Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
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...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
Video: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) gets nowhere as he attempts to grill Attorney General Michael Mukasey on the investigation into Karl Rove's influence in the federal prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Update (from Brad): Wow. Remarkable exchange. Made either more or less astounding by the reminder that it was Schumer himself who, with Diane Feinstein, sealed the confirmation of Mukasey. Regretting that one yet, Senator?
(P.S. Good catch, Jon! Don't let me stop you from posting an update that includes the answer to Sheldon Whitehouse's question at the end there! )
Got it! See below --- Jon
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
Last week we noted that John McCain had managed to complete a full 180-degree reversal on his position on offshore drilling in a mere 18-day period. Now he's topped that record by reversing a stated position within a single news cycle. Traveling in Colombia, he told reporters that he wouldn't criticize Obama while he was overseas, but on the plane a few hours earlier he had criticized Obama while speaking to these same reporters for, what else, changing his position on trade:
But on the inaugural flight of the Straight Talk Express --- airborne edition -– McCain felt freer to let loose.
On the plane, he blasted Obama’s opposition to the proposed Colombia free trade deal.
"He’s a protectionist and anti-free trade," McCain said. "Now he has switched, I mean remarkably, from saying that he would unilaterally renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement in the strongest possible terms in Ohio – he went to North Carolina and said well, I’m for free trade.
"It wouldn’t surprise me to see him switch on this one," McCain said.
For his next trick, McCain will reverse himself before he even speaks.
Guest Blogged by Stephen Heller of VelvetRevolution.us
House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, (D-MD), one of the new FISA bill's strongest champions, spoke about the bill's new "exclusivity provision" on the floor of the House on March 14, 2008. He proclaimed that "It clarifies that FISA is the exclusive means of conducting surveillance in the United States for foreign intelligence purposes."
On June 20, Hoyer optimistically echoed his previous comment: "This legislation makes clear that FISA is the exclusive means by which the government may conduct surveillance."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA), in an email sent to some constituents, including myself, wrote that the new FISA bill: "Includes provisions I authored that make clear that FISA is the exclusive (or only) authority for conducting surveillance inside the United States...FISA would be the only legal authority for conducting surveillance on Americans for intelligence purposes..."
But the old FISA bill, which was the law when Bush began to spy on us without warrants, also had an "exclusivity" provision that stated:
Since the "President" ignored the old FISA law, despite its existing exclusivity provision, what makes Hoyer or Feinstein or any of the other Dems think he'll bother to obey the new version of the law?
The existing law didn't keep Bush from breaking it last time, so it's beyond me what makes law makers think he won't do the same this time around. I decided to contact three different Democratic officials, all in favor of the new law, to try and find out why they believe they won't be fooled again...
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
This is not a joke. Two Republican U.S. senators who disgraced themselves with extramarital affairs have signed on as sponsors of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would prohibit same sex marriage anywhere in the United States.
The senators are David Vitter of Louisiana, who admitted he consorted with prostitutes over a long period of time, and Larry Craig of Idaho, who pleaded guilty to a charge of soliciting sex in a men's room.
The amendment states, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."
Both Vitter and Craig were 2007 nominees to Pensito Review's GOP Adulterers Hall of Fame.
McCain soon came on the line and launched into his spiel. "Thank you for all the good you do," he began.
Blogged by Brad from somewhere near Portland...
Here's a chuckler. From Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic...
The strategists and consultants all would speak only on the condition that their names and affiliations not be used because they were not permitted to divulge the information, they did not want to disclose internal deliberations, and because the issue is still being discussed within the party.
Sources with direct knowledge of the coordinated Republican effort this year say that high-ranking Republicans, including some within McCain's campaign, are convinced that GOP efforts in 2004 were damaging.
"Spreading 10,000 lawyers around the country and announcing a challenge to 40,000 new registrants in Ohio was counterproductive," a Republican familiar with the situation said.
And if you believe the GOP has any intention of scaling back any such thing in 2008, we've got a swell bridge, beautifully located near Manhattan, to sell ya.
But just to drive home the point that we're equal opportunity disbelievers, there's this old standby from the Obama camp, later in the article...
We're fairly certain the following video, shown at the recent TX GOP convention (where they were selling racist Obama buttons, incidentally), isn't meant as a joke. It just plays that way, for those of us who happen to live on Planet Earth...
Between this and some of McCain's ads, and the lack of actual issues for Republicans to run on this year, perhaps the plan this year is to out macho the Democrats. It's all they've got, perhaps. Even if it comes across kinda gay. But maybe that's just us...
(Hat-tip Mark Crispin Miller)
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
In its May 29 edition, the New York Times contributed another meme to the myth of John McCain. The Times' front-page profile led with this:
But Mr. McCain, the son and grandson of revered Navy admirals, was having second thoughts about following his family’s vocation. He had spent the previous four years as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate, sampling life in the world’s most exclusive club ...
He had found a sense of purpose in an apprenticeship to some of the Senate’s fiercest cold warriors. And in Senator John G. Tower, a hawkish Texas Republican, he had found a new mentor, beginning a relationship that many compared to the bond between a father and son.
With Mr. Tower’s encouragement, Mr. McCain declined the prospect of his first admiral’s star to make a run for Congress, saying that he could “do more good there,” Mr. Lehman recalled. But Mr. Lehman knew duty was only part of the reason.
“He just loved it up there,” Mr. Lehman recalled. “Like very few military people, John heard the music up there, and he really wanted to do it.”
Got that? McCain gave up the opportunity to become the first third-generation admiral in order to become a lowly congressman. Sounds plausible but, writing in Huffington Post, Jeffrey Klein calls this story "highly improbable." Reasons for doubt include the fact that in his memoir, Worth Fighting For, McCain did not mention that he had nobly turned down a promotion to admiral, with all its dynastic implications, to pursue a career in public service. In fact, McCain's own assessment was he was very likely unqualified to be an admiral. Klein also cites the fact that, over the years, none of McCain's close friends has ever mentioned his turning down the promotion --- and the fact that a promotion for McCain at that juncture would have gone against the Navy's strict pecking order, leapfrogging him to the top of the ranks past others who had waited their turns. And, Klein says, John Lehman a) had only been on duty as secretary of the Navy for two months at that point and b), as secretary, he was not in charge of who got promoted to admiral.
Finally, Klein notes that the Times article failed to point out that Lehman is now a McCain adviser.
Myths about John McCain die hard, and you can bet that this shiny new bullet-point is now a fact in his resume, even if it is not true.
And yet there has been considerable chipping away at the McCain mythologies lately, much of which has been coming from an unexpected source: the candidate himself. In fact, John McCain has done more to expose the reality behind the fabulations that he is a straight-talking maverick than his political enemies ever could.
The prime instance of this is the fantasy that he is a straight talker. In this month alone, McCain has contradicted himself in public statements no less than 10 times. The list of McCain's flipflops as of June 16, which was compiled by by Jon Perr, writing at Crooks and Liars, ranges from the media's treatment of Hillary Clinton to privatization of Social Security, to the estate tax, domestic spying, restoring the Everglades, opposing investigations into Hurricane Katrina and more.
And then there is the myth that McCain is a maverick --- you know, the sort of maverick who voted with his Dear Leader 95 percent of the time last year.
Underpinning the McCain mythos is his service in the military. But in his Huffington Post article, Jeffrey Klein found that a close examination of McCain's time in the service reveals faint echoes of George W. Bush's approach. Like Bush, McCain was admittedly more focused on partying than on duty, God and country, and, like Bush, he used highly placed connections to receive plum assignments that should have gone to more qualified men. Klein writes:
During a segment on his radio show this morning, Bill O'Reilly reported from the alternate universe he lives in that the non-conservative radio network, Air America Radio, had "folded." (The audio clip is at the end of this article.)
The news, undoubtedly, came as a bit of a surprise to Thom Hartmann, whose successful live weekday radio program is syndicated by Air America Radio and runs in the same time slot as O'Reilly in many markets.
Contrary to O'Reilly's misinformation, The Thom Hartman Program likely even outpaces the Fox entertainer in listenership, as he told us this afternoon.
In response to our query, Hartmann told The BRAD BLOG that, while he didn't currently have access to O'Reilly's ratings for comparison, in a number of markets his show regularly beats Rush Limbaugh, who also broadcasts during the same hours. Limbaugh, in turn, regularly beats O'Reilly in listener numbers, Hartmann explained via email.
"I beat Limbaugh in Portland in the last [ratings] book," wrote Hartmann, who broadcasts out of Portland's KPOJ, "and in Seattle in the Fall '06 book...Limbaugh almost always beats O'Reilly, and I've beaten Limbaugh in multiple markets (2) over multiple years (3)."
Yesterday, as we reported, O'Reilly featured a segment on his Fox "News" television show declaring that Progressive activists calling for reform of the corporate stranglehold on mainstream media and the public airwaves were "fascists," "loons," "unstable people" and a "threat to the country." One of his guests, rightwing Republicanist Mary Katherine Hamm, charged that proponents of media reform, and those who oppose her and O'Reilly's minority fringe viewpoints, are "a group of people living in an alternative universe."
This morning, while arguing on The Radio Factor that it's a "bad strategy" for the GOP to attack Barack Obama's wife Michelle because it would "turn off independent voters" as needed by John McCain to win the Presidency, O'Reilly responded to a caller who disagreed with him by pointing to Air America as "the best example I can give you." He then proceeded to use wholly inaccurate information, describing Air America in the past tense, as if it no longer existed, in his "best example"...
I should say first off I don't have a dog in the hunt. I support neither Obama nor Clinton in this nomination race and couldn't tell you now whether I'd vote for either of them next November. I've stated long ago that both of those candidates have plenty of supporters, so I'll be supporting the voters this year, since they don't have nearly enough support.
With that said, this morning's meeting in the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee (RBC) has been an interesting one to watch. All sides in the unfortunate matters of fighting over how to seat (or not) the delegations from Florida and Michigan at this year's national convention have argued smartly for their various cases.
But where the DNC's RBC is concerned --- no matter which candidate the various members of the committee may already be on record as supporting in general --- there should be only one consideration in their ultimate decision: what will be best for the party itself and whichever candidate ends up being their nominee.
Everyone at today's meeting spoke in general consensus that party unity is key. If that's truly their belief, then every side in the dispute needs to place unification first as the top priority for any final rulings on whether and how to seat the MI and FL delegations at the Democratic Convention.
To that end, the version for those with short attention spans: The party must agree to the Florida compromise which nets a 19 delegate advantage for Clinton while giving delegates at the convention a 50% vote. They must also agree to the Michigan state party's compromise of awarding the Michigan delegates 69/59 in Clinton's favor with a 50% vote at the convention.
And while it's not necessarily germane to the decisions being made by the DNC RBC today, Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida should be made Barack Obama's Vice Presidential nominee.
For the longer explanation of the above, please read on...
As God is my witness, there will be blood...okay, hopefully not blood...but massive Election Disasters this November. Disasters which might have, should have, could have, otherwise been averted had Election Officials bothered to actually read this blog every couple of days over the last four years, and done a damned thing about it other than make excuses for their horrible decisions and continuing state of denial.
Keep in mind, we are going to save the most troubling aspect of this report for the very end, so those of you who can take no more of this garbage, will be able to bail out before hand.
If you can take it, prepare to be amazed by the end, as we wend through the massive failures in Arkansas last Tuesday, through mind-blowing new (disastrous) federal "Electronic Voting Reform" legislation just announced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) with Sen. Bill Bennett (R-UT), before landing in West Virginia, where a candidate on last week's ballot assures us everything is just fine because the guy spotted by voters opening up the voting machines and going inside of them to make adjustments at the polls during Election Day was him.
It's as bad as it sounds. Read on, if you feel strong enough, otherwise, abandon hope all ye who enter here...
Now that they've made it as difficult as possible for those pesky 90-year-old nuns to cast votes, it's time to make sure that vets injured and disabled in Iraq and Afghanistan have as difficult a time voting as possible.
The Republican War on Voting, as directed by Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush out of the White House, continues to continue.
The new front: Disallowing registration drives, by non-partisan organizations at Veterans Administration facilities. That, despite an order issued in late April by the Department of Veterans Affairs that they would allow such activity, in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
Apparently someone high up (we don't yet know who) found out about that, and ordered an about-face on the previous directive, leading the Veterans Health Administration's Under Secretary for Health, Michael J. Kussman, to announce this week that "Voter registration drives are not permitted" at their facilities, "due to Hatch Act requirements and to avoid disruptions to facility operations."
"The Department of Veterans Affairs has retreated on a recently announced policy to allow voter registration drives at its facilities where veterans' groups and others would assist wounded former soldiers to participate in the 2008 presidential election," writes Steven Rosenfeld over at AlterNet, where he points out that "the Hatch Act restricts political activities by federal employees."
Non-partisan voter registration drives by groups such as the League of Woman Voters, however, can hardly be considered "political activities by federal employees."
Senators such as Feinstein and Kerry, and disabled veterans groups, as you may imagine, are none too happy...
Alan Breslauer says, "This may be the funniest thing ever!" So we'll refer our many friends who are likely to be furious with us for even running it, over to him. I grant it's wholly inappropriate and unfair. But still...it is pretty funny...
UPDATE: For those who've asked, or wondered, the back story on the above video/satire is here. Hat-tip Agent 99!
Polls have been closed in Lake County for some 6 hours, but no results in Indiana's corner county, closely bordering Obama's homestate stronghold of Chicago and home to Gary. Tiny Union County has also failed to come up with any numbers just yet.
As of now, Indiana remains "too close to call" according to all the cable nets, with 92% of precincts (not necessarily votes, since Lake County is the second-most populous in the state) reporting. There are currently just under 20k votes reportedly between Clinton, who is currently leading, and Obama, out of more than 1.1 million "counted" so far.
Union County, on the other hand, you needn't worry about, since our old friend Diebold runs the place with a combination of their hackable paper-ballot systems, and their unverifiable and hackable DRE (touch-screen) systems. But Union also has a tiny population of just more than 7k, whereas Lake has a population of just less than half a million.
Unfortunately, I don't know that I'll be able to follow this one through the night, so if I can't (or even if I can), I welcome you folks to tell the story in comments below as you are best able to figure out what seems to be going on there. Tonight, I'm guessing you can tell the story as well as (or better than) I can...
UPDATE 12:47pm ET: Results now coming in. The state could be a squeaker by a few thousand votes or less.
Let's see, with Indiana's own estimates of 43,000 voters who could be disenfranchised by their new Photo ID/voter suppression law, and less-conservative estimates suggesting several hundred thousand voters who could be robbed of their right to vote...Gosh, hope the final results in the Hoosier State don't come down to the question of a dozen or so 80 & 90 year-old disenfranchised nuns from South Bend...
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