Alaska blogger and radio host Shannyn Moore isn't taking the attempted strong-arming by soon-to-be-former Governor Sarah Palin lightly. Moore shot back quickly on her radio show and in the mainstream media on Saturday, in response to Palin's Fourth of July Declaration of Litigation.
Palin's legal threat, issued for her by her private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, earlier in the day, was itself in response to Moore, and other Alaska constituents, who publicly detailed long-whispered local rumors of a federal investigation and/or impending indictments against the former Republican Veep nominee.
The BRAD BLOG broke details of those allegations, citing Moore as one of our sources, on Friday, following Palin's manic press conference in which she announced plans to cut and run from her elected position of public service, a year and a half early --- seemingly to become a community organizer.
Alaska bloggers quickly circled their wagons in defense of Moore, who spoke out herself over the weekend, describing Palin as a "coward and a bully" whose defamation lawsuit she would welcome, at a press conference in front of the Governor's Anchorage office...
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin marked the Independence Day holiday by firing back at "false and defamatory allegations" made over the past twenty-four hours; noting limits on the "right of free speech"; declaring herself a victim; and issuing threats of potential litigation against a number of journalists and media outlets.
Through her private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, Palin issued a statement on Saturday in response to stories concerning suggestions of a federal investigation into the contracting and building of her house on Lake Lucille in Wasilla and the Wasilla Sports Complex, both constructed during her tenure as Mayor of the small town.
The four page response [posted in full at the end of this article] rebuts allegations as discussed on this blog and other news sites on Friday following the former Republican Vice Presidential nominee's surprise announcement that she would be resigning from office with a year and a half still remaining in her first term as Governor.
The defiant statement includes a warning "to provide notice" to journalists and media outlets that she "will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation."
The statement opens by charging that following her stunning, and often beguiling, hastily called press conference at the beginning of the holiday weekend, "several unscrupulous people have asserted false and defamatory allegations that the 'real' reasons for Governor Palin's resignation stem from an alleged criminal investigation pertaining to the construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex."
Also, late tonight, the Los Angeles Times has filed a short article featuring a response from an FBI spokesperson in Alaska who denies that the agency is investigating the Palins on those matters...
[Updated at end of article with videos of responses to O'Reilly response from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann.]
After years of demonizing Kansas physician Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated in his Wichita church on Sunday, Fox "News" host Bill O'Reilly toned back his inflammatory rhetoric on his first show back since yesterday's murder. (See video at end of article.)
Where he had previously, and repeatedly, described Tiller as "Tiller the Baby Killer," equated him with Nazis and al-Qaeda, described him repeatedly as "executing babies" and "operating a death mill," tonight O'Reilly characterized himself as the victim of a "left-wing" cabal of "Fox News haters" trying to "exploit" the tragedy to "shut guys like me down." Notably, however, he did not use the same strident rhetoric that had characterized his "reportage" of Tiller in the past...
Last night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow did a bang-up job in detailing/summarizing "our story so far," as we know it, in regard to the use of torture by the Bush/Cheney Regime. Her report goes on to include interviews with Bush's Iraq WMD inspector, Charles Duelfer, and journalist Robert Windrem, who yesterday detailed the push by "the office of Vice President Cheney" to use torture on Saddam Hussein's security goon, who had been talking and cooperating just fine after being captured in the fall of Baghdad. But he had not been saying the things the OVP wanted him to, so waterboarding was recommended.
We've now officially moved from the imaginary bad Hollywood movie realm of the use of illegal torture to stop 'ticking time-bomb' attacks against Americans, to its use in a desperate attempt to stop 'ticking political-bombs' --- such as no Iraqi WMD and no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda --- against the Bush/Cheney Regime itself.
This video should bring you largely up to date with the latest known-knowns in the torture time line, and the cynical, realpolitik motives thereof...
(And remember, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the CIA detainee who is reported to have just "committed suicide" in a Libyan prison is known to have been tortured into "confessing" a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, the precise thing that the OVP reportedly sought from Hussein's captured goon. Al-Libi's forced "confession" was subsequently used over and over again by Bush/Cheney/Powell in the march to war, and thereafter found to have been completely made up by al-Libi to help put an end to his torture. When al-Libi recently turned up dead, he was in the process of being reportedly sought by prosecutors in regard to torture allegations against the Bush/Cheney Regime. Dots connecting yet?)
Zelikow not only dissented from the party line, admirably, but he also learned at one point that while the administration disagreed with his opinion, they were taking it a step further by actually going out of their way to destroy all copies of his memo. As he explained at FP yesterday:
At the time, in 2005, I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn't entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable. My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views. They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department's archives.
While it's admirable, I suppose, that he's finally speaking up to reveal that at least someone in the Bush Administration dissented from their tortured legal justifications for war crimes, the question must be raised as to why Zelikow didn't simply resign when it became clear that the administration was going far beyond simply disagreeing with him. They were stepping over what would seem to clearly be the line of legality, by actually destroying (or attempting to), all copies of his opinion.
Surely that was a red flag that something was gravely amiss there, no?
Zelikow was on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show last night (complete video and transcript below), and she asked directly if he'd considered resigning at that point. But I find his answer rather unsatisfying, in my opinion...
By way of begrudging public service to those in the community at large who may not understand why so many --- such as Rachel Maddow as seen in the video at right --- are having such a difficult time not bursting into laughter whenever discussing the nutty rightwing "tea baggers," we offer this link to the Urban Dictionary in hopes of allowing you too in on the joke.
Between the whackazoid self-proclaimed tea baggers and the anti-marriage, anti-homosexual hate group National Organization for Marriage's new, unfortunately acronymed "Two Million for Marriage" (2M4M) campaign, seriously, you folks may wanna do just two or three minutes of Googling before you come up with your next new, snazzy, self-identifying catch-phrase.
Or, at the very least, consult former Congressman Dick Armey for some advice first.
Vermont becomes the fourth state (following MA, CT and IA) to currently recognize marriage equality, after they'd formerly adopted "first-in-the-nation civil unions law" nine years ago. We're delighted to see two-thirds of each Statehouse chamber override the Governor's veto of a law which will correct the injustice of segregation via "civil unions".
According to Media Matters, 'liberal', 'Obama-loving' MSNBC has now shown the following misleading graphic at least twice to support stories suggesting that Barack Obama is somehow responsible for the alarming drop in the Dow-Jones industrial average...
And here is the graphic they are not showing, making it quite clear that the plummet has little to do with Obama's Presidency...
The "Liberal Media" strikes again!
(For the record, Media Matters also notes that it's not just "liberal" MSNBC, of course. The wingnut propagandists at Bloomberg and WSJ, along with Fox "News'" Chris Wallace, are also banging the same misinformative drum. So, naturally, MSNBC finds it necessary to not miss a beat.)
Brad - I'm watching elderly voters, with canes, who can barely stand, waiting for up up 7 hours to early vote in Florida. It's breaking my heart. PLEASE WRITE ABOUT IT AND DEMAND AARP TO MONITOR THIS. I really hope people are not getting hurt in their attempt to exercise their voting rights. This is either voter disenfranchisement or elder abuse - neither is acceptable.
And we continue to hear from other sources that the bottleneck in Florida is at check-in with the state's new, computerized voter registration system, not with the new paper ballot op-scan system which is used after a voter votes. (Though there have been reported problems with the state's new Diebold print-on-demand system for printing ballots for voters to fill out as well.)
Rachel Maddow correctly noted (see video below) that these waits in FL, GA, and elsewhere, amount to a "poll tax." She's right.
As I noted last week, we have just one early voting location in all of Los Angeles --- the largest voting jurisdiction in the country, larger than 41 states combined --- and at this point, I have no idea if I'll be able to vote myself if the lines are too long tomorrow, since I have to go on air LIVE, hell or highwater at 3pm PT to anchor the NovaM Radio Network's "Special Election Night Coverage."
Here's what the lines looked like this weekend at L.A.'s only early voting location, a 40-minute drive from where I live (photo: Margery Epstein)...
And here's Rachel making her case, and pointing to 10 hour lines in Atlanta and elsewhere...
Considering many of the staggering results of Thursday's New York Times/CBS News poll, overall media coverage and examination of the findings have been less than thorough. With the seeming sea change that has occurred, when comparing public opinion before both conventions to public opinion now (the period measured in the poll), you might think it would garner at least as much attention as, say, lipstick-on-a-pig palooza.
Taken as a whole, findings of this poll --- some noted in Thursday's national media discourse, some not --- paint the bleakest picture yet for the McCain/Palin ticket.
Does anything that George W. Bush and John McCain say matter? Based on this colloquy between Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow on "Countdown" last night, apparently not:
OLBERMANN: ...The Iraqi government is saying, “Get out,” and President Bush swore, you know, “Some day if they say ‘get out,‘ we‘ll get out.”
MADDOW: That‘s right. May 2007 in the Rose Garden, Bush said—and I went back and checked the quote directly so I could be sure to directly quote him — “If they were to say leave, we would leave.” Also, for what it‘s worth, in April of 2004, John McCain at the Council on Foreign Relations said, “It is obvious we would have to leave if they asked to us leave.”
I mean, they told us that the point of invading Iraq was to topple Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was toppled; they told us that the point of staying there after, was to set up a sovereign Iraqi government. Well now, the sovereign Iraqi government is standing up on its hind legs enough to tell us to leave, and we‘re left with this situation where they need another explanation of why we can‘t leave. That‘s the real headline here.
Charlie Black, John McCain's senior adviser, made news earlier this week when Fortune Magazine editor David Whitford reported that Black told him "with startling candor" when asked how a terrorist attack inside the United States would affect the campaign, "Certainly it would be a big advantage to [McCain]."
Keith Olbermann has been reporting on this story all week on his MSNBC news hour, in part to make that point that if a Democrat had made a similar gaffe, the Beltway punditocracy would have been in high dudgeon, demanding the adviser's head on a pike and lambasting the candidate for associating himself with such scum.
Longtime political junkies know that Charlie Black was among a handful of angry young rightwingers who remade the Republican Party after the debacle of Richard Nixon's resignation. Along with Roger Stone, Terry Dolan, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and George Bush Jr., he is one of the inventors of today's GOP attack machine, a style of media-driven slash and burn politics that can be traced to the establishment by Black, Stone and Dolan in 1975 of a political action committee that raised millions from conservatives using deceptive direct-mail advertising and spent the money on TV ads that slimed Democrats.
Black, one of the most successful lobbyists and political strategists of the Reagan and Bush eras, has backed his share of losers over the years, too. But even when he has bet on the wrong horse, he has always landed on his feet --- which may explain why John McCain needs Charlie Black this year much more than Black needs McCain.
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"...
"The recount never really happened," notes Kevin Spacey, correctly, about the 2000 Florida election debacle in his interview Wednesday night on Countdown, in advance of Recount, HBO's theatrical retelling of the nightmare. The film premieres this Sunday.
Some weeks ago, we ran an item which included the theatrical trailer for the film and noted that we've neither seen it, nor been contacted by anybody from the production (they didn't purchase an ad here either, boo hoo) but that they did manage to use our "Stuck in the Middle With You" theme song for the film, curiously enough, as you'll see in the trailer. We'll take it as a compliment, as if we have a choice.
We also noted, with evidence, that Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush in the state of Florida in 2000, and that seven whistleblowers from the company, Sequoia Voting Systems, who produced the paper ballots for Florida, have come forward to reveal that they were forced by someone to use bad paper on those ballots (only in Florida) against their objections, and to misalign the chads on them (only in Palm Beach County). To this day, other than Dan Rather at HDNet, who originally ran the report, nobody in the corporate media has found that story worthy of following up, or even merely reporting.
But for the third in our countdown of productions with the word "count" in its title, we turn to our friend Mary Mancini, who smartly blogs at the website of the documentary film Uncounted (We're in it, so see FULL DISCLOSURE at end of this article). Mancini notes that Olbermann, during his interview with Spacey (at left, including clip from film), joined so many other journalists who have taken the opportunity of the premiere of HBO's film to miss more than a few good journalistic opportunities...
With all the publicity surrounding this movie, now would be the perfect time for journalists to take the national conversation to the next level and ask the most logical follow up questions:
1) Why wasn’t our electoral process equipped, as Kevin Spacey says in the interview, “to handle margins of victory so small and margins of error so big” in 2000?
2) Are we equipped to do so now?
Another great opportunity was lost last night when during the interview Spacey explains the punch-card recount process:
That when you have a margin of victory so small, you have to go to what is called an automatic machine recount and yet, 18 counties, over 1,500,00 votes, didn’t bother to put their ballots back through the machine. They just re-tabulated the memory card, and you always get a different count when you do a machine recount. So, when you kind of realize that, well, that’s ’cause people just couldn’t bother to do it, um, it’s pretty stunning that…that…so..when Baker and Bush kept coming out and saying, “The votes have been counted, and they’ve been counted again, and Gore wants to count them a third time,” they were actually never counted.
No, they weren't. And the Supreme Court demanded that they remain uncounted, so Bush could be named "President."
Only the media and academic consortium who actually did bother to count all of those ballots [PDF] afterwards in Florida would know that Gore received more votes than Bush. Period. Even if they've done a superb job of keeping that little fact to themselves ever since. Whether HBO's Recount tells that truth, we'll have to wait until Sunday to find out.
Following below, for your convenience, are both the HBO trailer for Recount and, once again, the breathtaking Dan Rather report on the gaming of the paper ballots in Florida's 2000 election...