Once again proving the well-worn axiom IOKIYAR ("It's okay if you're a Republican"), disgraced former U.S. Attorney, Karl Rove protege and the Republican Party's 2004 vote cager, Tim Griffin has not only been elected as a Representative to the U.S. House from Arkansas' 2nd district, he's also been assigned to a leadership position as deputy whip and has been given a seat on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, of all places. Guess they had to replace the previously disgraced anti-democracy champion Rep. Tom Feeney (FL-24) with someone, eh?
A few years ago, Tim Griffin was a key figure in of the biggest scandals in the Bush administration. Democrats said --- and the Justice Department Inspector General later concluded --- that the Bush White House and Justice Department pushed out U.S. Attorney H.E. "Bud" Cummins III to give Griffin, a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, a plum spot as interim U.S. attorney that would pad his resume.
Now Griffin, who was elected to Congress from Arkansas in November, has been named by House Republicans to be a member of the House Judiciary Committee --- the very same committee which took a close look at his own role in the scandal that ultimately lead to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
"Tim Griffin was a linchpin of one of the dirtiest, Washington-insider schemes that brought down the Bush-era Justice Department and now, ironically, House Republicans have appointed him to oversee the very department he helped undermine," Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement.
"Griffin loves to talk about his 6-month stint as a US Attorney but forgets to tell voters that he was forced to quit amid the national scandal about his hiring," Ferguson added. "It came to light that Tim Griffin was illegitimately appointed to the role of US Attorney as part of a massive controversy over unprecedented political influence over the Department of Justice. Arkansas families are right to question the character of Tim 'Dirty Tricks' Griffin and question his appointment to oversee our justice system knowing his rap sheet."
TPM has more on that aspect of Griffin's "rap sheet", but as The BRAD BLOG has detailed over the years, Griffin was also at the center of a dirty scheme to peel thousands of legitimate voters off the roles in Ohio in 2004, as revealed by his own "vote caging" emails sent to fellow George W. Bush/RNC campaign officials at the time...
Scary black man with weapon outside a polling place somewhere!!! It's a scandal!!! A "voter suppression" outrage!!! And Obama's scary black men are coming to get you next!!!
I don't care much about this silly story and, apparently, neither did any voters. Not a single one of them filed a complaint of "voter intimidation" during the 2008 "incident" captured on video for a minute or so outside a polling place in a largely minority area of Philadelphia and then played endlessly on Fox "News" ever since. Naturally, the footage is always accompanied by some sort of pretend "outrage" from the Fox host in each instance.
As the incident has even less relevance to the lives of Americans as the death of Natalie Holloway, we haven't covered it more than once or twice here, most recently last July when Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander took the bait in support of his paper's regard of the non-story as some sort of "political bombshell".
But, with the death-by-fake-scandal of ACORN, the Republicans need something on which to hang their fake, vaguely "voter fraud"-related, very much black people-related investigations in Congress as they take over the majority in the House. So, get used to it. We're all gonna be forced to hear about this silly story --- over and over again --- whether we like it or not, in the coming months (and, probably even years!) as the GOP hold hearings and "investigations" on this story, rather than on ones which actually matter.
So to that end, if you're not already familiar with the ridiculous "scandal" concerning the "intimidation" by two jackasses from the so-called "New Black Panther Party" at a polling place in 2008, Adam Serwer's summary at WaPo today (of all places) has you covered. He's even honest enough to take his paper on directly for the ink they continue to give to the non-story courtesy of their Rightwing columnist (one of many) Jennifer Rubin.
Gosh, I wonder if, when the GOP hold their hearings on "voter intimidation" at the polling place, they'll also be demanding that Eric Holder prosecute this guy as well. Somehow, I'm doubting it.
Via Eric Kleefeld at TPM this afternoon, candidates jockeying for chairmanship of the RNC, including current chair Michael Steele, held a debate today, and, naturally, spoke at some length to one of the most important imaginary threats facing our republic: Massive Democratic voter fraud!!! Coincidentally, almost always by black people and Hispanic people, who probably shouldn't be voting anyway, and stuff!!!
The goal of this years-long campaign against imagined "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" is, as long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG know too well, meant to encourage the adoption of photo ID restrictions at the polling place (and, short of that, intimidating challenges to voters when they show up to vote) under the purported guise of "ballot integrity".
Never mind that George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice was unable to find more than a handful of actual voter fraud culprits despite their unprecedented efforts to root out this menace. And, definitely never mind that studies cited [PDF] by the League of Women Voters, and many others, have warned that more than 20 million legal American voters --- most of them, coincidentally, minorities, elderly and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters) --- stand to be completely disenfranchised by such draconian restrictions since many of them do not have the type of government issued photo ID the Republicans believe can protect us from "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!"
It's not new, of course. The modern Republican War on Voting has been ongoing for years, begun as long ago (at least) as Rightwing icon Paul Weyrich's incredible 1980 speech to preachers in Dallas with Reagan and Falwell on hand (see :40 video clip at end of article below). But it's clear, despite the Republican/Fox "News"/Andy Breitbart "pimp" hoax that succeeding in killing the GOP's former #1 "voter fraud" bogey man, ACORN, the fake story of "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" will continue as a helpful voter suppression meme for the GOP for years to come --- at least if the new RNC chair, whoever that may be, has anything to say about it.
Here, in part, is what each RNC chair candidate had to say today in response to the question about how they planned to combat "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" as the new leader of the GOP...
A "turducken" is defined by Wikipedia as "a dish consisting of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed into a de-boned turkey." Sounds pretty close to what we've just witnessed in the closing hours of the 111th Congress.
Conventional wisdom, at least that flogged by the MSM over the last 24 hours or so, has it that somehow Democrats shocked the nation by finally stepping up their game and doing the extraordinary in the lame duck session by passing an unprecedented number of their hard-fought initiatives, many thought to have been otherwise dead (or waiting for reconsideration in the next, more heavily Republican-weighted Congress).
Not to be a contrarian here, or even a Christmas curmudgeon, but while the Democrats deserve credit for hanging in there on a number of important initiatives, rather than tossing up their hands and walking away in the face of unprecedented, historic obstructionism by the GOP, it's a fact that the major legislation finally passed can hardly be seen as any sort of "progressive," or even "liberal," victory. It all may well represent a Democratic victory, if a short-lived one, but that only demonstrates how successful Republicans have been in pushing Dems far to the right, and how willing Democrats are these days to celebrate the passage of center and center-right (and even hard-right) legislation, almost all of which was depressingly low-hanging holiday fruit to begin with...
I'm preparing to host tonight's Mike Malloy Show, so not much time to go into details or deep background. Suffice to say, once again, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show have shamed the bulk of the mainstream media by demonstrating, in just a matter of minutes, what journalism looks like. Or is supposed to. His entire show last night became devoted to one single issue.
It starts here, in the first segment, with Stewart taking his final shot of the year (on his final show of the year) at Senate Republicans who have shamefully "filibustered" to avoid voting on the "Zadroga Bill", an act to provide health care funding for 9/11 first responders, many of them suffering and dying from severe issues, including cancer and other serious respiratory disease, along with the failure of Fox "News" and the major broadcast networks (ABC/NBC/CBS) to even mention the story and the outrageous insult by those who have, for years, pretended to give a damn about 9/11 and those who gave their lives in responding to it...
Next, in perhaps the most important/journalistic segment, Stewart interviewed, in studio, four New York City first responders, some of them suffering from cancer following the toxic, hazardous conditions they worked in, with inadequate protection, on the day of, and in the months following 9/11, and allowed them to respond directly to the behavior of GOP Senators and Fox "News"...
We played a few clips from this during Thursday's Green News Report, but if you didn't hear it, or even if you did, the full remarks from Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) are worth watching and worth the awarding of The BRAD BLOG's very rarely bestowed "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award."
Inglis, was ousted by a "Tea Party" candidate during the GOP primary this year --- despite his 93% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union --- so he is now the outgoing Republican U.S. Congressman representing South Carolina's 4th Congressional District. He is, for the moment, the ranking minority member of the U.S. House Energy and Environment Subcommittee and will likely be replaced in the new Congress with either Texas' Rep. Joe Barton (who apologized to BP) or Illinois' Rep. John Shimkus (who believes global warming doesn't exist, because God doesn't mention it specifically in the bible --- seriously.) In short, Inglis is one of the last sane Republican elected officials in the U.S. Congress.
So here he is Wednesday morning, taking a remarkable parting shot at his fellow Republicans on the committee, all climate change denialists, along with the industry that fuels their cynical anti-science disinformation, the technological ground (and money) being lost to China in the bargain, all while celebrating, at least, that these hearings are "on the record...because I want our grandchildren to read what you said and what I said."
His fist-in-a-velvet-glove comments are not to be missed, such as these near the ends of his remarks:
Meanwhile we got people that make a living, and a lot of money, on talk radio and talk TV pronouncing all kinds of things. They slept at Holiday Inn Express last night, and they are now experts on climate. And those folks substitute their judgment for the people who have Ph.D.s and who are working tirelessly to discover the data.
So, we have some real choices ahead of us. But I hope in the future, as we have these hearings, that we realize it's all on the record. And our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are gonna get to see.
If you had any doubt of the shamelessness of Republicans, the following report should end any such questions. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow details how, in 2006, at the exact same moment Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was publicly sliming Democrats for their push for a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, he was privately and directly requesting to George W. Bush that he remove troops in hopes of retaining control of the U.S. Congress in the run-up to the midterm elections.
Got that? McConnell was cynically, and hypocritically, accusing Dems of putting this nation at a national security risk for what he described as their interest in "cutting and running," "retreat," and "waving a white flag" in Iraq, even as he was privately pleading with Bush to bring troops home for purely --- and entirely --- partisan political reasons.
All of that, as learned via a revelation from George W. Bush's new book, Decision Points. McConnell has failed to deny the allegation, and the Senator's hometown paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, decries the new revelation as "contemptible hypocrisy and obsessive partisanship that have come to mark the senator's time in office." From their editorial late this week:
Unless he is prepared to call a former president of his own party a liar, Mr. McConnell has a choice. He can admit that he did not actually believe the Iraq mission was vital to American security, regardless of what he said at the time. Or he can explain why the fortunes of the Republican Party are of greater importance than the safety of the United States.
As Maddow explains, the paper is calling for an explanation --- as should all Americans...
I'm prepping for tonight's Mike Malloy Show which I will be, once again, guest hosting this evening (9-Mid ET / 6-9p PT, with listen links and live chat right here at BradBlog.com later), but took a short break to chat with Shannyn Moore on Alaska's KUDO about the state of the state's elections right now as the Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski campaign's duke it out in regard to counting (or not counting) write-in ballots from the U.S. Senate race.
As predicted, the fight for oversight and reconciliation of the results is on right now, and the Miller camp has brought in one of the great Rightwing extremists, Floyd Brown (he of the Willie Horton ads, Obama "birtherism" and much more) to take the lead in the campaign's fight for oversight.
Where Brown is inappropriately suggesting "voter fraud" without evidence to back it up, he is exactly right in calling for the right for the campaign to be allowed to reconcile the poll rosters to determine if the lower-than-expected number of ballots so far tabulated are, indeed, accurate. To that, I'm more than happy to support his efforts or any other citizens who want to fight to try to ensure their elections are being counted accurately and transparently.
Shannyn and I discussed all of the above and more for about 30 mins or so. Here's that discussion:
UPDATE 11/13/10: Jeanne "AKMuckraker" Devon has more on the developing sitch up there, all the strange bedfellows tucking themselves in, and this hilarious admission: "So, it is with a whiplash-addled heart that I commend…. (pauses for a shot of vodka)… that I say kudos to (mops brow)… that I agree with (deep breath)… Joe Miller."
UPDATE 11/17/10: Joe Miller now suggests his campaign may call for a complete 'hand count' of all ballots. A detailed analysis of Alaska's recent history of impossible election results and it's oft-failed Diebold tabulators suggest Miller would be performing a service to all voters with such a full, transparent reconciliation. Details now here...
No worries. The election officials in Stark County, OH say the Diebold touch-screen vote-flipping, as captured on iPhone video by voter and University of Akron freshman Ian Sanderson on Election Day last week, was just "an isolated incident"...
In 2007, Ohio's current Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, commissioned the largest independent scientific review of electronic voting systems the nation has ever seen. That report, known as EVEREST, resulted in her recommendation that use of all touch-screen voting systems be discontinued in every county in the state. Nonetheless, election officials in counties like Stark have so much contempt for voters that they persist in forcing them to use these 100% unverifiable, oft-failed, easily-manipulated systems a full three years later.
Last Tuesday, the Buckeye State reportedly elected Republicans once more to the offices of both Governor and Secretary of State. Should be another fun Presidential Election there in 2012, eh? Unless, of course, the Republicans were serious about the concerns they expressed, largely for the very first time this year, about e-voting systems like the one seen flipping votes above.
Prior to Election Day we saw reports in Texas, in Nevada and in North Carolina of Republican votes flipping to Democrats or other candidates during the early voting period. The NC GOP claimed to be so outraged by the reports that they filed (and won) a lawsuit suit after one of their attorneys even went so far as to suggest "the touch screen systems should be been banned."
Well, good news for Republicans! As of January, they will be the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives! If they really want to ban unverifiable touch-screen voting systems like the ones that failed this year in NC, TX, NV, OH and elsewhere, they've got their big chance! Democrats failed to do so over the last four years, so we'll be looking forward to the Republican legislation calling for exactly that come January, right?
* * *
Video coverage of the incident from Akron's ABC affiliate WEWS 5 follows below...
Democratic operatives took pictures Tuesday of Lawrence Moretti near a polling place at 848 N. Mill Road in Addison wearing a black jacket and a blue cap with bright yellow letters emblazoned with the letters "ICE," the logo of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
"First of all, that polling place is located in a heavily Hispanic area," said DuPage Democratic Party Chairman Bob Peickert. "He had choices between hats that he could have put on his head and he chose one that could lead someone to conclude he was a law enforcement officer. What motivates him to stand out in front of that place if for no other reason than to intimidate?"
Local GOP officials in heavily Republican DuPage County say charges that Moretti's presence for hours in front of a heavily-Hispanic polling place wearing an "ICE" cap amounts to any kind of "intimidation" are baseless. Of course, this is the same county where the far Rightwing Republican Party operative, Dan Curry, who runs a blog called ReverseSpin.com is actually paid $3,000 a month by tax-payers [PDF] to serve as Public Relations director for the shamelessly partisan county Election Commission, as we described to the editors of the Naperville Sun following one of Curry's hit pieces on behalf of the Commission in 2008.
The issue also serves to put a long-manufactured and ginned-up Republican/Fox "News" charge of "voter intimidation" from 2008 in an interesting new light.
Here's the GOP's remarkable response to the charges of "intimidation" by Moretti in the Daily Herald...
The upshot of its argument: If Republicans are set to take over the U.S. House, as predicted, and if they've suddenly found religion in regard to the dangers of electronic voting, as they seem to be asserting in North Carolina, in Nevada and in Texas, then it'll soon be their turn to take legislative action to once and for all ban the horrific, anti-democratic (small "d"), 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems plaguing our nation before they are again used to pervert results of the 2012 Presidential Election --- just as they have every year since they've been introduced into our electoral system (by a majority Republican Congress, by the way, in 2002.)
Please check it out and leave some nice (or not so nice) comments there, as you see fit. Lot's of disinformed bumpkins seem to currently be weighing in. Please free to straighten them out. Politely.
North Carolina counties which use touch-screen voting systems will now have to post a "Voter Alert" at precincts warning voters about potential problems with the machines following a complaint [PDF] filed in federal court by the state's Republican Party on Friday. The lawsuit, heard today on an expedited basis, was filed after voters in several counties had reported to party officials that their attempts to vote for straight-ticket Republican ballots were flipping on the screen to straight-ticket Democratic ballots.
Those reports of vote-flipping led to the NC GOP issuing a threat late this week to sue the State Board of Elections (BoE) if their demands were not met to order certain precautions be taken at polling places which used the 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems. After the Executive Director for the BoE sent a letter in response to the GOP's demands, downplaying the reported incidents as "isolated" and "no different than ones that must be addressed in every election," the Republican complaint was filed in federal court on Friday afternoon. (The sharp letters back and forth between the state GOP and BoE can be read in our previous report on the NC situation.)
Judge Malcolm Howard tonight also ordered that pollworkers must tell voters to read the printed alert, and that memory cards and other programming materials, records and audit logs from the oft-failed ES&S iVotronic touch-screen DREs must be preserved for examination after the election. Late today, the BoE Executive Director Gary O. Bartlett sent a notice [PDF] to the County Boards of Elections detailing the changes ordered by the federal judge.
The "Voter Alert" to be posted in all precincts using the touch-screen voting systems must read as follows...