On November 29, 2005, the Boston Globe ran a nice Letter to the Editor by Mr. Ralph West of Philly, under the headline “REMOVE CANCER IN ADMINISTRATION”:
...It is just as important as ever that the metastasized cancer of corruption in the Bush administration be removed, if possible...If a Robert Bork does not emerge to fire Fitzgerald, we may yet get to the truth of the Valerie Plame Wilson affair...
Mr. West's concerns may now have come to fruition, The BRAD BLOG has learned, as "a Robert Bork" has emerged --- in fact, Robert Bork himself --- along with eleven other law professors from some of the nation's most highly regarded law schools, and Pepperdine, to file an amici brief in the Scooter Libby perjury and obstruction of justice case in order to argue that the Special Prosecutor's assignment to the case was unconstitutional...
Voter Fraud zealot Bradley Schlozman takes his do-over concerning testimony he gave last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning his assertion (made 10 times in all), that it was Craig Donsanto of the Election Crimes division at the DoJ's Public Integrity unit who gave him the go ahead to bring voter fraud charges in Missouri days before last November's election. The indictments were in strict violation of the DoJ's written policies --- written by Donsanto, in fact --- that bar such indictments at times that they may have an impact on an election.
Says Schlozzie, in his freshly-filed and obviously-forced about face: "I want to be clear that, while I relied on the consultation with, and suggestions of, the Election Crimes Branch in bringing the indictments when I did, I take full responsibility for the decision to move forward with the prosecutions related to ACORN while I was the interim U.S. Attorney."
To which Sen. Leahy --- who pressed Schlozman hard on this precise point in a memorably heated exchange during the hearing (see angry video at left)-- says: "It is deeply troubling that after weeks of preparation Mr. Schlozman appears to have misled the Committee and the public about his decision to file an election eve lawsuit in direct conflict with longstanding Justice Department policy."
Also related...Hans von Spakovsky, Schlozman's GOP "voter fraud" partner at DoJ, comes before the Senate tomorrow for a hearing concerning his appointment as chair of the FEC. He had been previously recess-appointed to the position by Bush, but his Get Out of Jail Free Card is now up, and tomorrow he'll finally face questions on his role in gutting the Voting Rights Act at the DoJ against the advice of the decades-long experience of civil rights attorneys in the Voting Unit there. Five of those former DoJ staffers have written a letter to Congress urging them to reject von Spakovsky's nomination.
Following up on last night's exclusive in which we reported that progressive Los Angeles talk radio host and former TV news anchor Bree Walker had purchased Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" property in Crawford, TX.
As expected, AP, CNN, et al. picked up the story today after we reported it here. Also as expected, though we were the only outlet to have the story and neither Walker nor Sheehan issued press releases, none of the MSM outlets bothered to give us credit for having reported it here on The BRAD BLOG. So we won't bother to link to their reports either, but at least we told you they exist.
We reported last night that Sheehan was to appear live in studio this afternoon on Walker's radio show to hand her the deed to the property, and that we were also scheduled as a guest on the program as well.
The audio from our guest appearance today along with the two women follows below. The clip includes Sheehan's transfer of the deed for her land near George W. Bush's "ranch" to Walker, along with some thoughts on her plans for Camp Casey's future.
Walker told us yesterday that by purchasing the land, she was "cashing out [her] capitalist corporate stocks and buying into a legacy of peace." Today she expanded on her hopes to move forward within the anti-war movement. "I will be learning what my role is to be, in being the new caretaker and landowner of Camp Casey," she explained to listeners during her weekend broadcast on KTLK AM1150.
"Like Cindy says, this is not a movement of Right or Left, it's a movement of right or wrong. So my goal will try to be a unifying person there in Crawford, Texas. And if I'm not welcome in my anti-war activities? Well, too bad. Look out. You think Cindy Sheehan was tough? You just wait," Walker vowed.
She reiterated, during her comments about Camp Casey, that she hoped to continue its historic legacy. "That hallowed ground," Walker promised, "will remain a place for protest against war, and a place for peace and freedom."
-- Click below for selected clips from Walker's show this afternoon, with Brad Friedman on the phone and Sheehan in studio to present the deed to her land in Crawford, TX. [Appx 18 minutes]
A former Los Angles newscaster turned progressive talk radio host, Bree Walker, will be purchasing Cindy Sheehan's 5-acre property near the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, The BRAD BLOG has learned.
Walker, currently a resident of San Diego, was previously a television news anchor in Los Angles and New York. She confirmed the news to us moments ago, in an exclusive interview, that she intends to keep the property "as a ground for freedom and peace" and is considering erecting a memorial there for troops killed in Iraq. She hopes to create a meditation garden on the grounds and to keep it open to the public.
"I'm cashing out my capitalist corporate stocks and buying into a legacy of peace," she told The BRAD BLOG moments ago. Sheehan will be selling the property for the same price she purchased it for so as not to be seen as profiting from the sale, Walker explained.
(On the imaginary premise that Paris doesn't matter...)
Schlozman may be revising his Senate testimony in which he blamed Craig Donsanto, of DoJ's Public Integrity Unit (responsible for Election Crimes), for giving him the "all clear" to bring indictments for "voter fraud" in Missouri just days before the '06 election. The move was in violation of written DoJ policy which specifies that such cases that may have a political effect on elections are not to be filed until after such elections. In his testimony, Schlozman admitted (great video here) that he could have waited, but didn't.
Background and video on his previous testimony here, with a follow-up including details from a BRAD BLOG DoJ source here.
In not necessarily unrelated news, Bush lawyers up with nine additional attorneys today. Must be gettin' hot in there.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace --- who recently revealed he hadn't a clue about how many of his own U.S. troops were killed in Iraq or how many had died on 9/11 --- is being replaced by order of Sec. of Defense Robert Gates, according to news reports this morning.
Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson speculates the final straw was Pace's letter of support sent to the Judge in the Scooter Libby case:
Let there be no doubt--Perfect Peter Pace has been shown the door because of his letter to Judge Walton pleading on behalf of Scooter Libby. That letter was the final straw demonstrating his incompetence and political tin ear as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. How can you call call upon troops to conduct themselves with honor and integrity when you make lame excuses for the conduct of a convicted perjurer and obstructer of justice like Scooter Libby. Pace's Libby letter was the tipping point. His status, already shaky with the debacle of Iraq and a six year record of failure, became toxic with that letter.
Jon Soltz, an Iraq war vet and Chairman of VoteVets.org, the largest political group of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, concurs with Johnson's assessment. "General Pace grossly overstepped his bounds and poorly represented the military with his political actions and misguided statements," according to a Soltz in a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG. "The straw that broke the camel's back, for us, was his defense of a convicted felon, Scooter Libby, when it was entirely improper for him to do so, as a top leader in the military, who must remain non-partisan."
Johnson concludes: "I believe that Perfect Peter has dishonored himself and dishonored the Marine Corps by his conduct--his weak, vacillating leadership and his craven pandering to political masters....Peter has been more willing than others to sell his soul for political expediency. He leaves in September. Good riddance."
And speaking of credit where it's due, the New York Times and several other outlets today confirm the story of secret US prisons in Poland and Romania which our friend and courageous investigative journalist, Larisa Alexandrovna, reported exclusively long ago with former Polish intelligence officer David Dastych over at the news site RAW STORY.
As usual, the Times, Washington Post, AP, and the Guardian all failed to acknowledge or recognize RAW in any way, despite that the fact that RAW "provided each of the four news organizations with the" report that they are today reporting on.
It's a continuing pattern, for which those outlets always have some form of excuse ("we verified it independently, we didn't know about the 'Internet reporting' on it previously, we don't credit 'blogs'," etc.) Meanwhile, RAW, ourselves, and virtually every other Internet reporting outlet routinely credit such MSM sources when we follow up on their reporting.
Anyway, none of them credited RAW, so we won't bother linking to any of them. Here's RAW STORY's coverage --- the ones who had the story and had it right in the first place --- instead.
You'll recall that yesterday's report from Mannies had paraphrased Hearne's comment to the effect of his "most vocal critics also are Web-based liberal blog sites." As it turns out, Hearne had actually mentioned The BRAD BLOG by name in her interview with him, according to what Mannies told us yesterday when she called seeking comment. As she hadn't been able to reach me the day before, she didn't want to mention us in that piece specifically until she was able to get comment in response.
For whatever reason, Mannies is the only member of the media right now to whom Hearne seems willing to talk since his operation was forced underground in the glare of the U.S. Attorney Purge spotlight. Hearne has refused comment to all manner of MSM-types seeking interviews --- even begging off, along with his other ACVR partners in crime, from an NPR piece yesterday which covered Hearne and his scam. (Their report kindly included a brief clip from an interview with us, pointing out that we broke the story on these cretins two years ago and have been keeping up the drumbeat ever since.)
Mannies told us yesterday that "Thor says he's in the spotlight because some of the blogs, particularly yours, which he mentioned by name, have put him there." So much for the old Republican saw about taking personal responsibility for oneself. But whatever. While she was unable to find the direct quote from her interview with him for her follow-up piece today, she did manage to name a few names in it --- ours.
Here's that entire follow-up from today's Post-Dispatch...
Today NPR finally jumped into the game on the heels of last week's superb and detailed exposé of Hearne by Murray Waas at National Journal. (We've yet to cover that report, and some other ACVR items of late in detail, but we hope to soon).
I was contacted last week by NPR's Peter Overby and spoke to him on the record for about 30 minutes. Part of that interview was used in a report today on NPR's Morning Edition.
"One of the administration's staunchest advocates in the voter-fraud debate has simply disappeared," begins the report that details the ACVR's "short but busy life" and includes an interview with "Liberal blogger Brad Friedman [who] has been following the center since March 2005."
Overby was unable to get any of ACVR's formerly media-friendly spokesmen to speak to them on the record, and they report how the group seems to have scurried back underground since the U.S. Attorney purge scandal began to shine a spotlight on their vote-suppression activities and direct connections to the White House. NPR also notes purged NM US Attotrney David Iglesias's claims that ACVR "worked with the White House to forward allegations of voter fraud" and quotes Loyola election law professor Rick Hasen, who picked up on much of our reporting for his own widely-noted recent article on "The incredible, disappearing American Center for Voting Rights" as published last month by Slate.
Click below to listen to the NPR report in full, which is just over 4 minutes...
And again, we'll have much more on ACVR and Thor soon, as I was contacted today by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which ran a story on them today with references to "Some of Hearne's most vocal critics also are Web-based liberal blog sites, which several months ago began pointing to his ties to Blunt and a link to one of the fired U.S. attorneys — Bud Cummins of Arkansas."
Can't imagine which "Web-based liberal blog sites" they may be referring to, but, oh, wait...yes, we can. Post reporter Jo Mannies says Hearne complained about us by name, and though she wasn't able to contact me for comment before today's report, she hopes to have more on all of this tomorrow. And, most likely, so will we.
For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
As the headlines report, yesterday Judge Reggie Walton, U.S. District Court of D.C., sentenced I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to 30 months in prison and fined him $250,000 following Libby’s conviction on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. In the crowded courtroom where I sat were the defense and prosecution teams; a front row of prominent Libby supporters including lobbyist and former DOJ spokesperson Barbara Comstock, Republican commentator/advisor Mary Matalin, Republican polemicist/attorney Victoria Toensing; Libby’s wife and friends; and full pews of press and spectators.
Defense attorney William Jeffress brought out some new items at the sentencing hearing: 1) CIA public affairs officer Bill Harlow had a “conversation” with Bob Novak that “didn’t come in” at the trial; 2) back in 1998 Valerie Plame was brought back to the United States, Jeffress asserted, because it was “feared her cover had been blown”; and 3) Mr. Wilson had conversations with “almost total strangers” in which he revealed his wife’s employment. Actually, that last item has been suggested before by the ‘noise machine’ (David Brock’s phrase).
If the past is any guide, we shall see these items again in coming weeks/months; the question is whether they will be recycled by the echo chamber or outsourced to the MSM. (Former WH staffer David Gergen said on NBC News last night that the president will be under HUGE pressure to pardon Libby, thus applying pressure). Will Bob Woodward divulge behind-the-scenes discussions about these items, like sinus medicine in a time-release capsule, over the next six or eight months or in a book published around the time Libby’s appeal is argued?
The appeal will follow next week’s hearing on bail. For now, the question immediately before the court is how soon Libby should go to prison....
We hope to have more on the sentencing later today from BRAD BLOG D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns, who is at the sentencing hearing this morning (and who hopes also to get to the Schlozman and Graves testimony in today's Senate Judiciary Committee, as well).
Donna Brazile, Chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute, joined the Chairs of the DNC's Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, AAPI Caucus, Seniors Coordinating Council, and Native American Coordinating Council in condemning the Bush Administration's assault on voting rights and its politicization of the Department of Justice.
"The assault on voting rights is easily the most disturbing and inexcusable example of the Bush Administration's unbridled willingness to use the American government for the benefit of narrow partisan interests. The same voters targeted by these Republican efforts, whether Hispanic, African American, AAPI, or Native American, are all among those serving with honor in Iraq and Afghanistan. They shouldn't have to fight for their right to vote when they come home.
"The list of tools that Republicans have used to enhance their electoral prospects at the expense of our right to vote reads like a shameful litany from past eras: restricting access to voter registration, improper attempts to purge voter lists, the use of voting machines that leave no verifiable audit trails, criminal phone jamming schemes, discriminatory voter ID laws, inconsistently administered elections, and now we find out, politicizing the Department of Justice. These Republican schemes are not just undemocratic, they're un-American. The time has come for Republicans to stop playing politics with our fundamental right to vote, and for President Bush, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Party to apologize to the American people."
The release goes on to list a panoply of Republican voter disenfranchisement efforts from FL to WI to OH to CO to NV and more. Kudos. Had they been as aggressive in their report on Ohio after the '04 Election, we might not be fighting our way out of the nightmare we now find ourselves in.
And sadly, as Democrats seem destined to shoot themselves in the face with ill-conceived Election Reform bills in both the House and Senate, the nightmare will likely continue no matter what. As we've tried to explain to DNC folks many times, you can fight to ensure every legal voter who wants to vote gets to vote, but if those aren't counted correctly, it ultimately means absolutely nothing.
Nonetheless, we'll keep our eyes forward for the moment, and hope the DNC continues to realize the breadth of what has been going on, and what will continue to go on unless they do something about it and finally stand up once and for all for both American values and voters.
As reported previously, investigative journalist Greg Palast was scheduled to meet with John Conyers this evening for an on-camera interview for the BBC. His team, just out from the interview, sends this dispatch to The BRAD BLOG...
Rove Pick for US Attorney Resigns After Conyers Seeks Evidence from BBC
Tim Griffin, formerly right hand man to Karl Rove, resigned Thursday as US Attorney for Arkansas hours after BBC Television 'Newsnight' reported that Congressman John Conyers requested the network's evidence on Griffin's involvement in 'caging voters.' Greg Palast, reporting for both BBC Newsnight and Democracy Now, obtained a series of confidential emails dating from the 2004 presidential election in which the GOP operative transmitted so-called 'caging lists' of voters to state party leaders.
Experts have concluded the caging lists were designed for a mass challenge voters right to cast ballots. The caging lists were heavily weighted with minority voters including African-American homeless men, students and soldiers sent overseas.
Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee investigating the firing of US Attorneys, met Thursday evening in New York with Palast. After reviewing key documents, Conyers stated that, despite Griffin's resignation, "we're not through with him by any means."
Conyers indicated that he thought it unlikely that Griffin could carry out this massive 'caging' operation without the knowledge of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rove.
Griffin, who was chosen as US Attorney at Rove's request, has not responded to requests by BBC to explain the 'caging' memos.