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Sanders, Clinton Surrogates Clash Over Democratic Party Platform: 'BradCast' 6/29/16
Guest: Ben Norton of Salon on the fight for progressive reform; Also: Trump seeks torture, CA seeks weed, some seek 'Texit'...
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'Green News Report' 6/23/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
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FL Rep.: Dems to 'Sit-In' Until Vote or GOP 'Hauls People Off Floor': 'BradCast' 6/22/16
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) explains House protest, calls GOP shutdown of C-SPAN 'astonishing', lack of vote on guns 'disgusting'...
Was Orlando the 'Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History?': 'BradCast' 6/21/16
Guest: USC historian Ariela J. Gross | ALSO: Trump's disastrous fundraising numbers; New polls; 700th 'GNR'!...
'Green News Report' 6/21/16
OUR 700TH EPISODE!!! Record heat in S.W.; Bernie wants YOU to fight climate change; PLUS: Obama climate change warning for national parks...
About That 'Stolen' Democratic Primary: 'BradCast' 6/20/16
Brad has a few thoughts. Plus: Sanders' call for progressive candidates and GOP/NRA/Trump gun lies, and more evidence elections matter...
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Former CDC Injury Chief on Federal Gun Research 'Ban': 'BradCast' 6/16/16
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Bullets and Ballots: 'BradCast' 6/15/16
Fights over both continue, after Orlando Massacre and Presidential primary voting. We cover the latest on both, take listener calls, and more...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

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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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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Britain Rolls Out 'Official Secrets Act' to Prevent Disclosure of Memo or Further Details
UK Source: 'The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush'
By Winter Patriot on 11/23/2005 10:57pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

We're probably not supposed to talk about this. So here goes.

As Chris Floyd explains:

This week, the UK's Daily Mirror ran a story about a leaked UK government document that apparently detailed an astounding episode from 2004: George W. Bush planning to bomb the Al-Jazeera headquaters in Qatar a U.S. ally and Tony Blair managing to talk him out of it. Downing Street refused to comment on the memo, and British officialdom tried to laugh it off, literally an anonymous Blair spokesman said Bush had just been joking.

But there is obviously some fire beneath all that smoke. Several MPs took it seriously indeed, including Blair's former defence minister, Peter Kilfoyle, who called for the document to be made public. Then late yesterday [Tuesday], the Blair government unleashed Britain's draconian Official Secrets Act which is far in excess of anything in the US threatening to prosecute any paper that published the actual contents of the memo. (The Mirror story was a paraphrase.)

This is highly unusual, given the fact that the Blair camp did not invoke the Secrets Act to stop the extremely embarrassing "Downing Street Memos" which revealed the cynical pre-invasion machinations by Bush and Blair to "fix the intelligence around the policy" of aggressive war. In fact, as the Guardian points out today, "the [Blair] government has never prosecuted editors for publishing the contents of leaked documents." The invocation of the Secrets Act in this case essentially confirms the substance of the Mirror's allegations; if it was all fluff, just a "joke," why try to quash it in such a heavy-handed fashion?

It seems likely then that the story is true: Bush seriously contemplated launching an attack on Al-Jazeera's headquarters in the business district of Doha, Qatar's capital and had to be dissuaded from this madness by Blair.

As you can probably see, Chris explains things much better than I can. To tell you the truth, the whole affair leaves me practically speechless. But you can follow the story as it has developed so far, using the links and quotes below:

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




By John Gideon on 11/23/2005 5:24pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In yesterday's DVN' I mistakenly characterized the California SoS's Diebold hearing as being in a room that was difficult to find and with people only speaking to a microphone and tape recorder. Unfortunately, I reported from the wrong article. The room used was, in fact, the same hearing room that had been used in past meetings and there were members of the elections staff in attendance. What is important is that there were very few members of the public who defended the Diebold TSx and there were many from the disabled community who all spoke about the complete lack of accessibility provided by these machines. Thank you to all of those who pointed out my error. I would also like to take this opportunity to join my associate, Ellen Theisen, in wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Please be safe and enjoy the holiday....

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




By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2005 4:00pm PT  

The congressman man who ran sham hearings in House Administration Committee on last year's Ohio Election mess (the ones that exposed the insidious ACVR hucksters), was recently subpeonead by the DoJ where he is said to be under investigation on four different aspects of an ongoing probe, looks to be in big big trouble in the wake of the Michael Scanlon indictment.

Jesse of Stakeholder has a round-up of today's headlines on the apparently-soon-to-be-indicted U.S. Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH). Here's what Jesse's found just today at a quick glance:

"Plea Deal Ties Ney to Second Tribe" [Roll Call]

"Rep. Bob Ney is poster boy in bribe probe" [AP]

"Ney's Troubles Are Mounting" [Roll Call]




Columbus Dispatch Editor Likens Pre-Election Poll to Explosion of Space Shuttle...Without the Follow-Up Investigation...
By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2005 3:23pm PT  

Tribune Media Service columnist Robert Koehler weighs in tomorrow on the Ohio's impossible '05 Election Results.

The latest piece from the courageously curious columnist who has been one of very few in the Corporate Mainstream willing to question the dangers of our increasingly crumbling democracy, includes a puzzling acknowledgment by the Columbus Dispatch public editor on their poll which went inexplicably awry for the first time in its history. It will also mark the first time a Corporate Mainstreamer has even acknowledged the existence of the recent GAO report confirming the unbridled dangers of Electronic Voting Machines in America. The piece ends thusly:

Hmm, we have widespread confusion in the voting process, a recent GAO report that cites many glaring insecurities in e-voting, and our own polls indicating big victories that turn into big defeats. Could it be ...? Nah! What are we thinking? This is the world's greatest democracy.

Relax.

UPDATE: The column is now available online, at this location.




Pollster Mark Blumenthal Joins the Crowd of Folks Who Simply Don't Get It or Otherwise Just Don't Care
By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2005 2:03pm PT  

"Mystery Pollster" Mark Blumenthal follows up his recent post on the matter of the extraordinarily questionable results of Ohio's November 8th, '05 Elections. All four of the Election Reform initiatives on the ballot that day mysteriously and spectacularly failed to win approval in stark opposition to the pre-election polling by the historically accurate Columbus Dispatch which had predicted most of them would win by large margins.

That they lost by large margins instead, has been the subject of some controversy. We've blogged about it (here and here) and responded (here) to Blumenthal's analysis of tweaks in the Dispatch polls methodology that he feels "might" have skewed their findings this time around. Despite the major changes in the "methodology" used to gather the actual Election Results in Ohio this year (44 of Ohio's 88 counties installed all-new Touch-Screen Electronic Voting Machines for the first time ever) Blumenthal's presumption is that it must have been the tweaks in the Dispatch poll's methodology rather than any problem with the Election Results as gathered by these all-new, untested, unaccountable, untransparent and demonstrably prone-to-failure Electronic Voting Systems.

In his latest article on the matter, he follows up by suggesting that citizens in Ohio take advantage of Public Records Laws in the state which --- according to Blumenthal's information gathered from the Ohio attorney general website --- allow for the examination of "paper ballots" 60 days after Election Results have already been certified by the state. Says Blumenthal:

That means that in early January, any Ohio citizen (or reporter) can request access to the paper ballots and conduct their own audit. An enterprising voter or investigative reporter should be able to check the ballot paper trail in any of the 82 of 88 counties to look for inconsistencies between that paper record and the official count.

While Blumenthal later calls for "more formal routine audit procedures with far more transparency," he stops short of accepting my previous invitation that he join those of us calling for a truly transparent democracy by ending the use of Electronic Voting Machines employing secret software protected by the Voting Machine Companies who have claimed that examination of their source code by the public would violate "proprietary trade secrets". So the privatization of our Public Elections by private (and partisan) corporations, paid for with our tax dollars is presumably just fine for Blumenthal. Which is good, because billions of tax-dollars are now being given to those corporations to do exactly that, even though millions of us agree with the non-partisan GAO that reported recently on how all of this is a threat to our democracy.

Beyond that, there are apparently a number of points the Mystery Pollster mysteriously doesn't seem to understand about all of this, or that he simply does not wish to acknowledge when he calls for "an enterprising voter or investigative reporter" to "check the ballot paper trail" in Ohio. For example...

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




By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2005 6:14pm PT  

Faster even than the Lefties at Air America were able to embarrass themselves with missteps not long after their launch, the new and well-monied hard Right-leaning "Open Source Media" bloglomerate has been forced to change its name back to its original working title: Pajamas Media. The founders explain, blame others.

Last week, we briefly covered their launch featuring the dubious selection of disgraced former "reporter"/jailbird Judith Miller as keynote speaker. We might recommend that OSM PJM now focus a bit more on content rather than parties and/or names, since they have yet to offer much of a reason to stop by the joint. (Other than to enjoy the brilliant and airtight performance of yours truly in one of their early online debates about the Left/Right Politics of Shame.)

For the moment, it seems that Arianna doesn't have too much to worry about.

(DISCLOSURE: We should also mention again that they've been in talks with us about adding The BRAD BLOG to their list of paid homies. Discussions to that end continue to continue.)




Prosecutor, Witness, Jury Forewoman, Victim All Regret
'Texas murdered an innocent person' says Co-Defendant
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2005 5:36pm PT  

Were it not for our world gone mad, this is the sort of thing I wish I was able to report more about. According to a recent report in the Houston Chronicle it appears that an innocent man was likely executed in the state in 1993.

The prosecutor, the jury forewoman and the one lone eye-witness all seem to now believe they executed an innocent man.

From Reuters coverage of the Chronicle's story:

"Ruben Cantu had nothing to do with the murder, attempted murder and robbery of the two men ... I should know," a friend and fellow gang member, David Garza, told the newspaper.

Cantu, only 17 when the crime took place, was convicted of murdering Pedro Gomez during a 1984 robbery largely on the testimony of a single eyewitness, Juan Moreno. Moreno, then 19, an illegal immigrant wounded during the robbery, now says he is positive Cantu was not at the scene.

Moreno twice failed to identify Cantu to police, but did so when they asked him a third time, the Chronicle said. Cantu was put to death by lethal injection in 1993, when he was 26.

"(Police) told me they were certain it was him, and that's why I testified," Moreno told the newspaper. "That was bad to blame someone that was not there."
...
Miriam Ward, forewoman of the jury that sent Cantu to his fate, said the entire process failed.

"We did the best we could with the information we had, but with a little extra work, a little extra effort, maybe we'd have gotten the right information," she told the newspaper. "The bottom line is an innocent person was put to death for it. We all have our finger in that."

Perhaps the worst part is that Cantu could not have been executed today since the Supreme Court "ruled this year that executions are illegal for crimes committed by minors."

In the meantime, I haven't been able to find where I read it recently, but as I recall there has been a move afoot by lawmakers to decrease the length of time that Death Row inmates have to appeal their cases and/or prove their innocence. (I welcome any BRAD BLOG readers who might have links to post on that in comments.)

Prior to the systematic killing of thousands of innocent folks around the world, I might have liked to have spent more time in the pursuit of stopping the shameful practice of our government killing its own citizens...whether they are guilty of a crime or not. No government should be in the business of putting its own citizens to death. Period. Our country has plenty of shame to go around for this continuing and morally reprehensible practice.

(Hat-tip RAW STORY for the reminder about this story!)




By John Gideon on 11/22/2005 5:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Yesterday the CA SoS held a hearing regarding the state certification of the Diebold TSx DRE. The hearing was held in a room that was difficult to locate and was held in front of a microphone attached to a tape recorder. This is what the SoS seems to think of as democracy. In regards to the Diebold machine and Diebold's actions so far, Jim March of BlackBoxVoting had this to say, "If you don't want to be accused of cheating at cards, don't let aces fall out of your sleeves at every step." Bev Harris and Jim March are going to be allowed to do their hack' into a Diebold machine on Nov. 30....

ADDITIONAL INFO FROM BRAD: The California Secretary of State's office will accept public comment on the certification of the Diebold TSx touchscreen voting machine until next week. To submit a comment, visit www.ss.ca.gov/elections/elections_vs.htm, call (916) 653-6814 or email votingsystemcomment@ss.ca.gov.

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




As the Democracy-be-Damned Media Continue to Wait for the Politicians They Cover to Tell Them What They Should Cover
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2005 3:52pm PT  

Mark Crispin Miller, author of the new book FOOLED AGAIN, which makes the case that Election 2004 was stolen, and so will be the 2008 Election unless something is done --- and quick! --- responds in a letter to the editor to critical coverage by both Slate's Farhad Manjoo and Mother Jones' Mark Hertzgaard.

Manjoo has written numerous articles for Slate pooh-poohing the theory that anything went particularly wrong in the 2004 Presidential Election and recently wrote a critical review of Miller's new book. In his foolish review of Miller, Manjoo embarrasses himself by suggesting that he --- and the rest of the media --- would bother to give a damn about the mountain of demonstrable problems in our democracy if only John Kerry or the mainstream Democrats bothered to complain about it. He thus sets aside any responsibility that he might have as has a watchdog for our democracy...unless instructed to do so by some politician or another. Shameful.

In Hertzgaard's long feature article at MoJo, he claims to have done "some reporting of [his] own" to look into the claims made by Miller and others who have been investigating the mountain of problems from last November. And yet, the work Hertzgaard turns in --- while it looks and reads a whole lot like reporting --- contained damned little of it. What it did contain was little more than half-baked. His recurring tactic in "reporting" on each of the "irregularities" he chooses to examine can be summed up this way: "Folks who challenge the election claim this, but those who disagree say that, therefore, that proves there's nothing here to worry about, folks!" It's really ludicrous and atrocious, --- as many astute MoJo letter writers point out --- and just one of the reasons I haven't bothered to highlight his article until now.

We won't comment on Miller's book itself, since we've yet to read more than just the excerpts from FOOLED AGAIN as published recently in Harper's. But we did read the two articles by Manjoo and Hertzgaard and came away less than impressed as you can tell. Most disappointingly so in MoJo since we like them, and indeed have an article upcoming ourselves in their January '06 issue.

Miller's money quotes from his full letter:

Both Manjoo and Hertsgaard have dismissed my book as an extended exercise in wishful thinking by a diehard partisan, portraying themselves as skeptical, hard-headed journalists, devoted only to "the facts." But it is they who are the partisans; for in their staunch refusal to perceive the glaring evidence of fraud, they are merely echoing the tense accommodationism of the over-cautious Democratic Party. In other words, they claim to see "no story" in last year's race because the Democrats (with all too few exceptions) claim there isn't one--a sort of faith-based journalism every bit as dangerous as the kind that has us fighting in Iraq. Surely we must base our civic conduct on reality itself, and not on what the stars of either party claim "reality" to be.
...
But this is not about John Kerry's image, any more than it's about the sales of Fooled Again, or about Salon's political position, or Farhad Manjoo's or Mark Hertsgaard's career. It's about the mammoth threat confronting this republic, which will not last if we continue to ignore the scandal of last year's election. If anyone should be attacked, it's those extremists who conspire against American democracy, and not those citizens who try to talk about it.



Freshman Congresswoman Has Long Relationship with Far-Right Wingnut Danny Bubp
Her Website May Also Be in Violation of Law, House Rules
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2005 12:55pm PT  

The Marine Corps Reserve Colonel whom freshman Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH) claimed she was quoting last week when she delivered his "message" on the floor of the U.S. House that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do" has disavowed that statement and denies having made it to Schmidt.

The comment was directed to 37-year Marine colonel and combat veteran, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). says she got his comments wrong.

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.
...
"There was no discussion of him personally being a coward or about any person being a coward," Bubp said. "My message to the folks in Washington, D.C., and to all the Congress people up there, is to stay the course. We cannot leave Iraq or cut and run - any terminology that you want to use."
...
"I don't want to be interjected into this. I wish she never used my name."

Schmidt's comment on the floor of the House has caused a firestorm of debate since they were uttered, forcing the recently-elected Congresswoman to apologize and retract them shortly thereafter.

Nonetheless, Schmidt has a long working relationship with Bubp. Schmidt has worked alongside him advocating for far-Rightwing and Fundamentalist Christian causes together over the years as reported by Max Blumenthal.

Cincinnati Enquirer has more on the fallout in wake of Schmidt's comments pointing to some of her statements, during her swearing in just a few months ago, that she would never do such a thing...She must have just been kidding.

Several bloggers called on Schmidt and Bubp to apologize and resign their offices. Others compared her remarks with a statement she made minutes after she was sworn in on Sept. 6.

"I pledge to walk in the shoes of my colleagues and refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character," Schmidt said then. "It is easy to quickly sink to the lowest form of political debate. Harsh words often lead to headlines, but walking this path is not a victimless crime. This great House pays the price."

And one more point on the shameful Schmidt --- a report from BluegrassReoprt.org [linked fixed] yesterday suggests that "Mean Jean" may also be flaunting a few laws and House rules on her own website.

We're shocked...shocked...to see such behavior by a Republican...from Ohio.

Firedoglake has more on the pride of Clermont County...

UPDATE: Chickenhaw Rush Limbaugh calls Murtha a "useful idiot" and questions his "hawk" credentials. Media Matters has the deets and the audio.

LATE UPDATE: Josh Marshall has more on Schmidt who is now, apparently, playing the victim card! Not kidding. Amongst "the attacks from the Left" that she claims to be getting, she also says, "There's no way that I remotely tried to impugn his character." heheh...




Freshman Congresswoman Has Long Relationship with Danny Bubp
Her Website May Also Be in Violation of Law, House Rules
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2005 12:53pm PT  

The Marine Corps Reserve Colonel whom freshman Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH) claimed she was quoting last week when she delivered his "message" on the floor of the U.S. House that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do" has disavowed that statement and denies having made it to Schmidt.

The comment was directed to 37-year Marine colonel and combat veteran, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). says she got his comments wrong.

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.
...
"There was no discussion of him personally being a coward or about any person being a coward," Bubp said. "My message to the folks in Washington, D.C., and to all the Congress people up there, is to stay the course. We cannot leave Iraq or cut and run - any terminology that you want to use."
...
"I don't want to be interjected into this. I wish she never used my name."

Schmidt's comment on the floor of the House has caused a firestorm of debate since they were uttered, forcing the recently-elected Congresswoman to apologize and retract them shortly thereafter.

Nonetheless, Schmidt has a long working relationship with Bubp. Schmidt has worked alongside him advocating for far-Rightwing and Fundamentalist Christian causes together over the years as reported by Max Blumenthal.

Cincinnati Enquirer has more on the fallout in wake of Schmidt's comments pointing to some of her statements, during her swearing in just a few months ago, that she would never do such a thing...She must have just been kidding.

Several bloggers called on Schmidt and Bubp to apologize and resign their offices. Others compared her remarks with a statement she made minutes after she was sworn in on Sept. 6.

"I pledge to walk in the shoes of my colleagues and refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character," Schmidt said then. "It is easy to quickly sink to the lowest form of political debate. Harsh words often lead to headlines, but walking this path is not a victimless crime. This great House pays the price."

And one more point on the shameful Schmidt --- a report from BluegrassReoprt.org yesterday suggests that "Mean Jean" may also be flaunting a few laws and House rules on her own website.

We're shocked...shocked...that such behavior would occur from a Republican from Ohio.




By David Edwards on 11/22/2005 6:41am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Democrats are further honing their message on the misuse of intelligence by the White House during its' attempts to sell the Iraq invasion to the American people. Accusations of war critics with the phrases "lied us into war", "twisted the intelligence" and "manipulated the intelligence" are being slowly replaced with more moderate arguments.

Ray McGovern uses the term "corrupted intelligence" in this recent article. Former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) chooses an even milder criticism by saying that the administration engaged in a "selective use of intelligence" to garner support from Congress and the American people.

Regardless of the PC-ness of the allegations used, the truth remains... The Bush Administration engaged in immoral, unethical and most probably illegal tactics to achieve the unnecessary goal of a pre-emptive war on an invented enemy. Let's hope that future intelligence can be "selected" (misused or twisted) to help us invent a victory.

Video in Windows Media format...
Video in QuickTime format...




It's A Lesson In Contemporary American History, Without The Usual Blinders
'The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know.' --- Harry S Truman
By Winter Patriot on 11/22/2005 1:38am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Holy Cow! A blast and a half from Maureen Farrell. Although it's only the first in a three-part series, she's floored me already!

Or, as Gandhi writes:

If I took four weeks off work to put together an article saying everything I wanted to say about Bush & Co, with lots of URL links to back up the facts, it might look something like this (I wish!).

I'll give you a short excerpt, which I hope will entice you to read the whole thing.

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




'Biggest Scandal in Congress in Over a Century'?
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2005 6:07pm PT  

I didn't get to read this NY Times article from Saturday until just now. Gentelmen...start your shredders...

The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff
...
The investigation by a federal grand jury, which began more than a year ago, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, especially with the announcement Friday of criminal charges against Michael Scanlon, Mr. Abramoff's former lobbying partner and a former top House aide to Representative Tom DeLay.
...
Scholars who specialize in the history and operations of Congress say that given the brazenness of Mr. Abramoff's lobbying efforts, as measured by the huge fees he charged clients and the extravagant gifts he showered on friends on Capitol Hill, almost all of them Republicans, the investigation could end up costing several lawmakers their careers, if not their freedom.
...
"I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution.

But before anybody gets too excited about all of this, remember: this word is coming out of the Bush Justice Dept. which means it will all depend on who gets ahold of the case --- the crime-fighting career professionals or the Bush appointees. Notice this passage from the same article:

Richard Cullen, a lawyer for Mr. DeLay, said in an interview Friday that he was "glad that the Justice Department is looking into all aspects of the trip because I think that a thorough investigation will show that the trip was substantive and transparent."

Given just some of what we already know about the corruption and cronyism at DoJ and their willingness to follow the marching orders from above, it would be little surprise if Cullen's "prediction" comes to pass.




By John Gideon on 11/21/2005 5:07pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The amount of news has finally dwindled down to a normal amount for a Monday. Of interest today are two opposing editorials in the Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding the Voter ID issue. Also of interest are the articles from Lucas County, OH where they have finally decided that they had better do an investigation to figure out what went wrong and why it happened....

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




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