The Nation's John Nichols on new revelations of Scott Walker lying about a criminal investigation and on the Black Lives Matter movement and Sanders a better candidate; Plus: Big news for Bernie & more!
Catching up on a lot that fell through the cracks during last week's busy news week. From Jon Stewart to new toxic spill in SW to sentencing verdict for Aurora shooter to GOP debate answers media aren't discussing & more...
Remember yesterday when we told you about the transcript of the Fox & Friends show yesterday morning, discussing the bogus raid of an ACORN office in Las Vegas, and then implying "more" ACORN "voter fraud" occurring in Missouri? The RNC actually issued that transcript verbatim as an official RNC press release. Remember when we told you that, given the hints within the RNC/FNC report that swing state MO was likely next on the RNC/FNC/FBI hit-list?
Well, late last night, AP delivered right on schedule, open their story with "Officials in Missouri...are sifting through possibly hundreds of questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy group that has been accused of election fraud in other states."
The report quotes GOP tool & Jackson County (Kansas City), MO election director, Charlene Davis complaining they are "bogged down" with registrations right now, and insinuating that it's ACORN causing the problem for them.
Of course, as with the pageant staged in Las Vegas, the Missouri action is also a scam. Read a little closer into the AP article, and you'll see the tell-tale signs of this October "Surprise" joke rather clearly...
The RNC isn't even trying to pretend like they are independent from their media arm, Fox "News", anymore, apparently.
Here's today's RNC press release. It's, quite literally, a transcript of this morning's Fox & Friends, wherein the FNC/RNC clowns "report" on yesterday's PR stunt/raid on a Las Vegas ACORN office and then, for good measure, prime the pump for yet another similar raid in Missouri (another swing state, go figure.) Needless to say, it's utter stuff and nonsense, with zero evidence of "criminality" by ACORN --- as explained in our coverage yesterday, all civic organizations are required by law to turn over ANY signed voter registration applications even when they are known to have problems -- and includes plenty of unsubstantiated hearsay and garbage, as if it were actually fact. So, naturally, it's been released as a press release by the RNC, as is.
Unless they find that yesterday's PR stunt in NV has blown up on them (and it might, as folks, even some in the corporate media, are beginning to understand what a desperate scam this GOP "voter fraud" hoax really is) we'll expect a similar stunt or two, akin to the one in Vegas, soon in MO, OH, and anywhere the GOP feels they need a phony reason to challenge elections, intimidate voters, and otherwise cause havoc at the polls before, during and even after Election Day.
Earlier today, I was reminded that similar nonsense occurred just days prior to the 2004 Presidential Election, when the wingnuts falsely reported that ACORN had registered a terrorist to vote in Ohio. And, of course, the DoJ famously violated it's own written rules when it brought similar "voter fraud" charges against ACORN workers just days before the '06 election.
Why do these people hate democracy? Oh, yeah, because if legal voters are actually allowed to vote, and to have their vote counted accurately, the Republicans will lose. At least this year. So, let's hear it one more time for modern-day Republican Deity Paul Weyrich who sent out this year's marching orders some 28 years ago (the video is 40 seconds, but it should tell you just about all you need to know)...
It shouldn't be necessary --- at least if we had a corporate media which did their Constitutionally-protected jobs --- but since ACORN doesn't have the budget of FNC/RNC, here's an ACORN press statement, issued late this afternoon, concerning the bogus Vegas raid/PR stunt yesterday...
To nobody's suprise, Democracy Now! announces that charges against journalist Amy Goodman and two other staff journalists arrested while doing their job covering protests at the Republican National Convention are being dropped by the City of St. Paul. Journalists intimidated. Mission accomplished...
The St. Paul City Attorney’s office announced Friday it will not prosecute Democracy Now! journalists Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman also issued a statement Friday that “the city will decline to prosecute misdemeanor charges for presence at an unlawful assembly for journalists arrested during the Republican National Convention.”
Both announcements come two weeks after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention where over 40 journalists were arrested while reporting on protests taking place outside the convention center.
Upon learning of the news, Democracy Now! Host, Amy Goodman said, “It’s good that these false charges have finally been dropped, but we never should have been arrested to begin with. These violent and unlawful arrests disrupted our work and had a chilling effect on the reporting of dissent. Freedom of the press is also about the public’s right to know what is happening on their streets. There needs to be a full investigation of law enforcement activities during the convention.”
John Lundquist, attorney for the Democracy Now! journalists, said, “The most notable lapse by law enforcement during the RNC was the record-breaking number of journalists indiscriminately arrested and detained for doing nothing more than performing in the best tradition of reporters who gather the news.”
Chris Bowers has more thoughts on the arrests of journalists, and the dropped charges, and what he alleges amounted to 'a deal' of sorts between the RNC and the St. Paul cops.
Videos of DN! reporter Nicole Salazar being assaulted by the police (:23 seconds) and Goodman's outrageous arrest while peacefully trying to learn what had happened to her reporters (:49 seconds), both follow below...
I've been quite critical of the Obama/DNC plan (or lack thereof) for "election protection" this year, noting that it looks, smells and sounds a lot like a slightly beefed-up version of the Kerry/DNC "we'll have thousands of lawyers in place on Election Day should anything go wrong."
On Election Day, of course, if DNC lawyers are still trying to keep up with what's going on, it's already game over. While for years Osama Bin Laden and Muslim extremists had supposedly declared war on the U.S., as the legend goes, America paid little attention until it was too late. So it is with the raging Republican War on Democracy, where proactive steps are necessary (beginning long ago, but we'll take what we can get at this point) to join the war and push back against the GOP's assault on the most democratic of all values, the right to freely cast one's vote, to have that vote counted, and to have it counted accurately.
Back in 2006, after speaking to a group of DNC election attorneys in Chicago, I wrote about the "Dysfunction at the DNC" and the persistent cluelessness they had displayed at the time concerning a number of very real threats to our electoral system. While Obama has certainly displayed a tendency to understand at least some of the issues at stake --- far more so than his '04 counterpart --- the party, from every sign I'm able to get, remains out of touch with the serious threats they face: from the massive front-end disenfranchisement efforts, about which they are at least somewhat aware, to the back-end disenfranchisement efforts via manipulation and/or often-undiscoverable "tabulation error" of completely un-transparent electronic voting systems used in virtually every county, in every state in the union.
So we may be grasping for any optimistic straw we can find here, but at least today we have one such sign of proactivity from the Obama/DNC that we can tell you about...
"Strategists say that Mr. McCain can now count on a more motivated social conservative base to help him in areas like southern Ohio, where the 2004 race was settled."
--The New York Times, Sept. 7, 2008, A1
"In investigating the 2004 election in Ohio--examining pollbooks, talking to pollworkers and election officials, as well as reading local newspaper accounts --we could find no data of a late surge to the polls by born-again Christians. What we did find is certified voting totals in areas favoring Bush that didn't match the number of voters who officially signed-in on the poll sign-in sheets."
--Email from Bob Fitrakis of The Columbus Free Press, Sept. 7, 2008
To understand how Team McCain intends to get away with stealing this election, we must recall how Team Bush got away with it four years ago. (Those aren't two different teams.)
The plan for stealing this contest has everything to do with the ostensibly surprising choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP.
Last night, we noted the bizarre choice of backdrop that led to the first five minutes, or so, of McCain's acceptance speech being given in front of a classic green screen. For those who watched the speech, they likely realize that the green in close-up was the lawn from a larger backdrop of what appeared to be a mansion.
Our thought: One of McCain's?! Odd choice, that.
Turns out, no, it wasn't one of his houses, it was an even dumber selection from the geniuses what run the GOP, who want you to entrust them to run the country...
John Aravosis explains what that backdrop actually was...
You're gonna love this. ... In fact, the picture was of Walter Reed. No, not Walter Reed Army Medical Center where injured troops are treated - though that was clearly McCain's intent, to use our injured troops as a political prop (just as last night they dared show footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, and the towers falling) - no, in fact, McCain posted a photo of Walter Reed Middle School, a school for kids in California that has nothing to do with Walter Reed the military hospital. They actually thought the school was the Army hospital. Apparently McCain just discovered the Google.
With these chuckleheads in charge, little wonder the "war on terror" is going so well. For our money, the hit of the night last night was the courageous American from Iraq Veterans Against the War who managed to get the real message out to the whole wide world, over the pool camera feed during McCain's speech...
(NOTE: We'll be hosting The Randi Rhodes Show on Monday. We've learned it was Adam Kokesh who managed this very successful demonstration and smart use of his First Amendment freedoms last night, and we're going to try to get him on the air with us!)
The nearly-exhaustive linked list of things we know (so far) about the Alaskan Governor and John McCain's selection of her as his Veep, begins by asking what the choice says about McCain's decision making process. Near the top of the list comes the following admissions from the Arizona Senators' own autobiography, explaining what the blogger describes as McCain's "COLOSSALLY bad judgement" in selecting Palin:
"I make them (decisions) quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can," Mr. McCain wrote, with his top adviser Mark Salter, in his 2002 book, "Worth the Fighting For." "Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint.
Journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was arrested today, along with two producers of her radio/television show, while covering protests at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
Producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar "were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention," according to a press release issued this afternoon by the independent, progressive daily news program, broadcast on many Pacifica Radio outlets as well as satellite television.
"Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press," says the release, which adds that "Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul."
Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).
Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amenmdent rights of these journalists.
Tropical storm Gustav is threatening to interrupt or even postpone the Republican national convention next week, when it is expected to sweep into the Gulf of Mexico as a stark reminder of one of the lowest points of the Bush administration.
The administration was accused by both Republicans and Democrats of acting too slowly and inefficiently to protect New Orleans against 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people amid high winds and rain that flooded the city.
FOXNews.com reports: "Mindful of the pitfalls of hosting cocktail parties while Gulf Coast residents are being evacuated, John McCain’s campaign suggested Thursday that Republicans could postpone their upcoming national convention in St. Paul if Tropical Storm Gustav makes landfall over the weekend."
“McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said delaying the start time is a possibility.
"Senator McCain has always been sensitive to national crises — in the 2000 race, he postponed his announcement because of the situation in the Balkans, and we are monitoring the situation very closely,” Bounds said."
Ah, but he partied down with his pal the prez in 2005 as Katrina was drowning a thousand Americans and their pets in their homes.
'Whether He's Pulling the Gun or Not...He's the Guy Who Made the Gun,' Allege Buckeye Lawyers About Man Said to Have Been Behind Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, RNC Emails, Congressional Computer Networks, & More...
Last week Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck held a press conference in Columbus to announce his motion to lift the stay on the long-running King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell lawsuit in which massive improprieties, irregularities, and violations of the Voting Rights Act are alleged to have taken place in the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.
In the wake of the failure by the Buckeye State's Attorney General to properly investigate the allegations, and new evidence and testimony unearthed by Arnebeck and other private investigators, he is now asking that the stay on the lawsuit be lifted by the court in order to refocus the case and depose Karl Rove, and a number of other top GOP operatives believed to be involved in manipulating the results of the '04 election.
One of those operatives is Republican tech-guru Mike Connell.
Steve Heller covered last week's press conference for us, which featured comments from data security expert Stephen Spoonamore alleging fraud in the '04 election and Arnebeck's assertion that he believes "Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio."
After last week's presser, Velvet Revolution's Brett Kimberlin sat down to follow up with Arnebeck and attorney/investigative journalist Bob Fitrakis, who participated in both the original '04 election lawsuits and has reported in detail on the related matters continuously since then at the Columbus Free Press.
In the video-taped interview, posted at right (appx. 10 mins), the two attorneys focus specifically on their concerns about GOP operative/IT specialist Connell, who, they allege, has been found to have been "at the scene of the crime" for numerous questionable elections since 2000. Connell's firm was also responsible for creating the RNC email systems used by Karl Rove and others. He is also said to have installed the existing Congressional computer networks for high-security House and Senate committees such as Judiciary and Intelligence.
The complete text transcript of the interview follows below...
Transcript of the 7/17/2008 VelvetRevolution.us Interview
with Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis
VELVET REVOLUTION: Cliff and Bob you just had a press conference, talking about the next steps you are going to take in litigation. It looks like you're looking for discovery to understand the facts behind what happened in 2004 and make sure this doesn't happen in 2008. Can you give us an idea of the kinds of people or the names of people that you intend to target?
CLIFF ARNEBECK: At the very top of the list is probably Mike Connell. For the same reason that Spoonamore is so valuable to us as a witness, Connell has a breadth of perspective in this stuff and when Connell, with his politics and his position, identifies Triad and the Rapp family as an area, as a point of vulnerability - Well, we're saying, if Connell makes the same observation --which we think he will because if you look at this objectively, it makes no sense. Here's a guy, he's a mathematician or an engineer or whatever; we anticipate he is going to say "Yeah, that looks odd."
So Connell's an important witness and because we're talking about a conspiracy, one of the problems is you say 'where's the coordination, where's the communication?' --- Here's one individual who's been part of all the elements of the things that we think are problematic.
BOB FITRAKIS: He's a high IQ Forrest Gump. It's like everything important --- 2000 election Florida; 2004 Ohio; firewall in Congress --- he happens to show up and be the builder of these [im]penetrable forces and also may know who has the key to get in.
VR: So he's at the scene of the crime... whether he's pulling the gun or not.
FITRAKIS: Every single crime --- Well even more than that. He's the guy who made the gun.
John McCain's election strategists plan to tone down the Republicans' traditionally aggressive and public campaign against potential voter fraud, several Republicans familiar with the situation say.
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...
Though the candidates may change (sort of), the playbook remains the same.
That playbook --- the public face of the Republican National Party, in any case, as you can expect to see it from here through November --- is posted below, courtesy of BobR, who sends the following along with it.
My brother is a registered independent in a suburb of Atlanta, GA. Yesterday, he received a letter and questionnaire from the Republican party. The letter contained his (independent) registration number, and addressed him as Fellow Republican.
The questionnaire was a push poll of the nastiest variety. Sample questions:
Should Republicans do everything they can to prevent liberal Democrats from repealing the USA Patriot Act and other important laws that help our intelligence agencies protect America?
Should we do everything we can to stop Democrats from weakening border security?
Should Republicans fight for a balanced budget? (why start now?, LOL)
The push-poll and the letter that came with it, follow in full below. Of course, the letter pleads with the reader to send back "your GOP CENSUS...to ensure we get ample and accurate results."
Unless they get "accurate results," the letter warns, Republican Congressional leaders "will not know how you and other Republicans at the grassroots level of our Party feel about the critical issues facing our nation" and "our Republican nominee for President of the United States (ed note: Hmmm...he's not named for some reason, I wonder who it is?) will need your input before he does battle with the Democrat machine."
Unless this form is filled out and sent in, the "RNC will be unable to develop a conservative legislative agenda!"
As we head into the holidays (just past O'Reilly's "nine days of Hanukkah"), the wheels continue to come off, if still maddeningly slower than they should, in one case of White House/RNC corruption and/or fraud after another. We used to be able to keep up with the bulk of it. But no more. We throw in the towel, as developments and new cases are now coming faster than Executive Branch officials can declare a suddenly-discovered need to 'spend more time with their families'.
In matters of Election Fraud, a particular specialty of The BRAD BLOG, the under-reported pickings, from which we previously had to choose, were mighty, but slim enough that we could at least touch (if not a great deal more) on most of them.
But no more. And thankfully, of course. Even if it's a bit frustrating not to be able to bring you every step, in every case, as they are now coming fast and furious across the nation.
Several such cases, of what clearly are of enormous import, of late, have received some good coverage elsewhere --- for a welcome change. So we take some solace in that, at least, even if we don't have the resources to keep up with all of them, much less advance them a few steps ourselves, as we always prefer.
But we should at least touch on a couple of them, a bit, for the historical record, here at America's Election Fraud Authority, The BRAD BLOG. Please read on for some pointers to two emerging and mind-blowing stories of apparently rigged elections, that you may, or may not, have read about yet.
Endlessly mundane and always uninformative, the moribund struggle for party nominations in what we so disrespectfully still call the "presidential campaign" inhabit a realm of such vacuous inanity one can palpably sense malignant tumors of ennui forming within.
While would-be Republican candidates spar for the GOP nomination by appealing to brain stem functions (that is, when they're not extolling us with tales of their heavenly devotion), Democrats carry themselves at only a marginally elevated level. This is not to say that there are not candidates --- on both sides --- who would like to raise the bar and address actual issues and policy, but those are shunned by our craven and cack-handed media mavens, who never seem to tire of their perceived role as king-maker in what has become --- for the world's "greatest democracy" --- an embarrassing spectacle of the most base and primitive dimensions. I suspect if media moguls could get Romney and Huckabee to square off in a cage fight, well, that would be next on the tour of the candidates. Who needs all this talk? Though the American public demand campaigns of substance, there appears too little of that on the political horizon, while furry idiots like Wolf Blitzer express puzzlement at the term "triangulating" as it pertains to Hillary Clinton.
What we constantly hear from the corporate media, though it is never stated quite so bluntly, is that those with the money become the kings. The American political campaign system is now a big-money bonanza for media corporations. These corporations prop up candidates with the most money knowing full well that that money will come straight back to them in the form of campaign advertising. The media are now simply advertisers for the biggest political spenders, which is perhaps the reason why the campaign cycle is now virtually continuous. It is a positive feedback loop, reinforcing in the minds of the public that the only viable candidates are the ones with the money, the polls reflect this, more money pours in for those "viable candidates," which in turn cycles right back to the media money machine.
Which is why I am constantly amazed that the so-called "progressive" blogs have chosen to endorse corporate-backed candidates like Hillary Clinton.
Though Dennis Kucinich espouses ideals resonant with most liberal voters, he is as marginalized by progressives as much as the mainstream media as "unelectable," though no one ever seems to understand or explain exactly what that means. Is it his ears?
By all appearances, blogs such as dKos, MyDD, etc, have now simply become another arm of the Democratic party and their backing of the major, big-money candidates simply because they are deemed "electable" entirely betrays the original purpose of their fora.