White House.
Thankfully, Colbert mentioned it for me last night...
...And on that note, while Russert fiddles and Rome burns, the exchange with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also fiddling, as conducted by the tenacious Christiane Brown of Reno's progressive station talk station, KJFK, is both disturbing and illuminating.
In the short interview (courtesy of AfterDowningStreet.org), Reid just can't seem to understand the Constitutional responsibility of Congress to hold the Executive branch accountable, when warranted (as it clearly is now as much as any time in this nation's history), through Impeachment proceedings.
The quick audio (less than two minutes), with Reid grasping at straws to answer Brown's questions, while he declares Impeachment as "such a waste of time" and a "foolish idea" is here:
AfterDowningStreet also reports that Nancy Pelosi's appearance on Ed Schultz's show yesterday, in regard to the same topic, was similarly limp. Though we haven't gotten to hear that one yet, as Big Ed's archives are behind a subscription wall.
...All of which also gives us the opportunity to post the following graphic --- run by the Wall Street Journal, way back in 2006, based on data from even farther back in 2005 --- showing support for Impeachment of Bush as compared to Bill Clinton.
Study this closely, Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi...
While folks may have heard about the New York Times report last week concerning the secret DoJ memos created to give legal cover to the Administration to continue their policies of torturing prisoners of war, we suspect that most have not read the full, detailed 5-page investigative report.
But it's an important one, and it details the lengths to which the Bush team went to keep their pro-torture policies in place, even in the face of a DoJ rebellion, Congressional legislation, and even Supreme Court decisions. It was alarming to learn --- though we should hardly be alarmed at such things by now --- that when Bush signed the Detainee Treatment Act in December 2005, meant to ban the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in American custody anywhere in the world, he already knew, even if Congress didn't, that his Dept. of Justice had previously created secret legal documents declaring their ongoing torturous interrogation techniques as not "cruel, inhuman or degrading."
In other words, he knew he'd be able to continue with torture as usual, since new AG Alberto Gonzales oversaw the crushing of an internal DoJ rebellion finding the practices to be both illegal and in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Also alarming (but also, shouldn't be by now), is the lackluster way in which Congress has reacted to this stunning news which --- like so many other things --- might have led to immediate Impeachment talk for almost any other administration.
For those with short-attention spans, however (like the aforementioned Congress members!), the NYTimes story included an excellent sidebar graphic summarizing the timeline and main beats in the "Interrogation Wars" from DoJ to the White House to Congress to the Supreme Court.
Since the graphic is too wide to easily run on most blogs, we've recreated the short, easy to read timeline in text format below. We'd strongly suggest, if nothing else, you familiarize yourself with it so you understand, in simple terms, the con game that has been played out here by this Administration.
As a bonus, below that, is a video from last Thursday Daily Show with John Stewart in which he interviews Jack Goldsmith, once the head of the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel, and the man who fought back, along with Dep. AG James Comey, against the policies. Though successful in their efforts, for a time, and to an extent, both men were eventually pushed out of the DoJ, as Gonzales was dispatched to quell the rebellion as AG.
One very short and very amusing anecdote, if we may, before both of those, buried on page 5 of the Times report....
Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns
It was a big day on Thursday in the national capital, with several flaming surges hitting the news at once – the Washington Post hooking up with the MSM campaign to put “Hillary” over the top before the magic deadline of October 15 (more on that later, elsewhere); Rep. Henry Waxman and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee holding a powerful hearing on Iraqi corruption; the blocking of Hans von Spakovsky's nomination to the FEC; and discussion of a proposed federal shield law for journalists (full text of bill here), which was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today to the full Senate.
While I was able to sit in for hearings on two of the items above, space and time regrettably being constraints, I'll cover only the proposed shield law for the moment. Right up top, I have to say that I have qualms about it. A real leak, by a whistleblower exposing a crime or some danger to the public, is one thing. But protecting journalists from exposing a politically motivated ‘source’ trying to plant misinformation is another. This bill, as it was debated in committee and written about in papers yesterday, might equally protect both, if it protects either...
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