Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
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...
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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.
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...
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:
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog makes some cogent, spot-on, and often rather amusing points. The condensed set-up...
Here are the first of his 9 suggested questions...
2. Does John McCain require his mistresses to wear a flag pin?
Read 'em all. Good stuff. It's going to be another very ugly season. As ever, proudly sponsored by your contemptibly wretched and horribly failed Corporate American Mainstream Media.
He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.
Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."
The mistake threatened to undermine McCain's argument that his decades of foreign policy experience make him the natural choice to lead a country at war with terrorists. In recent days, McCain has repeatedly said his intimate knowledge of foreign policy make him the best equipped to answer a phone ringing in the White House late at night.
But then again, it's not actually about experience or knowledge, as you know, it's about the image of having any...
And so it goes...
UPDATE: Think Progress has more, including audio of McCain making the same misstatement on right-wing Hugh Hewitt's radio show earlier. So it wasn't an accidental "gaffe". It was a fundamental misunderstanding --- by the man regarded by the mainstream corporate media as having the most foreign policy expertise among all of the major American Presidential candidates --- of a key issue at the very heart of one ongoing war in Iraq, and at the very heart of a possible second one in Iran.
(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG comic sherpa, Pokey Anderson)
In response to critical comments by former Republican Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, rightwing talker and self-proclaimed "Dean of the Limbaugh Institute for Conservative Studies," Rush Limbaugh, offered a fresh and perhaps telling explanation this morning for his ongoing attacks on presumptive Republican Presidential nominee John McCain.
"We're trying to avoid a fifty state landslide!" Limbaugh shouted angrily in reply to the comments from Eagleburger, who had slammed him and fellow Republicanist entertainer Sean Hannity of Fox "News" and ABC Radio.
"I don't know who elected Rush Limbaugh or Hannity as the heads of this conservative movement," Eagleburger says at the beginning of a clip from MSNBC last night that was aired on today's radio show. "They throw that word around as if it was theirs and theirs alone."
"I thought I was a conservative, but that doesn't mean that I have to buy off on everything these poobahs thinks is what's necessary to be a conservative," continued the former Sec. of State, before defending what he sees as McCain's conservative national security credentials.
Eagleburger's slam would lead to a telling outburst in reply from Limbaugh (full audio posted at the end of this article)...
The strange situation with Washington state's Republican Caucus over the weekend keeps deteriorating by the hour, the more we learn about it. It all underscores, of course, why full transparency is useful when it comes to elections.
And yes, the process overseen by the state's GOP chair Luke Esser "the Suppressor" --- where Huckabee led McCain for the bulk of the day as returns were coming in, only to stop the counting at 87% once McCain took a 242 vote lead --- was anything but transparent.
Seattle's NBC affiliate KING 5 is now questioning the reported vote totals out of Snohomish County:
Throughout the vote reporting process, State Party Chairman Luke Esser has said the party is reporting the presidential preferences of the delegates who were elected at the caucuses. But today we learned that Snohomish County, the third-largest county in the state, reported the preferences of all caucus attendees instead of the elected delegates.
One Snohomish County caucus chairman told KING 5 that the delegate preferences are "dramatically different" than the attendee counts.
The Snohomish County Republican Party does not have the delegate preferences from many of its caucuses and is working to obtain them.
This is all made possible, as the WA state bloggers at HorsesAss (who have been doing some terrific work on all of this) helpfully report, due to the bizarre way in which WA Republicans determine delegate proportionment from the caucus voters.
Unlike the state's Democratic Caucuses, where delegates are essentially selected by a mathematical formula to mirror the way caucus goers voted, on the GOP side, participants at each precinct may determine how to proportion delegates any way they wish. For example, even if, say, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul were to receive the most votes at a precinct, the organizers could still choose to give the most delegates to John McCain.
As the KING 5 report above points out, there is now a question of consistency with the numbers that state party chair Esser the Suppressor was reporting.
Adding still more worries for the Huckabee camp, or even the Paul camp who currently follow Huck with a close third place, David Goldstein at HorsesAss also points out that Esser has long served as a reliable hatchet man, for years, to WA State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who helped him get the job, and who just happens to be the state campaign chairman for, you guessed it, John McCain...
Wow. An amazing find by HorsesAss. Here's Washington state GOP Party chairman Luke Esser --- he who unilaterally stopped counted votes from Saturday's Republican Caucus at 87%, once McCain finally took the lead from Huckabee by just 250 votes --- from his earlier days as an aspiring vote-suppressor...
Now your average leftist loudmouth is a committed individual and can almost never be persuaded to ignore his constitutional rights. The deadbeats, however, are a different matter entirely. Years of interminable welfare checks and free government services have made these modern-day sloths even more lazy. They will vote on election day, if it isn’t much of a bother. But even the slightest inconvenience can keep them from the polling place.
Many of the most successful anti-deadbeat voter techniques (poll taxes, sound beatings, etc.) that conservatives have used in the past have been outlawed by busybody judges.
The only means of persuasion left available to us are Acts of God, who we know is exclusively on our side. I’m talking about seriously inclement weather. I want Biblical floods and pestilence. I will settle for rain, sweet rain. The deadbeats won’t even go out in the rain for their welfare checks (they send one of their social workers to pick it up). There’s no way they’ll vote if it’s raining.
That 'splains a bit, don't it?
Thus was the Republican party's now de rigeur "win"-at-all-costs atmosphere created by Esser over the weekend, leading Huckabee to say this morning on CNN: "That is not what we do in American elections... Maybe that's how they used to conduct it in the old Soviet Union, but you don't just throw people's votes out and say, 'well, we're not going to bother counting them because we kind of think we know where this was going.'"
Think again, Huck.
Be sure to factor all of the above in the next time you the hear the wingnuts tell you about "Democratic voter fraud" in the razor-thin Washington state Gubernatorial election eventually won by the Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire. They will tell you there was massive fraud in the race, though if you bother to look up what really happened, you'll learn the GOP never alleged fraud in their court case, which was thrown out and not even appealed, after no evidence of fraud was ever presented by them.
UPDATE 2/11/08 7:14pm PT: Seattle's NBC affiliate reports "inconsistencies" in votes as reported by Snohomish County. ALSO: Esser the Suppressor's ties to McCain's state campaign chairman. Details now here...
[Updated at bottom of article with an "explanation" from the WA state GOP chairman. This story gets more bizarre by the minute. Be sure to check the updates if you read this story earlier.]
"The Huckabee Presidential Campaign will be exploring all available legal options regarding the dubious final results for the state of Washington State Republican precinct caucuses," according to a statement posted today on their official campaign website.
It was 2:30am on the West Coast last night as we noticed CNN was reporting only 87% of precincts counted from Washington state's Republican Caucus yesterday. Just over 200 votes separated the leader John McCain from Mike Huckabee in a very close second, with Ron Paul coming in a very close third.
Throughout the day, according to Josh Marshall at TPM, Huckabee had been leading in the returns until very late, when McCain pulled just ahead of him by just a few votes.
"With 87% of the returns counted," writes Marshall, "the Washington state GOP, which runs the caucuses stopped releasing results. That left us and a lot of other news organizations in a bit of a quandary last night since it looked like McCain was going to pull it off. But as late as 1:30 AM on the east coast promised new results kept failing to materialize."
And then, in the middle of the night, the state GOP posted a press release declaring McCain the winner, even with some 13% of the votes still unreported, and just 242 votes --- out of 13,745 reported so far --- separating McCain from Huckabee who'd finished a "strong second" according to the GOP release.
"In other words," Huckabee campaign chair Ed Rollins says in their statement this morning, "more than one in eight Evergreen State Republicans have been disenfranchised by the actions of their own party."
"Now, I think it would be borderline for a media organization to declare one candidate a winner when the margin separating first and second was 1.8% with 13% of the results still uncounted," writes Marshall today. "But for the officials holding the election to declare the result on that basis is simply bizarre. But that's what they did."
Of course, none of that kept the always-responsible Reuters news service from declaring "McCain wins Washington state Republican contest" at 8:10am ET this morning.
This afternoon, the Huckabee camp is announcing they are prepared to go to court if necessary, as the candidate himself declared that "weird things" are going on in Washington while on NBC's Meet the Press.
At the same time, the results of the GOP Louisiana Primary, as announced by the state, are even closer than those so far released in Washington. Though because the election was held on wholly unverifiable electronic voting machines, everyone will simply have to settle for whatever numbers the faith-based systems reported to them, no matter how close the margin...
That was then, as The BRAD BLOG broke the story on 10/3/06. This is RIGHT NOW...
As usual, another Democratic candidate is revealing a sour grapes conspiracy theory, claiming that voting machines were the reason for his loss, after alleging that hundreds of ES&S touch-screen systems failed to work on Election Day, turning away an untold number of voters.
Oh, wait, the complainant was a Republican, not a Democrat. And he, John McCain, didn't lose, he won, in South Carolina where, CNN reported yesterday, the touch-screen voting machines in 100% of the precincts in Horry County failed to boot up and weren't available for voters to use until noon.
Go figure. Other than that, everything is going very well, and anybody who says otherwise is unnecessarily crying wolf and causing a dangerous lack of confidence in our electoral system.
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
Until last night, the criminal responsibility for the torturing of terror suspects by the U.S. government was entirely on the heads of George Bush, Dick Cheney, their senior aides and the civilian and uniformed military leadership who approved and implemented "advanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding.
Late in the evening yesterday, however, the U.S. Senate, including all Republicans who were present, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CN) and six senior Democrats, willingly assumed responsibly for Bush's torture policies by rubberstamping his nominee, Michael Mukasey, to be the next U.S. attorney general.
Mukasey --- a crony of Rudy Giuliani, the Republican presidential candidate who, during his tenure as New York City mayor, revealed fascistic tendencies that are alarmingly similar to those of George Bush and Dick Cheney --- indicated during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he will continue to greenlight Bush's torture policies.
Now the question is, will Mukasey also assist Bush, Cheney and the rest in trying to avoid war-crimes charges after they leave office.
The six senior Democratic senators who voted to confirm Mukasey and thus condone torture were:
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