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Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
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CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


But Who in the Anchor Chair Will Bother to Point That Out?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2007 10:13am PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis...

Golly, there sure are a lot of Right Wingers out there using Bill Clinton's pardons as reason to say that it's okay that Bush has commuted four felony convictions of the lying covert CIA-operative outer Scooter Libby.

"Clinton did the same thing when he pardoned Marc Rich and so many others," proclaim the Neo-Apologists.

"Where were you when Clinton committed perjury?" they ask (failing to note that he was never actually convicted of a crime, and, in either case, was said to have lied about a sexual matter in a civil case, versus a matter of national security in a criminal case).

In either case, we wonder when one of our brave media anchors will ask the obvious follow-up to one of these clowns. Namely, "Does this mean you now support Bill Clinton's use of pardons? Do you now believe that it was okay for Clinton to lie during a deposition?"

Seems to us they can't have it both ways. If it was wrong for Clinton to lie during a civil suit investigation, and wrong for him to let convicted criminals off the hook with pardons, then it is wrong for Libby to lie (to a grand jury) during an criminal investigation and for Bush to let him off the hook for it.

The Scooter Libby Wingnut Talking Points, however, don't seem to go that many levels deep. Perhaps that's because the Neo-Apologists know that a well thought-out response to the Libby Debacle is not really necessary, seeing as how nobody on the teevee will likely ever bother to ask them such a seemingly obvious follow-up question to their lock-step, sound-bite-crafted response to Bush's commutation.

The 4th Estate fails again.

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Bush Admin More Involved in Case Than Earlier Accounts Indicated...
By Jon Ponder on 7/6/2007 3:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Jon Ponder of Pensito Review.

It's hard to imagine a counterpoint to Scooter Libby's criminal case more apt and revealing than the case of Victor Rita, a North Carolina veteran who was convicted by the feds of lying under oath about buying an illegal machine gun.

Both Rita and Libby were convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in federal cases. Both were sentenced to around 30 months in jail. Both sentences were appealed, and Bush officials at the highest levels were involved in the appeals as they played themselves out in the past few months.

In their appeals, both Rita and Libby sought leniency based on their records of public service and current circumstances. Victor Rita served in the Marine Corps for 25 years, including tours of duty in Vietnam and Gulf War I. He is now advanced in age and in failing health. As a result of his crimes, he has reportedly been wiped out financially.

George W. Bush described Scooter Libby's career in public service as "exceptional," but a review of Libby's bio reveals him to be a neocon bureaucrat who held a series of political positions in Republican administrations before moving up to the White House with Cheney and Bush --- where he was either a witness to or a participant in skullduggery and shenanigans the half of which we don't yet know. Libby is in his late 50s, appears to be in good health, and was able to pay his $250,000 fine out of his checking account, probably with the help of a defense fund set up by powerful Republicans friends like Fred Thompson and Mary Matalan.

Earlier this year the appeals by Rita and Libby both took dramatic turns, at which point the similarities between the two cases came to an abrupt end.

Rita's moment came when his appeal was heard before the Supreme Court...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Near-Majority Favor Same for George W. Bush
So What Are We Waiting For?
By Brad Friedman on 7/6/2007 2:37pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road in St. Louis...

From David Swanson at AfterDowningStreeg.org:

A new poll conducted by Ameircan Research Group finds that 54% of American adults want the US House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney, including 76% of Democrats, 17% of Republicans, and 51% of Independents. The same poll found 46% of voters in favor of the same thing for President George W. Bush, including 69% of Democrats, 13% of Republicans, and 50% of independents.

The poll also asked about Bush's commuting of I Lewis Scooter Libby's sentence, and found that 31% of Americans approve, and 11% would approve of a full pardon.

So what's the hold up? Accountability awaits.

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Phone Records To Be Shared With Media and Bloggers
Deborah Jeane Palfrey Admits to BRAD BLOG She Had No Way of Knowing Who Her Associates Were, Leaving Clients On List Open to Blackmail...
By Joseph Cannon on 7/5/2007 4:02pm PT  

Guest blogged by Joseph Cannon

For months, the so-called "DC Madam" --- Deborah Jeane Palfrey --- has been forbidden by a court injunction from discussing or sharing the contents of the meticulous phone records she kept of her Washington D.C. client base.

Before the injunction was handed down, ABC News' Brian Ross had received a partial list. Ross declared, in a broadcast report, that the phone records did not point to any "newsworthy" individuals beyond the three known names of Randall Tobias (former head of the Agency for International Development), Harlan Ullman (developer of the "shock and awe" military doctrine) and former presidential adviser Dick Morris.

ABC dealt only with records going back five years, and did not have access to the earlier records. Long-standing rumors --- as-yet unconfirmed --- have held that Vice President Dick Cheney used Palfrey's escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates, in the 1990s, while he was still the CEO of Haliburton.

Less than two hours ago, Judge Kessler released the injunction. Palfrey is now free to make those phone records available to any journalists or bloggers who ask for them. She has set out certain circumstances for their release; her primary hope is that those looking into the matter will do so thoroughly. Palfrey has expressed disappointment in ABC's treatment of this story.

When contacted by The BRAD BLOG, Palfrey first expressed her thanks to Judge Kessler. "This decision could have gone either way," said Palfrey, "given our current political climate."

In her decision [PDF], as posted by Citizens for Legitimate Government, the Judge wrote:

The List in question is the Defendant's personal property and contains only a log of telephone numbers. It was neither seized by the Government when it searched the Defendant's residence in California, nor listed in the Indictment putting the Defendant on notice as to which items of her property were subject to forfeiture.

The question everyone is asking, and that we asked, of course, is this: Can Ms. Palfrey confirm that Dick Cheney was a client?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Italia Federici's 'Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy' Makes Like Thor Hearne's 'American Center for Voting Rights', Cutting and Running from Her Online Propaganda Site...
By Brad Friedman on 7/5/2007 11:23am PT  

Blogged by Brad from "Thor" Country (St. Louis, Missouri)...

"Emptywheel" at Next Hurray has the details on the latest Republican front group to go missing on the Internets in the time-honored cowardly tradition of George W. Bush's cut and run vote-suppression capo Thor Hearne of the "non-partisan" propaganda outlet, "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR).

At least the latest GOP scam outfit to see their website set to "This site is temporarily unavailable," Italia Federici's "Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy," (CREA) had the decency to include the name of their party in the group's name. As well, unlike Thor and his buddies, the group --- whose major funder was the now-jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff --- waited until its President, Federici, had pled guilty to obstruction and tax charges before giving up their website's ghost.

Thor, on the other hand, got out as soon as the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal began to shine a spotlight on the "Democratic voter fraud" scam he had been perpetrating for years on a gullible nation and a pliant corporate mainstream media. If we ever find out who funded Thor's tax-exempt ACVR scam to the tune of more than $1 million, we'll not be surprised to see Abramoff's finger prints all over it. Pointing even more directly towards the White House, we've got reason to believe that James A. Baker and friends were also likely on the inside of the hoax set up by the man who was Karl Rove's top election "legal" eagle and, by no coincidence, Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.'s general counsel.

With groups like ACVR and CREA, the GOP helped raise the art of "astroturfing" to new, unforgivable heights of cynicism and criminal fraud. The CMSM let 'em do it for years, as most of us looked the other way in disbelief that the folks who ran this country --- by hook and mostly crook --- would ever be so blatantly disingenuous. They were. We fell for it. And it'll likely take years to undo the damage.

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Bush's Commuting Prison His Terms May Mean Not Even Probation for Libby
Will the Libby Defense Fund Pay the $250,000 Fine for Millionaire Libby?
By Margie Burns on 7/4/2007 6:22am PT  

Guest blogged by Margie Burns.

President Bush's "Statement by the President on Executive Clemency for Lewis Libby" says that

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby.

Bush goes on to mention specifically the only remaining elements of legal punishment, probation and a fine of $250,000.

Now it looks as though even these two residual sanctions on Libby may turn out to be nonexistent.

On July 3 (yesterday), Judge Reggie B. Walton, the trial judge, issued a new order in the Libby case. Noting that probation appears to be defined by law as "supervised release after imprisonment" and that the president had commuted all of Libby's imprisonment, the judge said that the law,

does not appear to contemplate a situation in which a defendant may be placed under supervised release without first completing a term of incarceration.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Alan Breslauer on 7/4/2007 1:07am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

It was fitting that George W. Bush commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence while visiting with Daddy Bush since it was 41 who likely taught him about such dirty tricks. In fact, Bush the Elder took a similar route by pardoning Caspar Weinberger who was indicted for lying to the special prosecutor investigating the Iran/Contra affair. As Marcy Wheeler stated on Democracy Now (seen in the video), Senior Bush's pardon similarly prevented investigators from discovering his role in the Iran/Contra scandal. For kicks, you'll also see Fox "News" pundit, Fred Barnes, mentioning the older Bush's pardon of Weinberger in defense of 43's actions, which might be the reason he is fuzzy with the details.

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By Alan Breslauer on 7/3/2007 8:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

MSNBC's Dan Abrams looks up the definition of "Excessive" in the dictionary, reviews Justice Department guidelines for commuting prison sentences and evidences how Bush ignored all proper procedure in the Libby case, before concluding: "I fear this is another example of the disdain for the courts and for rules that attempt to ensure equal justice for all."

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Says 'Both Crossed the Rubicon Last Night', 'Even Nixon Knew When It Was Time to Go'...
By Margie Burns on 7/3/2007 6:25pm PT  

Blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

In a pretty spectacular peroration tonight, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a ten-minute indictment of the president and vice president and asked Bush to perform one last act of patriotism: resign.

Complete transcript here, video at left.

Saying “Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign” and adding that Nixon’s resignation, belated though it was, ranked as one final action of nonpartisanship, Olbermann urged George W. Bush to emulate Nixon, “not for self, not for party,” but for the country.

Olbermann also prefaced his speech, in one of several promotional moments, with the comment that “No one is holding their breath on this, but frankly, were Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush true patriots, they would resign.”

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'I Want to Know Who It Is' Said Commutator-In-Chief Before Failing to Launch an Investigation to Find Out
UPDATE: Refuses to Rule Out Pardon...
By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2007 9:50am PT  

Blogged by Brad on our way out of Nashville...

Looking back at the original CNN report from February 11, 2004, announcing that a Special Prosecutor had been assigned to the CIA Leak matter, it's clear that what Bush had said at the time is exactly what he meant...

WASHINGTON (CNN) --- President Bush said Tuesday he welcomes a Justice Department investigation into who revealed the classified identity of a CIA operative.

"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of."

Scooter has now been well "taken care of", so once again, George W. Bush has proven to be a man of his word.

Though his interest in "want[ing] to know who" may have leaked the classified identify of a covert CIA operative overseeing worldwide WMD networks may have been somewhat overstated. As we recently learned during sworn Congressional testimony, White House Security Chief, Joe Knodell admitted that they never bothered to launch an investigation into the matter.

"Leaks of classified information are bad things," the Commutator-in-Chief said, apparently just kidding, back in early 2004.

UPDATE: Not yet "taken care of" enough, Bush refuses to rule out a full pardon...

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Fitzgerald Unhappy, But Thompson and Guilliani Thrilled
As Bush Senior Prepares to Roll Over in His Grave...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2007 11:46pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...

Via TPM, the DoJ manual on Commutations:

Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions
...
Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. Nor are commutation requests generally accepted from persons who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court proceeding.

And from Patrick Fitzgerald's reaction:

We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as “excessive.” The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.

Meanwhile, former Sen. Fred Thompson couldn't be happier:

I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the President’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.

...And Guilliani joins him in standing firmly against National Security for America, and in favor of outing covert CIA assets:

After evaluating the facts, the President came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct.

George W. Bush's father, however, feels differently. Or, at least he did back in 1999 when addressing his former colleagues at the CIA...


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Two 'Democratic' Fox 'News' Strategists Agree Commuting Libby Sentence Was 'Right Thing to To Do'
By Alan Breslauer on 7/2/2007 10:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Filling in for Bill O'Reilly on tonight's Factor, Michelle Malkin ripped Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff for destroying the faith of the American people in our government's ability to enforce immigration laws. Later, she went after an immigrant advocate attorney who called for an end to the deportation of illegals, stating, "it is not a bumper sticker to say that we should enforce the laws that are on the books." Between the two, Malkin finds time to joke with "Democratic" Strategists, Kirsten Powers and Laura Schwartz, about Bush letting Scooter Libby "Off The Hook." Surprisingly, she appeared much less concerned with the law and order aspects of the Libby case.

UPDATE FROM BRAD 7/3/07: I believe it's worth underscoring Alan's point above. The two Fox 'News' analysts interviewed by Malkin, claiming that commuting Libby's sentence was "the right thing to do" are both identified as "Democratic" strategists. Incredible. Only on Fox...

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From Throwing Sand in the Umpire's Eyes to Throwing Out the Umps
By Margie Burns on 7/2/2007 8:05pm PT  

Guest blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

The total commutation of Libby’s sentence should put an end to any questions, if any remain, about whether the Bush-Cheney cabal is completely crooked.

Briefly: the published statement for public consumption that the president found Libby’s sentence “excessive” is transparently false. If he had merely found the sentence excessive, he could have commuted it PARTLY. Two and a half years could have been reduced to two, or to one and a half, or to one year. It could have been drastically commuted to six months, or to three months.

That did not happen. Instead, George Walker Bush elevated smarmy propagandists like Byron York over federal judges. He elevated Charles Krauthammer over three U.S. Circuit Court Judges appointed by three former presidents. (Not that Krauthammer’s first reaction after Libby was indicted was to defend Libby. Au contraire: Krauthammer took the line, on ABC’s Inside Washington, that Libby’s actions were the work of one man, namely Libby. Neocon loyalty at work – until the echo chamber pulled Krauthammer back in line.) Bush elevated rightwing talk show hosts, the creepy National Review, Fox television and Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the now-moribund PNAC over the U.S. justice system.

Typical for him, that.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Alan Breslauer on 7/2/2007 3:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




Bloomberg reports that, "George W. Bush commuted Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's 2 1/2-year prison sentence in the CIA leak case, sparing him from punishment the president called 'excessive.'" It seems W. changed his mind in the last four months about respecting jury verdicts involving serious matters as seen in the video above. Or, maybe the White House had given up all hope of restoring "honor and dignity," and thus felt it had nothing to lose.

UPDATE: RAW STORY has more details, reaction. This is amazing. But what else is new? Revealing the identities of covert CIA assets is now just fine, apparently.

UPDATE FROM BRAD 10:54pm PT: A short message from Bush's dad. Sent to him from 1999 when he was speaking to his former colleagues at the CIA. Li'l Bush, apparently, disagrees...


(Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG commenter "PatriotNW")

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By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2007 9:32pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...It's not easy keeping up from the road. But we're doing our best....

Leahy on Meet the Press today (via TPM, who has more, video available at C&L)...

RUSSERT: Are you prepared to hold the Bush White House, the vice president, the attorney general and his office under contempt of Congress?

LEAHY: That is something that the whole Congress has to vote on. In our case, in the Senate, we'd have to vote on it; in the House, they would have to vote on it. I can't...

RUSSERT: Would you go that far?

LEAHY: If they don't cooperate, yes, I'd go that far. I mean, this is very important to the American people.

Leahy's comments synch up with what Conyer's telegraphed a week during a House Judiciary hearing when he asked outgoing Dep. AG Paul McNulty if the DoJ would work with Congress should the White House ignore their subpoenas and it became necessary to issue criminal contempt charges. (For the record, McNulty punted in response, stating he's recused himself from the issue, will likely be gone by then, since he's already resigned, and otherwise, couldn't speak for the DoJ on the matter.)

Washington Post noticed Leahy's comments as well, and offers this road map to what comes next in their Monday edition...

The next step is for the congressional committee chairman to rule on the validity of the privilege claims. If the claims are deemed invalid, the committee can repeat the directive to comply. If the president continues to refuse, the committee can find the president in criminal contempt, and the issue would go to the full Senate or House. If a majority in either chamber approves the criminal citation, the matter is referred to a U.S. attorney with a recommendation to issue an indictment.

"Referred to a U.S. attorney." See what a frickin' mess we're looking at here? The USA in question would be Jeffrey A. Taylor of the District of Columbia. Unless he gets fired any time soon. Don't know much about Taylor, with no time to dig for now. So feel free to fill us in with any thoughts on him in comments.

As the Summer of Accountability continues...

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