Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's appearance Monday at a West Los Angeles college to discuss her recently published book was marred by dozens of protesters and several angry outbursts by audience members who demanded Pelosi immediately authorize a House committee to hold impeachment hearings against George W. Bush.
The Speaker made it clear she would not support any effort to hold impeachment hearings against George W. Bush Bush saying that he "will be gone in a hundred days."
Halfway through her discussion at The American University of Judaism, where more than 300 people paid $30 each to hear Pelosi speak about her upbringing and her family's impact on her political career as detailed in her book Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters, the topic shifted to Congress's historically low approval rating and how it reflected on Pelosi’s tenure as Speaker.
An outbreak of protest ensued leading to one protester being escorted out of the event by the Secret Service. Later, blogger Alan Breslauer was also yanked away from the Speaker by Secret Service agents, after attempting to ask a question of her during her book signing session. Some of those protests can be seen in the video at right.
American University of Judaism's Rabbi Robert Wexler, who led the 75-minute interview, asked Pelosi to analyze a recent Rasmussen poll that found nine percent of individuals polled believed Congress was doing a good job, far lower than Bush's overall approval rating.
Pelosi responded by defending her performance and the performance of her Democratic colleagues in Congress.
"I preside over the greatest collection of integrity and idealism," Pelosi said. Prior to her appearance in West Los Angeles Monday evening, CNN’s Larry King interviewed Pelosi. She told King she was willing to drop her staunch opposition to offshore drilling and would likely allow the House to vote on the issue.
She said, in her opinion, the reason behind Congress’s low approval rating was largely due to the fact that Democrats could not muster up the votes to end the Iraq war, which the Democratic Speaker from San Francisco said she could not do much about because of the Democrats’ razor-thin majority in both Houses.
Wexler, however, continued to press Pelosi to elaborate on her response given that the Rasmussen poll suggested that a wide-range of issues beyond the Iraq war was responsible for Congress’s single-digit approval. Pelosi, visibly flustered, said she was well aware that “much more work needs to be done.”...
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Earlier this month, writer, director, producer, and actor John Wellington Ennis released a free online election documentary titled Free For All. The trailer (4:21, at right) for the smart, informative, and hugely entertaining flick is below (with none other than Brad Friedman serving as the video thumbnail) while the entire movie can be downloaded here.
Last Thursday Keith Olbermann began an excellent conversation with George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley on the Karl Rove subpoena matter by stating, "Joe Wilson's dream of watching Karl Rove frog marched out of the White House in handcuffs is long since gone. But a new dream has been born tonight. What about a Turdblossom perp walk out of the front door of Fix News."
As seen in the video at right, the freshly shorn former Ambassador responds to the news and our question at a small gathering where he was speaking in Los Angeles. He said he was unsure whether or not Congress will be able to "get to" Rove, though he was certainly behind the effort.
"Whether they will actually be able to get to Karl I don't know," Wilson told us. "But it's great to keep the pressure on him. It forces him back on defense." He then added: "It's amazing to me the extent to which these guys have operated with absolute impunity, absolute disregard for American law and American jurisprudence."
Following below is the entire 40 minutes or so of Wilson's talk to the small gathering last week in Los Angeles, covering all aspects of his ordeal with the Bush administration...
We first asked Shepston, an airplane engineer, about election integrity issues. Interestingly, despite running in the extremely "red" Orange County against the Republican Miller and expressing concern for election integrity issues in general, Shepston was not worried about the fairness of elections in his own district:
"I vote in my district and I do think we have fair elections there... I do worry about election integrity in general. I wonder what Republicans are afraid of when they don't want to have fair elections. I don't want to have to guess, I don't want to have to trust that my vote or that voters' votes count. I want verified ballots."
Unfortunately, as Orange County is one of two counties left in California where unverifiable DRE (usually touch-screen) voting machines have been allowed for use by all, Shepston seems somewhat out of step with the ability, or lack thereof, to verify even a single vote cast on such machines in his own district. Almost inexplicably, CA SoS Debra Bowen decertified use of almost all DRE systems in the state, other than one per polling place to meet federal accessibility voting standards, and DRE machines made by Hart InterCivic. Shepston's Orange County still uses those wholly unverifiable Hart voting machines.
Shepston, who says he considers himself part of the netroots movement, is a political newcomer who was encouraged to run for office by fellow bloggers at the Daily Kos website. Yet despite the fact that many of these bloggers are helping with Shepston's campaign, he directed some harsh words towards the Daily Kos:
"It's not the community that it used to be... And what's happened is that now that I've been there for so long I know the good writers and I go to just them. I don't branch out because it seems like every other diary that I get to it's just not worth it to me anymore. I don't learn anything... It's turned into a shouting match sometimes. It's not the same community that it was when I was there before."
Our complete interview (6:46), shot this week at a fund raising event here in Los Angeles with Ambassador Joe Wilson (more videos to come), follows below. You can find out more about Shepston at his Ron Shepston for United States Congress website...
Says Our 'Political System Is Vulnerable To Continual Theft', Alleges 'Huge Electronic Miasma' of Voting Machines, 'Politicians That are Crooked and E-Voting Companies that Seduce Them Into Dishonesty'
Proposes Adopting Canadian System of Hand-Counted Paper Ballots...
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader held a press conference in Los Angeles on Saturday where The BRAD BLOG asked him about whether the upcoming election would turn out any differently than the 2004 election which Nader believes was hijacked by the Republican Party and the 2000 election which the Supreme Court decided. The video (2:37) of the exchange follows below...
The text transcript of the above begins with our question to Nader:
BRAD BLOG: In 2004 you said that the Republican Party was able to “steal the election before election day” and that the “election was hijacked from A to Z”. And in 2000 the Supreme Court decided the election. Do you have any reason to believe that 2008 will turn out any differently?
Nader's answer to that question includes reference to the state-by-state partisan gaming of elections, and "this huge electronic miasma with different kinds of machines," made possible by billions made available as a "procurement item."
"Whenever you get a procurement item that interferes with election integrity," responds Nader, "you have politicians that are crooked and companies that seduce them into this kind of dishonesty."
His full answer to our question is transcribed below, along with the complete video of his entire 30 minute press conference...
We found the intellectual DeLear, who supports the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, extremely knowledgeable on a wide range of issues including election integrity. DeLear even goes so far as to call for the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution to secure the vote.
Says DeLear during our exclusive interview...
"I talk about the necessity for the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution to be securing the most sacrosanct institution of our Republic which is the vote – the cornerstone of our democracy. And how is it that we can allow corporations to own the source code that instructs voting machines how to count the vote? How is it that in our supposedly popular and public owned electoral system can we have privatization occurring where the basic functions of our elections are in secret and are not available to the scrutiny of the American people?
"So I think the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution should be securing the vote, providing for independent verification of ballot results and I think we should explore the idea of perhaps standardizing the American voting experience. Because when you have 13,000 different methods of counting the vote littered across the landscape of our Republic – that essentially violates the essence of equal protection under the law. And I don’t think it’s fair that you can have African Americans waiting six hours in the rain in Ohio and then other people in other parts of the country just walk in and get their votes cast and there is no problem whatsoever.
"So we got to end this kind of unequal, unfair playing field that is occurring in regards to counting our votes and getting our voice heard."
Our complete interview (appx 4 mins), shot Sunday during a fund raising even here in Los Angeles, follows below. You can find out more about DeLear at his DeLear for Congress website...
Art Levine at The American Prospect has a new must read piece titled, “The Republican War on Voting: Using the Department of Justice, friendly governors, and its usual propaganda outlets, the GOP has propagated the myth of voter fraud to purge the rolls of non-Republicans.” Here's a small taste of it...
"Sharrard's cautionary tone was a response to the Republican Party's ongoing nationwide campaign to suppress the low-income minority vote by propagating the myth of voter fraud. Using various tactics --- including media smears, bogus lawsuits, restrictive new voting laws and policies, and flimsy prosecutions --- Republican operatives, election officials, and the GOP-controlled Justice Department have limited voting access and gone after voter-registration groups such as ACORN..."
"Unfortunately, progressives have tended to pay more attention to Election Day dirty tricks and to electronic voting machines than to a more systemic threat: the Republican campaign to suppress the votes of low-income, young, and minority voters through restrictive legislation and rulings, all based on the mythic specter of voter fraud..."
"Unfortunately, the public hasn't heard just how nonexistent the voter fraud epidemic actually is. While progressives have successfully challenged some of the most restrictive laws in court, they're still playing catch-up when it comes to combating the glib sound bites of voter-fraud alarmists. Republicans and the Bush Justice Department have cloaked their schemes under such noble-sounding concepts as "ballot integrity." The GOP's vote-suppression playbook features everything from phony lawsuits to questionable investigations to authoritative-seeming reports, all with the aim of promoting restrictive laws."
In related news, John Tanner, the man in charge of the Justice Department's efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters until he was forced to resign after The BRAD BLOG captured and exposed him making crazy offensive comments on video (see below), has a new job, apparently. Tanner is reportedly now a fellow with the Alabama Law Institute - which provides the Legislature with legal expertise in drafting and revising laws.
Jonathan Turley: It really is amazing because Congress, including the Democrats, have avoided any type of investigation into torture because they do not want to deal with the fact that the President ordered war crimes. But evidence keeps on coming out - the only thing we don’t have is a group picture with a detainee attached to electrical wires. I mean every time we see more evidence we have more and more high ranking people at the scene of this crime. And what you get from this is that this was a premeditated and carefully orchestrated torture program. Not torture, but a torture program.