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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...|
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
The video (8:44) starts with Harry Reid (D-Nevada) laying out some of the key points of the proposed legislation followed by Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Barack Obama (D-Illinois), Claire McCaskill (D- Missouri), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) who kills, Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Magical.
All of the Sunday news shows today were abuzz with talk of Bush's reported troop "surge" plan for Iraq.
The general theme was that, as Commander-in-Chief, Bush could do whatever he wanted in regard to troop levels and the only thing Congress could do about it was to use their control of the purse strings by voting to stop funding the war. In other words, they could take what increasingly appears to be the White House dare.
Never mind that briar patch --- and the fact that Congress could instead gracefully vote to end funding for the war as of a date fixed long into the future. For example, no more funding as of next year. In that way, there would be plenty of time to begin a withdrawal, and the Dems wouldn't end up falling into the Bush dead-enders' disingenuous trap, set to show the Democrats as hoping to see our poor troops stranded in a foreign country with no food, water, bullets, or way to get home.
But aside from cutting off funding for the war, now or in the future, there is another option for the moment in answer to Bush's predicted call for a "surge"; demand that the White House release their estimates of the number of casualties we will incur during such a "surge."
Now, I'm no military expert (and I'd be delighted to hear, via comments or email, from anyone who is and can speak to this issue), but it seems to me that any plan to increase troop strength would come with some sort of general estimate from the Pentagon as to the cost in increased, or decreased, causalities for our troops.
Congress must call on the White House to go on record with that estimate!
If there is estimated to be an increase in casualties, okay, let's hear it. The country needs to know exactly how much blood of other people's children that Bush is willing to throw down in his Hail-Mary gamble for "victory."
If there is estimated to be a decrease, fine, let's hear it. At least there will now be a paper trail metric of what the official predictions for such things were. If Bush ends up moving ahead with his double-down plan, we'll be able to clearly judge his Administration's "success" against that metric in the future if the "surge" happens despite all other efforts --- and reason --- to keep it from happening.
Finally, if no such estimate has been made by the White House (or, more aptly, the Pentagon, presumably) in planning for such a radical change in policy, then the Administration would simply be seen as wholly delinquent in their duties. That alone should be enough for Congress to be able to roundly vote in favor of a resolution condemning the plan. In the bargain, it will help make the case to the American people, loudly and clearly --- as if it has not been made already --- that this Administration has no damned business running the foreign policy of this country while using the men and women of our armed forces as chess pieces in their desperate attempt to save their own disastrous political and historical legacy.
We suspect this won't be the last time. Particularly if the Dems decide to play it safe instead of taking seriously the clear mandate for accountability they received at the polls last November.
Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, joined other protesters on Capitol Hill today to lobby Congress Members for a swift end to the War in Iraq. They interrupted a Democratic press conference today, held to announce ethics reform packages, with chants of "De-escalate! Investigate! Troops Home Now!" Rahm never stood a chance.
Of course, he might have seen it coming. This was on the Gold Star Families for Peace website today:
Fox "News" deemed to tell the story. David Edwards, over at RAW STORY, covers it along with the video.
UPDATE: New York Times blogged the incident tonight, and if you care to put any stock in those dreaded "bloggers," they described the pathetic reaction of Emanuel and the other Dems this way...
Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney of Florida's 24th District has been ordered today by the House Ethics Committee to pay $5,643 for the cost of a "recreational" golf trip to St. Andrews, Scotland, which he had taken with the now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in 2003. The bill had been previously paid for by Abramoff, the committee has found.
The slap on the wrist issued today by the U.S. House Ethics Committee on the last day before the change-over to the new Congress was announced in a terse, one paragraph, bare-bones statement posted to the committee's website. AP reported the matter here. Outgoing defeated Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) was also found in violation of House rules and has agree to pay back more than $23,000 in inappropriate gifts.
The findings from the Ethics Committee, however, may be just the tip of the iceberg for Feeney as there continues to be a number of other allegations and claims of misconduct, both new and old, which still hang precariously over the Congressman's head.
The claimed cost of Feeney's Scotland trip, $5,643, was apparently supplied to the committee by the Congressman himself in March of 2005 after the many tentacles of the Abramoff corruption scandal were beginning to reveal themselves. Only after the trip had been reported by the media did Feeney take the matter to the Ethics Commission.
Feeney, who has been named for the second year running as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" by the non-partisan ethics watchdog group the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), had previously claimed that the trip, and several others, were pre-approved by the House Ethics Committee. As well, he had also originally claimed on his disclosure forms for the Scotland trip that it had been paid for by the National Center for Public Policy. The center has denied paying for the trip and Feeney has supplied no evidence that we're aware of that the Ethics Committee had pre-approved his vacation with Abramoff or any of the others.
In a statement released this afternoon, the National Center for Public Policy Research reiterated their denial of having had anything to do with Feeney's travels, despite continue statements from Feeney's office suggesting that they did. "The National Center for Public Policy Research played no role in this trip," the statement reads, "and only learned of its existence from media inquiries two years after it was taken."
No action has yet been taken on the other questionable vacations, one to Korea which was sponsored by he Korea-U.S. Exchange Council (KORUSEC), a registered foreign agent, and another to West Palm Beach, Florida, which Feeney had listed as having been paid for by a lobbying firm, which would also be a violation of House rules.
According to the Orlando Sentinel today, Feeney’s Chief of Staff Jason Roe --- who has had his own conduct questioned --- said of Feeney: "He’s personally and professionally embarrassed and considering it an expensive lesson."
The "lesson" however, was not all that "expensive" by Congressional standards, and certainly not if the $1.3 million that Feeney raised, mostly from corporate PACs, to spend on his recent campaign might be any indication of the funds that the once-exceedingly powerful Florida Republican has quick and easy access to.
"It's like he robbed a bank and was just asked to give back the money," said Naomi Seligman Steiner of CREW in deriding the light treatment given to Feeney by the commission.
The other two congressmen who had gone on junkets to St. Andrews with Abramoff, Tom Delay (R-TX) and Bob Ney (R-OH), have since resigned in the wake of criminal charges and guilty pleas. The cost for former Republican Majority Leader Delay's trip to Scotland with Abramoff was estimated to have been between $70,000 and $100,000. Feeney is the only Congress member of the three still serving in the U.S. House.
He was recently declared the winner by the state of Florida in the U.S. House race for 24th congressional district where Feeney ran one of the dirtiest --- and most expensive --- U.S. House campaigns in the nation against Clint Curtis, a computer programmer turned whistleblower. In early December of 2004, The BRAD BLOG broke the news of Curtis's affidavit alleging that Feeney was involved in a conspiracy to create electronic vote-rigging software when both men worked for the same Oviedo, Florida, software firm, Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), in 2000. At the time, Feeney was employed as YEI's general counsel and registered lobbyist, even while he served as the powerful speaker of Florida's House of Representatives.
Curtis also charged at the time that Feeney had helped cover up a number of other legal violations by the company, including the employment of illegal aliens at YEI who he claimed had had been spying for Communist China. Curtis also alleged YEI was over-billing on state contracts and had been inserting illegal wiretapping modules into software the firm had been contracted to write for NASA and the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT). In the ensuing years, one of YEI's employees, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, the man Curtis accused of writing the wiretapping modules, pled guilty after being arrested by Federal Authorities in a four year sting in which he admitted sending computer chips used in Hellfire anti-tank missile guidance systems to Communist China. As well, a report issued by the State of Florida's Inspector General's office found that YEI had, in fact, over-billed the state of Florida on contracts and that Nee had indeed been an illegal alien.
Feeney, a good friend of Dr. and Mrs. Yang, the owners of YEI --- who have given thousands of dollars in campaign support to the disgraced congressman over the years --- still keeps his main campaign headquarters in the YEI office building in Oviedo, Florida, to this day. Feeney had previously been caught lying about his association with the Yangs.
Feeney's troubles, however, are likely far from over. As a member of the Republican Leadership in the 109th Congress --- he was a deputy whip --- Feeney has yet to detail what he knew about his Florida colleague Rep. Mark Foley's sexual transgressions with minors. After reports had surfaced that the Leadership had been made aware of the concerns about Foley many years ago, Curtis issued a press release during the campaign calling on Feeney to come clean on what he knew about Foley, when he knew it, and what he did about it. Feeney has stayed mum to this day, refusing to give details about his knowledge in the matter.
Feeney, who has claimed Curtis is both "crazy" and "a liar" has refused to take a polygraph test despite having been challenged publicly by Curtis, and others, to do so. For his part, Curtis successfully passed a lie detector test concerning his charges against Feeney and YEI back in early 2005.
Additionally, Curtis has since filed a challenge in Congress to the election of Feeney, claiming a number of irregularities found in the Diebold electronic voting systems used across several counties in Florida's 24th district. Yesterday, the National Election Data Archive issued an analysis [PDF] of precinct data for the election detailing a number of inexplicable discrepancies in the results as reported by the state of Florida. The non-partisan Election Integrity organization has announced that the discrepancies in the numbers are "consistent with a pattern that would be caused by voter disenfranchisement, vote fraud, or innocent miscount."
When the Congressional challenge was filed in the race between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R) in the FL-13 race --- where the votes of some 18,000 Florida voters failed to register on ES&S touch-screen voting machines in Sarasota, with a reported margin of just 369 votes between the two candidates --- Feeney declared the Constitutional challenge to be "total political dictatorship." His statement was made to the media, however, before it was publicly known that Feeney's election would as well be challenged in the same Congress under the same Federal Contested Elections Act.
Curtis's challenge, and several others originating in the state of Florida, will reportedly be championed in the House by Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ), who has long been an advocate for election reform in the U.S. House. We hope to have more details here at The BRAD BLOG on the Curtis challenge, and other related matters, shortly. Stay tuned...
In June of 2004, in light of a host of thuggish Republican tactics in the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a proposal for a "Minority Bill of Rights" to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) calling for a more equitable balance of power in the chamber. Her proposal called for keeping any such adjustment to the rules in place no matter which party was in the Majority. Hastert, refused even the courtesy of a reply.
Now, Republican members are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter to gain support for such a bill. Now that they are in the minority, of course. Cry babies.
Justin Rood has the story, and the letter - "House GOP: Don't Hurt Us --- Please".
It was only June of this year when Tony Snow blithely commented on behalf of the White House, upon the news that the 2500th American troop had been killed in Iraq, "It’s a number."
There is a certain warped and tragic sense of unavoidable poesy in the announced death of the 3000th fallen U.S. troop coming, as it does, today --the last day of 2006. Yet I can't help but be reminded that as awful as that "number" is, it comes nowhere near expressing the full pain, suffering, horror, mutilation, and unbearably high cost to humanity that this administration --- and their supporters --- have wrought on this world via their tragic arrogance and folly.
The 3000 "number" includes only American troops killed in Iraq. It doesn't include the number of those, thousands over, who have been injured for lifetime. It doesn't include American contractors who have also been killed. It doesn't include Americans killed in Afghanistan. Neither does it include the troops and citizens from other countries who --- for reasons good or bad --- were deployed to the region after having bought into the mercilessly cruel confidence game that these Administration cretins --- and their supporters --- have perpetrated on the people of this planet. Most disturbingly, however, the "number" 3000 doesn't even begin to include the uncountable --- and mostly uncounted --- hundreds of thousands of citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan who were born with the unfortunate trait of having being born where they were born, only to end up in the deadly literal crossfire ordered by people who neither know them nor give a damn about them.
"River" at Baghdad Burning, one of the citizens born with that unfortunate trait, has been chronicling the misery of such citizens from Iraq for the past three years when the power is on, and she is able to access an Internet computer and she has the stomach to share her pain with the rest of the world. She now shares the same sense, expressed by the White House via Snow, that these landmark statistics "simply represent numbers." The irony would likely be lost on this White House.
A few days ago, "River" reminded us once again of the real cost of this sham war. And as cold-hearted as her thoughts may seem, they are yet another wake up call. Yet another one most likely to be ignored by the desperate fanatics whose simple-minded sense of self-importance has left the rest of the world --- likely for generations --- with the burden of cleaning up behind their crushing cruelty, unforgivable arrogance, and indescribable incompetence.
I believe "River" offers a glimpse of what we all will be forced to come to cold, hard grips with in the year --- and years --- ahead...
Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.
Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.
Just because Americans die in smaller numbers, it doesn't make them more significant, does it?
These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it --- defined by it --- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off --- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!'
This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.
What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30, or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness?
Hat-tip for the pointer to the above to Joseph Cannon, who aptly adds:
And while we're hat-tipping to the much beloved Cannon, we'll point to his brief, yet enlightening summary today of how the United States handcrafted its own, ultimately self-defeating, legacy named Saddam Hussein.
Of course, most of those who have spent the last 6 years mindlessly salivating to the sound of their master's voice will be unlikely to take the time to read it. Lest they take notice of anything to upset their creepy and cultish devotion to the notion of an infallible America. But the rest of us, with intellectual curiosity and honesty intact, can at least learn a thing or two about this whole nightmare having been the work of the self-same criminal crew who --- as the last of their "papier-mache grandeur" flakes away, for now --- cling pathetically to today's barbaric murder of Saddam as some sort of "victory."
Sadly --- and shamefully --- it is anything but.
I don't know whether it's apocryphal or not, but it's been said that criminals, after their arrest, tend to fall asleep in their holding cell, while the innocent stay awake, yelling and screaming in protest.
This from RAW STORY's coverage of today's hanging of Saddam Hussein...
"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," one of Hussein's attorneys points out, according to AP, apparently without even a hint of irony.
The oxymoron aside, for our part we don't have much to say about all of this, other than how brutally disgusting it is, how Osama still runs free, how well more than the number of Americans killed on 9/11 have now been killed in Bush's appalling revenge plot on behalf of his father, and how neither Americans in general, nor certainly the troops on the ground, are any safer due to Bush's appalling failure as a U.S. "President."
Iraq War veteran Jon Soltz, co-founder of VoteVets.org, an advocacy group representing vets of both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, issued this statement earlier today:
For George W. Bush, however, who lives in the safe confines of his well protected mobile bunker, his presiding over this barbaric ending to the life of a barbaric man is ultimately just another shameful chapter in an already tragic-beyond-description tale.
Congratulations and Happy New Year, Mr. Bush. You got your man.
UPDATE 7:50pm PT: The deed is done. Good luck washing all of that blood off your hands, Mr. Bush. Only you could turn a despicable man like Hussein into a martyr. By year's end, in a few hours, the 3000 mark may be passed for dead U.S. troops in your war. Though, as Baghdad Burning points out so movingly today, 3000 Iraqis are lost in an average month. So I guess it's no biggie. You've had quite the reign, sir.
Merry frickin' Christmas.
From AP. December 25, 11:51pm ET.
The U.S. military announced the deaths of two soldiers in a bomb explosion southwest of Baghdad on Monday. The deaths raised the number of troops killed to 2,974 since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.
BRAD BLOG readers know that we take no particular joy in even appearing to defend the corporate mainstream media. Nonetheless, the hateful rightwing loons that have taken over the majority of the discourse in this country have been so intolerably wrong on so many issues for so very long, it's nice to see one of them admit --- even tacitly --- that "conservatives" (as they call themselves) have been wrong in their idiotic attacks on MSM reporting. Particularly in regard to the War in Iraq.
So now, the Bush Administration, and the last of its dead-enders, have even lost National Review's Richard Lowry...
There's more, but you get the drift. A moment of intellectual honesty from Lowry. Though not nearly enough. Note his use of "they," not "we" or "I." And he can't help but take several idiotic, unsupported shots in the piece, lest he completely lose his readership base all together.
So it's not enough to earn himself a coveted, yet rarely bestowed, BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award." Either way, we hope for his sake that the waters are warm these days for the rats as they dive off the sinking ship.
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
This clip is from a Noam Chomsky speech given over the weekend titled, "What's Next? Creating Another World in a Time of War, Empire and Devastation," which aired today on Democracy Now! In this excerpt (3:45), Chomsky uses the recent Baker/Hamilton Report as the starting point for his critique of US foreign policy. He questions the selective use of polling data in the Report which fails to mention that the vast majority of both Iraqis and Americans desire an immediate pullout of US troops or a definitive time-line for withdrawal. It's all a bit strange to Chomsky, who states, "In our mission to bring democracy to the world we don't care about the opinions of people --- they're kinda irrelevant."
Yesterday, at CBS, a reporter with a camera crew asked a number of very tough, very overdue questions of Colin Powell, who has received an inexplicable Get Out of Jail Free card from the media and almost everyone else. No, we're not referring to his much ballyhooed --- and also very overdue --- admissions on Face the Nation that "we are losing" in Iraq, and that he's "not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad...will work."
The very tough questions, which obviously irritated Powell, concerned his own complicity in getting us into this mess in the first place. But the questions weren't asked by CBS's Bob Schieffer during his own televised "exclusive." Nor were they asked by a determined reporter from the NY Times or Washington Post or Newsweek or any of the networks.
The questions were asked by a guy named Sam Husseini of Washington Stakeout. He stands outside the network studios on Sunday mornings trying to ask actual questions of the "newsmakers" after they've left their softball interviews with Bob and Tim and George.
Jonathan Schwartz highlights the questions for Powell and his answers (both caught in short video segments) in which Husseini simply nails Powell on his UN garbage.
Imagine if the corporate mainstream media actually asked such questions --- before we end up in intractable wars at unspeakable cost...though we'd settle for them asking such questions now. Any takers out there?
Until then, thank you, Sam. Keep up the good work. We'll try to keep watching.
(Hat-tip David Swanson for the heads up.)
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
· Daily Censored
· Media Freedom
· Project Censored
· Scholars & Rogues
· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
· Tom Tomorrow
· TV Newser
· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
· Tom Toles
· Tony Auth
· Stuart Carlson
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