"Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind."
- Bob Dylan, Blowin' in the Wind
In "High Cost of Willfully Misinterpreting the 2nd Amendment" we touched upon the price the American people have paid in lives, injuries and grief, as measured against the extraordinary profits of U.S. small arms manufacturers whose domestic sales of increasingly sophisticated weapons, including the AR-15 and AK-47 styled assault rifles, similar to the one used in the mass shooting in Newton, CT last Friday, climbed to 14 million guns in 2009 alone --- greater than the total number possessed by 21 of the world's standing armies combined.
As the nation reels in the wake of the latest horror at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, it seems a worthwhile task to take a quick look at a partial history of mass shooting events in the U.S., starting with the 1966 University of Texas massacre so that we can take stock of what our nation's strange fascination with guns and ammo has truly wrought --- with increasing frequency since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004...
• Whodathunkit? But questions arise about the legitimacy of the claims made by Fox' latest wannabe James O'Keefe, about that video purporting to show an "unprovoked attack" by "union thugs" outside the capital building in Lansing, MI this week. The most amazing part? Someone at The New York Times --- yes, thatNew York Times --- is one of those actually noticing the big honkin' edit in the middle of the video, rather than just reporting it all as unquestioned fact.
• Eric Holder spoke about the need to protect voting rights at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. We have more than a few bones to pick about it, but we'll just point you to the actual speech for the moment.
• Finally, for now, the critically acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty, the new theatrical film about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, reportedly glorifies the torture that led to his capture and killing, even though no torture whatsoever actually led to his capture and killing.
So, yeah, this is pretty much what it's all come to these days in the Republican Party. Imaginary "voter fraud" and imaginary U.N. tyranny...
BONUS: The Daily Show also had his own take on the Republican dysfunction in the U.S. Senate (discussed by Colbert above) which led to the embarrassing failure to ratify the U.N. treaty for worldwide accommodations for the disabled. The treaty was based on our own, very successful federal bill, the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush twenty years ago.
Part 1 of Jon Stewart's two-parter below is worth watching for the killer John Kerry joke alone...
For the second time in a week, conservative Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is breaking with his party on a hot button issue.
Last Tuesday, Cole made headlines for disagreeing with House Speaker John Boehner and advising his fellow Republicans to accept President Barack Obama’s offer to immediately extend tax cuts on incomes under $250,000, while negotiating a broader deal involving tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
During a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s This Week, Cole offered his advice on the other issue that has animated Republicans in the weeks since the election: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s response to the September 11th attacks in Benghazi, and her potential nomination as Secretary of State.
When Dan Senor — the former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority during the Iraq War, and the chief foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney — suggested investigating “whether or not Susan Rice should be blamed” for the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attacks, Cole reminded Senor of the Bush administration’s false claims that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
“We saw President Bush out front defending something wasn’t true too,” Cole noted. “Maybe we should ask those guys some questions too.”
In both cases, Cole is not adopting the Democratic position; he opposes raising tax rates for the wealthy, and he does not appear to support Rice (although he did not say whether or not he would vote to confirm her if he were in the Senate.) Instead, Cole seems to be trying to divert his party from embracing hopeless political positions. Just as Cole correctly identified that the White House has all of the leverage in the tax cut debate, so too does he seem to realize that a public battle over Rice could lead to some very uncomfortable questions about the Bush administration’s record — a history that the Republican Party would rather stay buried.
Video of the ABC This Week moment mentioned above, from 12/2/2012, follows below...
Yesterday, Greg Sargent at Washington Post quoted Nicole Dewey, Bartlett's publicist at Doubleday at the time, confirming Bartlett's assertion that while he had previously been a regular on Fox, upon publication of his book that was critical of Dubya, "no one would book him" at the pretend "news" channel.
But it was this remark from Frum, specifically his wicked parting shot, which cuts the deepest, and likely ensures (as if there was any question about it), that he will not be appearing on Fox "News" at any time in the foreseeable future either:
[M]aybe Bruce should consider himself fortunate. Totally ignoring untoward events is only Step 1 of the Fox method. Step 2 would have been to invite people to revile Bruce on air, without any opportunity for him to respond or defend himself.
Oh well. At least they didn't hack his phone.
Perhaps he should have added: "...as far as we know."
FL's former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist says the GOP's suggestion "that there's some massive fraud going on" by Florida voters is "laughable".
Rachel Maddow's entire intro and interview with Crist last night is very much worth watching, and so we'll post both at the bottom of this article. But one point in particular during the interview with the Republican-turned-independent needs to be highlighted here.
The contrast couldn't be more stark from his successor, the reprehensible current Governor Rick Scott, who spent much of this past election year rolling back Crist's improvement to the voting system, in an attempt to keep legal, Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast their vote at all, as even other Republican officials in the state are now beginning to admit out loud.
In the following, powerful clip from Maddow's full interview last night, she asks Crist, as the former Republican Governor of Florida, about the ridiculously transparent claims by the GOP that restrictions on voter registration, the right to vote by former felons, and the shortening of early voting is "only about voter fraud" and "voting integrity."
"Is it clear to you that is just bunk?," she asks Crist who replies directly in turn: "It's crystal clear to me. You couldn't be more right, in my humble opinion. And, you know, we can say this about all these road bloacks that are put in the way of people exercising their right to vote, and we saw it in a dramatic fashion this last Election Day in Florida"...
Rachel Maddow's full intro to the interview with Charlie Christ, describing how and why he was purged by the party (likely had something to do with his progressive position on democracy!) and the full 11/27/12 interview with the former Republican FL Governor, both follow below...
We've been quite remiss by failing to offer the The BRAD BLOG's much-sought yet rarely-bestowed "Intellectually Honest Conservative" Award to Bruce Bartlett, Ronald Reagan's domestic policy adviser and George H.W. Bush's Deputy Asst. Secretary for Economic Policy.
We were reminded of our delinquency again today upon reviewing his candid assessment of the downfall of modern Republicanism and its central core of pretend conservatism as published in a must-read article for the December 2012 issue of American Conservative. The confessional includes, among many on-target money quotes, this one: "Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing [in 2012] or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular."
Bartlett begins by detailing his decades-long list of unquestionably rock-solid conservative credentials, all of which have earned him exactly nothing from today's clueless, brain-addled, incurably propagandized Fox "News" "conservative" crowd. In fact, he has garnered their utter contempt by attempting to tell them the truth over the past decade or so, finding himself tossed "under a bus" along with The BRAD BLOG's very few other past "Intellectually Honest Conservative" awardees and dissident, reality-based Republicans such as David Frum and Andrew Sullivan.
"To this day," Bartlett writes, "I don't think they understand that my motives were to help them avoid the permanent decline that now seems inevitable"...
It was a crazy weekend --- and that may be an understatement --- in St. Lucie County, Florida, as the fight continued over the questionable, completely unverified-by-humans, and extremely close computer-reported election results between Rep. Allen West (R) and Patrick Murphy (D) in the U.S. House race for Florida's 18th Congressional District.
Two things, if nothing else however, have become clear. 1) The Florida Democrats supporting the unverified computer-tallied results, which reportedly offer a slim margin in Murphy's favor, have become virtually indistinguishable from the Republicans who supported George W. Bush over Al Gore in the state during the 2000 Presidential Election debacle, and for the same, unjustifiable and partisan reasons. 2) Allen West has terrible and incompetent election attorneys.
Here's a recap of all that has happened --- and there has been quite a bit --- over the weekend, since we last covered the race on Friday, just after a St. Lucie Circuit Court judge denied West's motion demanding a retabulation of all eight days of Early Voting ballots in the county and just before the county's Canvassing Board took up the same issue shortly thereafter in what became a seven hour meeting of the board to determine how to proceed.
(And all of that in the wake of a previous partial retally of three out of eight days worth of early votes had resulted in the unexplained disappearance of some 800 votes when the same paper ballots were run through the same machines a second time due to unexplained "issues" with the electronic tabulation systems the first time around. That initial re-tally had resulted in a net gain of some 500 votes by West.)
The insane weekend events included a two-day machine "retabulation" of all Early Voting ballots in St. Lucie (one of three counties, along with Martin and Palm Beach, that make up FL-18); the discovery of more than 300 previously-untallied early ballots in the same county; new computer-reported tallies resulting in pick-ups by both candidates, for an overall gain of nearly 300 votes by the current leader Murphy; and a County Supervisor of Elections who ended up spending the weekend in the hospital...
That said...Fox' Chris Wallace just reported he heard from the Romney campaign "who is unhappy with us for calling Ohio for Barack Obama". Karl Rove makes a case that Romney can still win Ohio, says the call by Fox is "premature". In a trip to the Fox 'News' "Decision Desk" room, Megyn Kelly is told by their statistician that there aren't enough votes out there for Romney to win. The "Decision Desk" says they are "99.95%" certain.
A criminal investigation into voter registration fraud by a company hired by the Republican National Committee for some $3 million to sign up voters in at least five key battleground states this year is now widening, according to a new report by the Washington Post.
The reason for the expansion appears to relate to an overlooked aspect of the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal highlighted initially by The BRAD BLOG some weeks ago.
Small had been hired by Strategic Allied Consulting, a firm created over the summer by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and longtime GOP activist Nathan Sproul. Sproul has said the company was registered in Virginia, without his name on it, at the request of the RNC, due to myriad election registration fraud allegations in multiple states, in multiple elections, as long ago as 2004. An RNC spokesman has said he's unaware of the party's request, though Sproul has told The BRAD BLOG he stands by the claim. The issue resulted in a testy exchange with a Denver television reporter this week. (That video is posted at the end of this article.)
According to the Post, "state prosecutors canceled Colin Small’s grand jury testimony to gather more information, with their focus expanding to the firm that had employed Small, which is led by longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul."
"State authorities are seeking to learn whether any of Small’s supervisors instructed him or any of his 40 co-workers in Virginia to ask potential voters about their political leanings during registration drives," according to two unnamed sources cited by the paper. "Asking such questions could be a violation of state election law," WaPo reports.
Last month, in an investigative report by The BRAD BLOG, we highlighted video-taped and other evidence from half a dozen states, including Virginia, detailing how Sproul had trained his workers to misrepresent themselves as pollsters to potential registrants in order to determine their political leanings before offering to register them to vote. The ruse was meant as a way to register only Republican voters, while keeping Obama supporters from being able to register at all...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: With Hurricane Sandy recovery underway, Bloomberg endorses Obama, Romney is heckled, and the impacts of climate change finally begin to dawn on corporate media and public officials; PLUS: Planning ahead for a climate changed future ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): CIA's Climate Change Security Report Delayed Due To Hurricane Sandy; Winter Storm May Hit In Early November, Possibly On Election Day; Energy company CEO: Why do we have to talk about climate change today?; Australia Rejects Calls From The Fossil Fuel Industry To Roll Back 20 Percent Renewable Energy Target; Exxon And Shell Earn $54 Billion So Far In 2012, After Taking $800 Million In Annual Tax Breaks; KFC UK will no longer source from Asia Pulp & Paper ... PLUS: The Onion: Nation Suddenly Realizes This Just Going To Be A Thing That Happens From Now On ... and much, MUCH more! ...
It's that time of year. I've been doing a lot of talking lately, on a bunch of media outlets. That means I haven't been able to write and report here as much as I might like of late. In any case, below is one of those appearances, from earlier today, on RT America with anchor Kristine Frazao, in reference to a Christian Science Monitor article from last Friday, by Mark Clayton, accurately headlined: "Could e-voting machines in Election 2012 be hacked? Yes."
It's nice to see stories we reported here at The BRAD BLOG as long as six years ago, many of them exclusively, finally covered in mainstream media outlets, as the CS Monitor piece does. It's also fun to see them quoting the term "sleepover" --- in regard to vulnerable voting machines being sent home with poll workers for days or weeks before Election Day --- a phrase that this blog has been credited with coining about six years ago as well.
I realize that sounds sarcastic, but I don't actually mean it that way. If it all leads to more public discussion and awareness of these concerns, even six years late and six days before a Presidential Election, when it is, by and large, too late to do a damned thing about any of it before the election, I'll take it --- no matter how late it comes...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT:HURRICANE SANDY SPECIAL REPORT: The storm, the aftermath, and the impacts of climate change; PLUS: A reminder of one Presidential candidate's position on federal disaster relief --- Mitt Romney has called for privatizing it ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Chevron: $2.5 Million To GOP Super PAC. Single Largest Corporate Donation; BP Oil Spill: Researchers Take a Deep Look at Gulf Seafood Safety; BP returns to profitability; WY coal art dispute rages on; There Is No 'Simple Fix' for Commodity Farming; Protests Against Expansion of China Chemical Plant Turn Violent; Sand Mine Riches Are Tough to Refuse ... PLUS: Hurricane Sandy: Haiti in emergency aid plea as disaster piles upon disaster ... and much, MUCH more! ...