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By Brad Friedman on 7/8/2007 12:36pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis...

Slowly but surely, the issue of felonious Republican "Vote Caging" during the 2004 Presidential Election is making its way into the consciousness of media, federal, state, and local elected officials and --- whether they like it or not --- the Bush/Cheney campaign officials who were involved in the practice despite repeated consent decrees signed by the RNC that they would no longer use the tactic to target minority voters for removal from voting rolls.

Today, the Florida Times-Union is reporting that, "Internal city memos show the issue of Republican 'vote caging' efforts in Jacksonville's African-American neighborhoods was discussed in the weeks before the 2004 election, contradicting recent claims by former Duval County Republican leader Mike Hightower - the Bush-Cheney campaign's local chairman at the time."

The report goes on to say that Hightower had previously denied any knowledge of the practice of vote caging, which includes sending registered letters, marked "Do Not Forward," to targeted voters along with a request to return a postcard. When the postcards are not returned, officials might then take measures to challenge the voters at the polls, or remove them entirely from the voting rolls.

Last month, Hightower reportedly told that paper that the issue of caging never came up in county meetings prior to the elections, and that he had never heard "of that expression or that practice."

The Internal memos show otherwise, according to the paper. In fact, the issue came up quite regularly at meetings. Nonetheless, Hightower --- pulling a Bob Dole and referring to himself in the third person --- is sticking by his denial...

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




By John Gideon on 7/7/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Two years ago, on July 7, our friend and fellow election integrity activist, Andy Stephenson, lost his fight against pancreatic cancer. Andy was an outspoken supporter of paper ballots and worked as hard as any of us for the integrity of our elections. Andy was so entrenched in the movement that he ran for Washington Secretary of State in the Democratic primary in 2004. Many of his supporters, in Washington and at his on-line hangout, Democratic Underground, are now leaders in the movement. Thank you, Andy, for your fight for better elections and for leaving us with a healthier and more intelligent community of activists.

ES&S may be taken to task in California for not providing the source code to their InkaVote Plus voting system on time, and apparently at all. In an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, California Deputy Secretary of State Lowell Finley is quoted, “There also are discrepancies between the software version number held by the escrow company, and the version that was certified by McPherson last year.”

That, and more voting news stories of note today all linked below...

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




You'd Think Bush's Presidency Depended on It
By Jon Ponder on 7/7/2007 3:12pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder of Pensito Review

Bushies are experts at blowing smoke up their base. They're doing it now in full lather because George W. Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence on Monday was such a brazen buyout of a partner in crime that even rank and file Republicans can see it for what it is.

In particular, GOP operatives must raise doubts among what's left of the Bush lovers about Valerie Plame's covert status at the time Cheney's boys outed her. If her status was undercover, the leakers could be accused of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). The seriousness of this crime may explain why rightwingers have been all over the Internet spreading the thoroughly debunked lie that Wilson was not covert --- and why two of them went on separate cable news shows last week to slip this false statement into the record.

Transcripts follow:

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




In Case You Missed 'Em... Our Most Important Stories from the Last Week
By Desi Doyen on 7/7/2007 12:27pm PT  

Guest blogged by DES

Hope you had a fabulous Independence Day! While Brad is out and about traveling on various speaking engagements and posting where possible, our Guest Bloggers are doing the heavy lifting to bring you stories and analysis that matter, that you won't find anywhere else.

The biggest story on last week's list: Fallout from Bush's unprecedented commutation of "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence dominated the newscasts and the marbled fat halls of punditry, as apologists and critics joined in the chorus in the continually-escalating drama that is the Valerie Plame/CIA Leak case. (Guess the Bushies didn't read the DoJ handbook, and are blaming Clinton --- again.) As our newest guest blogger Jon Ponder reveals, the Bush Administration is now publicly operating under "Justice for me, but not for thee."

Second biggest story from the last week: The Obstructors of Justice (Department of Gonzo) continue to bob and weave to hide from congressional oversight, but the Summer of Accountability inexorably rolls forward. What extra-constitutional tactic will the Bush Administration try next? Perhaps VP Dick "A Law Unto Myself" Cheney and his anti-Constitution minions in the Office of the Vice President are working overtime to bring you the latest in bizarre interpretations of the Constitution. If you're down with OVP, you get out of jail for (nearly) free... (at least until you're discovered on the newly-released "DC Madam" phone list... or Cheney-fatigue sets in...)

Although the leaders of the astro-turf group ACVR have "hit the mattresses" for now, the long tentacles of their trumped-up campaign to spread the Republican Myth of Voter Fraud across the nation have surfaced (again) in the U.S. Attorney Purge Scandal, this time in David Iglesias' New Mexico. Perps in the Jack Abramoff Lobbying and Bribery Scandal are also trying to escape further scrutiny (there are so many --- are there any congressional Republicans not involved?)...

And be sure to give a listen to Brad's debate with Larry Norden of the Brennan Center, as they try to sort out just what is going on in the controversial Holt bill on the Peter B. Collins Show...

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




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.




By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2007 9:35am PT  

(Hat tip BRAD BLOG Toon Scout, Pokey Anderson)




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!... ---




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.




By John Gideon on 7/5/2007 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In a move that could set a disastrous precedent, the Republican Governor and Democratic Secretary of State of Mississippi have come together to ask that a federal judge rule that the state legislature must enact a voter ID law.

Also, Florida activists are now looking into other counties beside Sarasota and they are finding plenty of questionable results:

"We’re inviting Charlotte County voters who experienced a problem voting in the November 2006 election to attend a public forum next Wednesday evening, July 11,” explained Kitty Garber, Florida Fair Election Center’s Research Director. “For example, did your vote vanish from the review screen? Did you have trouble getting your vote to register? Did the machine fail while you were voting? Did any of your friends and neighbors have the same problem? If you had a problem voting, we hope you will attend to share your voting experience with us.”

The rest of today's notable voting news, all linked below as usual...

ADDENDUM FROM BRAD: Please note, in re: John's Mississippi item mentioned above. Mississippi's Democratic SoS is Eric Clark. We ran a video of Clark in a meeting last year with a Diebold lobbyists in which Clark says that Diebold's touch-screen machines are "the most secure thing outside of a Wells-Fargo truck." The man is clueless. Check out the exclusive --- and amusing --- video here...

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




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!... ---




Paper Passes on Unchecked Rewritten History - Despite Paper's Own Findings - from Top GOP Propagandist...
By Brad Friedman on 7/5/2007 12:00pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis...

Supposed to be cooling my holiday heels a bit today, but couldn't let this one pass without comment. USA Today has an article this morning anointing psychologist Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, as the Democrats' new political rhetoric guru.

Nonetheless, in her article, headlined "Democrats get advice on how to talk about issues," reporter Jill Lewis can't seem to help but pass on the conventional wisdom (read: lies) of Republican rhetoric guru/liar Frank Luntz.

"Al Gore should have won" in 2000, Lewis unquestioningly quotes Luntz as telling her. "He lost because Americans didn't want him in their living rooms every night."

No. He "lost" because one vote on the Supreme Court determined that the man who won the national popular vote, as well as the electoral vote in Florida, should not have his votes counted as cast.

Had Lewis gone back and reviewed the findings of her own newspaper, who took part in a study of the ballots across the state of Florida, she likely would have discovered that.

While we realize that history is frequently re-written by the "winners," we see no reason why the corporate mainstream media need to participate in that charade. And yet, nearly 7 years later, and with facts now easily at hand, USA Today continues to do so.

We don't blame Luntz for lying. That's his job. Much as we don't blame Ann Coulter for being an unapologetic liar and hate-monger. We blame USA Today --- and other similarly irresponsible corporate mainstream outlets --- for giving him the platform to continue to pass on his lies without correction. Much as we blame ABC, NBC, MSNBC, et al. for giving Coulter a bully pulpit from which to spew her bullshit.

We need to begin to hold those who hold the keys to the kingdom responsible for allowing the charlatans inside the gates in the first place. Until we hold the media accountable and demand that they clean up their act, the Democratic focus-grouped advice of media message masters like Westen, and George Lakoff before him, won't mean a damn thing.




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.




On America's Fourth of July...
By Brad Friedman on 7/4/2007 10:21am PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis...

When we first ran the full Declaration of Independence here at The BRAD BLOG on the Fourth of July, 2005, it felt very much like a seditious act during those dark, oppressive days. Incredibly, we actually paused for a moment or two to consider whether there would be blowback of some sort for posting such a thing publicly. That we felt some level of concern in posting this document --- described by the National Archives as "the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty" --- at that time, is an irony that may take the historians decades to fully explain.

This is the third Fourth of July in a row on which we post this extraordinary document in full, along with the strong encouragement for you to read it. In full.

We have just done so again ourselves, and find it more incredibly apropos than ever. The section enumerating the crimes of King George against his country and constituents is remarkable in its near line-by-line parallels to the crimes of our own King George today: "A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

We stand by both the following Declaration and the words of Kieth Olbermann on MSNBC last night, calling on Bush and Cheney to do the right thing for their nation and Resign. For the good of this country. For the good of the world.

We challenge you to read America's Declaration of Independence which follows and not draw the direct and striking parallels that are so apparent from the very first paragraph on through the end.

On Independence Day, 2007, the following words likely ring more true than any single day since they were first adopted, some 231 years ago, by a small band of rag-tag patriots who declared their right to be free from tyranny, for a Government which derives its power from the consent of the governed, and "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Please read on...

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




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!... ---




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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