Saturday, April 28

The Amazing Clueless Dana Perino Show - Now Playing!

I have to admit some of her predecessors were a hoot.

Fliescher leaking to reporters about "Joe Wilson's wife works at CIA".

McClennan stating that "I've spoken to Karl Rove and Scooter Libby and they weren't involved" in the leaking of CIA Agent Valerie Plame-Wilson's identity.

Snow and his immortal "Not gonna hug the tar-baby" line.

But new White House Press Secretary Dana Perino totally and completely takes the clueless cake to a completely new level.

The White House Press Secretary is often a difficult job. Obstensibly the goal is to help better inform the public about the policies and accomplisments of the administration - however, when you happen to work in an administration that bares a striking resemblence to an organized criminal enterprise - actually informing the public with what is really going on can become somewhat problematic.

So far in her short period filling in for Tony Snow, Dana already had a few whoppers...

Perino: The Congress does not have oversight over the White House. [Press briefing, 3/26/07]

Yeah, right - except that they do.

Perino on Alberto Gonzales: He’s our No. 1 crimefighter.

Sure he is, when he's not firing perfectly good prosecutors without knowing why, supporting torture, making War Crimes legal, denying habeas corpus, rejecting the constitution, excusing the rendition of innocent people, illegal wiretaps, datamining of our private and personal information without a warrant and intimidating judges.

On March 27, Perino claimed that there were only a "handful" of staffers with (RNC) accounts. On April 12, Perino claimed that her earlier statement was made despite her ignorance of what was actually going on. "Well, I didn’t know how many there were," Perino said. "I grant you, it’s a very large handful."

So, just how big are your hands Dana?

Perino on Congress Visiting the White House: "Maybe they need to hear again from the president about why he thinks it is foolish to set arbitrary timetables for withdrawal."

Yeah, we wouldn't actually want to have a plan or anything.

Perino on Iraq: "It is not accurate to say that the United States is occupying Iraq."

Really now, then just what are we doing - having a kegger over there? And it's not like we were invited or anything.

But this week Ms. Perino has reached an all time low as she tried to defend the administrations use of political briefings to government employees. Specifically a Karl Rove Powerpoint Presentation which outlined potential election vulnerabilities for both Democrats and Republicans - with the specific goal of requesting the appointees to "Help Our Candidates" - was presented at the GSA and 15 other agencies including "Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, Education, Agriculture and Energy, as well as NASA, the Small Business Administration, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Agency for International Development."

So how does Ms. Perino explain this? First of all, by relying on that old chestnut - Clinton did it too. Ah, yes - the classics never fade do they?

Q Was there any intent to try to tell people that they need to do something about the election, and to take some action?

MS. PERINO: These are information -- they're informational briefings about the political landscape.

Q Okay, so there was -- there was no intent to do that? Who -- did they ask for the briefings, or was it the White House that decided they wanted to give these briefings?

MS. PERINO: I think it sort of goes both ways. I do know that political appointees around the government -- I used to work at an agency, and you are interested in -- the reason that you're here working for the President is that you want to support his policies and his agenda, and so it's good to get information from time to time.

Q Well, who's idea -- it was the White House idea, initially, or was it the agencies?

MS. PERINO: I think that these briefings -- well, I know the Clinton administration had similar briefings. Where did they originate? I don't know. I couldn't give you a date.

It's just information, no need to worry. The information can't harm you. There was no intent to have anyone actually - do something with the information. OH, and Clinton did it too - so everything is fine. Nothing to see here. Move along now. Move along.

That's all fine and good except for the fact that it's a fucking LIE.

Doug Sosnik, who served as President Clinton’s Director of Political Affairs and later as Counselor to the President, told ThinkProgress, "We never went to agencies and briefed political appointees." Sosnik and several other former Clinton administration officials told ThinkProgress that Clinton officials never conducted similar briefings.

Yikes. That's gonna leave a mark in the morning.

Ok, so Clinton didn't do it. But you see, there's still nothing wrong with it -- cuz, well - I said so.

MS. PERINO: Checking with Counsel's Office and talking about informational briefings about political landscape, that that is okay, that that is acceptable; there is nothing in the law that says you can't do that, it's not unethical. And it is something that is absolutely reasonable and appropriate, to provide political appointees with information about the landscape in which they're working.

Q But what if at the end of those briefings there were other conversations about, then, how you could help --

MS. PERINO: "What if?" "What if?" I'm not answering "what ifs," Ed.

Q But you don't know the answers to those questions, do you? I mean, how can you make a blanket statement that no laws were broken, as you said this morning, when you don't really know what happened at these briefings or after the briefings?

MS. PERINO: You're asking me to prove a negative and I can't -- nobody can do that.

Q Then how can you make a blanket statement saying no laws were broken? You just made blanket statements without knowing the details.

MS. PERINO: The question is whether or not the political briefings are inappropriate, unethical or unlawful. And the answer to all three of those questions is, no.

Nothing in the law, eh? How about the Hatch Act which states...

These federal and D.C. employees may not-

* use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
* solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
* solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
* be candidates for public office in partisan elections
* engage in political activity while:
o on duty
o in a government office

o wearing an official uniform
o using a government vehicle
* wear partisan political buttons on duty

It's fair to point out that the Act does allow federal employees to talk about politics if they so wish. They may also campaign for specific candidates, just as anyone else can as a private citizen. The problem comes in when people in a government position use their position and office to support or hurt particular candidates. For example throwing Republican Candidates a bone with high-profile photo-ops while tossing Democrats under the bus.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has discovered that in January, (Lorita) Doan asked "senior GSA officials to help ‘our candidates’ in the next elections through targeted public events." Doan discussed with GSA officials "how to exclude House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from an upcoming courthouse opening in San Francisco and how to include Republican Senator Mel Martinez."

Call me not a lawyer, but that looks like a violation of that "nothing" law to me. Maybe that's why the Office of Special Counsel is looking into the issue - ya think? (Although it could be, and has been argued that Special Prosecutor Scott Bloch may only be attempting to Cock-Bloch the Waxman investigation with his own white-wash of the entire affair - at any rate, time will tell.)

Despite the die job, I suspect Dana isn't really as blonde as she pretends to appear during these briefings. As she noted, she was advised by the White House Counsels Office that "nothing illegal occurred here". The very fact that Rove assistant Scott Jennings responded to Lorita Doan's question about "what we can do" by asking her to "Take it Offline" indicates that he knew that there was a potential problem with having that discussion or assigning specific action items on the record. The White House would like to pretend that such discussions didn't occur, or might simply prefer to toss anyone caught in the act like Doan off the train - but it simply defies common sense that Senior White House staff would put this much face time and energy into "simple information sharing" without expecting that something happen as a result, doesn't it?

Like Fleischer, McClennan and Snow - Perino is just playing Charlie McCarthy as mouthpeice to the real bullshitter sitting in the Oval Office.

Unfortunately for fans of high (and low) political comedy, further episodes of Da Ali Dana Show will be going on hiatus as Tony Snow is expected to return on Monday from his cancer surgery.

Vyan

Friday, April 27

The Big Soros Lie

Ever since the dull thud of Don Imus crashing down from the high media heavens back to earth began to reverberate through the punditosphere - all the little trained monkeys whirling the crank on the Right-Wing Werlitzer have been quaking in their boots and coming unglued.

Since these guys apparently love the Bruckheimer, they needed to find a villain to paint all their troubles upon. It wasn't long before they found a suitable scapegoat - thanks to the ever helpful Drudge - that patsy was of course...George Soros.

Just one small problem, all of their current troubles aren't Soros doing, but are simply their own damn fault!

Limbaugh has turned practically into a raving lunatic over the fact that David Brock's Media Matters has been quoting him accurately.

On the April 16 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh called Media Matters for America "Stalinist" and part of the "Clinton machine agenda." He further falsely asserted that Media Matters receives funding from philanthropist George Soros and that he is "not demeaning people on this program in any way."

The Soros/Media Matters canard has been picked up by Micheal Savage.

On the April 13 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage said of Media Matters for America: "They're people who attack me. It's run by a homosexual activist who hates anybody in the media who does not kowtow to the homosexual agenda."

"They've held themselves up as somehow above the fray, only looking for fair-mindedness in the media. It turns out that they are, in fact, funded by one of the most vile anti-American creatures in the world, George Soros."

And Tammy Bruce...

"In order to be able to even go after Republicans eventually, or conservatives, these far-left forces need to purge our own House of Democrats like myself who speak the truth and will confront them on what they are. That's why Imus had to be eliminated and that's why they went after him first. And now they'll proceed down their list."

And Melanie Morgan...

"I have lived on the other side of the gun barrel pointed by Media Matters for America for the better part of three years, and I know what it feels like when a bunch of crackpots with keyboards pull the trigger, backed by millions upon millions of dollars in funding from George Soros."

And Debbie Schlessel...

I suppose now that Don Imus is gone, (Media Matters has) assigned the vegan lesbian transsexual 'interspecies erotica' devotee they had monitoring the Imus show to monitor my site."

And Tom (Dead Crook Walking) Delay...

"George Soros, upset with the slight inroads conservatives have made recently, has funded an organization called Media Matters for America, led by liberal muckraker David Brock."

And of course, Bully O'Lielly who actually displayed an elaborate flow-chart of how Soros has allegedly used shell organizations to secretly funnel money into Media Matters for his "smear" operations.

It's not like Billy ever said that poor people were "irresponsible and lazy" - except that he did.

And it's not like he ever claimed that the Iraqi people were "Prehistoric". Except for when he did.

But here's the thing, even if Billo's Magic Flow-Chart-o-Doom is correct -- So Fucking What?!

It's not like Right-Wing crackpots like Sam Fox with truck loads of cash to burn on smearing Democrats like John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi would ever be rewarded with something like - being nominated as Ambassador to Belgium, Right?

It's not like a nutbag religious zealot like the Rev. Sun Myung Moon could ever buy a major american newspaper in the Nation's capital and use it's online edition to promote right-wing lies and propaganda about Democratic Candidates for President, eh?

And it's not like multi-billionarie Rupert Murdock would ever buy an entire Cable News Network, and install Karl Rove's former deputy Roger Ailes to operate and manage it by sending out daily marching orders on how the news will be spun that day, would they?

Oh, It's not like millionaire Richard Mellon-Scaife didn't fund a project designed specifically to destroy Bill Clinton through his magazine The American Spectator (Which ironically used to employ one David Brock!) did he?

Oh yeah, they all did!

The only problem with the Fox/Moon/Murdock/Scaife v Soros analogy is the teeny, tiny, infitesimal little fact that SOROS DOESN'T FUND MEDIA MATTERS either directly or through intermediate organizations. Even the Politico has had to admit it in a printed retraction to a Tom Delay Op-ed.

A column in Tuesday's Politico "How Good Is America's Campaign Coverage" by Tom Delay contained an error. George Soros ha s not funded the organization Media Matters for America.

Opps!!

As was shown so brilliantly by Bill Moyers last night on the PBS documentary "Buying the War" the need for journalist who actually Do Journalism is increasing everyday. The tendency to just be lazy and "go with the flow", the paralyzing fear that these people have to "go out on a limb" is crippling our Democracy.

Just look to the example of the false premise behind the very first question in last night's Democratic Debate.

Do you agree with Sen. Reid that the "Iraq War Is Lost"

The simple truth is that Reid didn't say just that, he also said...

"The (Iraq) war can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically, and the president needs to come to that realization," Reid said.

Reid said he did not think more U.S. troops could help. "I think (the President's Surge has) failed, I say that without any question," he said of the troop increase.

So the more accurate question would have been "Do you agree with Sen Reid that we can't win the Iraq War Militarily?"

And considering the fact that this is exactly what Henry Kissenger, Gen Petreaus and what the Iraq Study Group has said...

"The bipartisan Iraq Study Group has concluded that the President's Iraq policy has failed and must be changed. As the November elections clearly demonstrated, that is an assessment shared by the American people.

"If the President is serious about the need for change in Iraq, he will find Democrats ready to work with him in a bipartisan fashion to find a way to end the war as quickly as possible.

So, the answer should be a no-brainer.

Y'know - something pithy like "Hell YES!"

Outlets like Media Matters are vital at pointing out these repeated gross failures by the mainstream media to simply report the truth, whether Soros or his reported shadow puppeteer - the dastardly Hillary Rodham Clinton - are behind it all or not.

The fact that the wingnuts are having fits worrying about how stupid MMFA is going to make them look, after they say something ridiculously bigoted, vile and profane - yet again - is just icing on the cake.

Vyan

Thursday, April 26

Quick Truths

Quick Truths from Thinkprogress:

Breaking: Senate approves Iraq withdrawal bill.

“The Senate on Thursday narrowly passed legislation ordering U.S. troops to begin coming home from Iraq by Oct. 1. The vote was 51-46. The House on Wednesday passed the same war spending bill, and President Bush next week is expected to receive, and swiftly reject, the legislation. The veto could fall on the fourth anniversary of the president’s Iraq ‘victory’ speech, which is Tuesday.”

UPDATE: AMERICAblog has video of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) remarks HERE.

UPDATE II: A case of the pot calling the kettle black — the “White House warns of a ‘P.R. stunt.’” Dana Perino said, “If it is the case that they withheld money for the troops in order to try to play some ridiculous P.R. stunt, that is the height of cynicism.” 1:23 pm

Buying The War.

You can watch Bill Moyers’ full documentary HERE. Glenn Greenwald writes:

If you didn’t watch Bill Moyers’ documentary last night regarding the joint, coordinated behavior of our government and its media in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I can’t recommend it highly enough. […]

One of the most important points came at the end. The institutional decay which Moyers chronicles is not merely a matter of historical interest. Instead, it continues to shape our mainstream political dialogue every bit as much as it did back in 2002 and 2003. The people who committed the journalistic crimes Moyers so potently documents do not think they are guilty of anything — ask them and they will tell you — and as a result, they have not changed their behavior in the slightest.


28 percent: President Bush’s approval rating in a new Harris survey, the lowest of his
presidency.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she has already answered the questions she has been subpoenaed to answer before a congressional committee” and suggested she is not inclined to comply with the order. “I am more than happy to answer them again in a letter,” she told reporters.

“White House officials conducted 20 private briefings on Republican electoral prospects in the last midterm election for senior officials in at least 15 government agencies covered by federal restrictions on partisan political activity,” the White House acknowledged yesterday.

“The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to impose tighter restrictions on the hundreds of lawyers who represent detainees at Guant├ínamo Bay,” proposing “new limits on the lawyers’ contact with their clients and access to evidence in their cases.”

“The White House has turned over to a House committee about 200 pages of documents” related to a suspicious contract it had with a company owned by Brent Wilkes, who pleaded guilty to bribing former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA).

Vyan

Wednesday, April 25

Moyers exposes the LapDog Media

Following just one day after the announced by Dennis Kucinich that he is putting forth Articles of Impeachment against Dick Cheney for Lying to us into a War - Tonight at 9pm, PBS is airing the new Bill Moyers documentary "Buying the War", a film which analyzes just how much the mainstream media helped to manipulate the American Public into believing the need for our attack and occupation of Iraq.

The Washington Post’s Tom Shales calls it "one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling." From Thinkprogress:

Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes use alarming evidence and an array of respected journalists to make the case that, in the rage that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media abandoned their role as watchdog and became a lapdog instead.

Bush and Cheney may have been the primary purveyor of the lies, but the mainsteam media were his willing cheerleaders in the march to war...

Watch Preview Video from Thinkprogress:

Exhibit A — the first event recalled in this report — is a news conference by President Bush on March 6, 2003, which Moyers says is two weeks before Bush "will order America to war." The press conference was a sham, with Bush calling only on "friendly" reporters who’d ask friendly questions. The corker was this scorching investigative query: "Mr. President, how is your faith guiding you?"

"At least a dozen times during [March 6th] press conference," Moyers says, Bush would "invoke 9/11 and al-Qaeda to justify a preemptive attack on a country that has not attacked America." The link between al-Qaeda and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was never proved and had to be taken on faith, Moyers recalls, as did the administration claim that Hussein had developed, was developing, or might soon develop weapons of mass destruction.

Moyers' documentary recounts how overseas reporters were far more skeptical of claims linking Saddam to Al Qaeda unlike Beltway-Punditocracy who were too far "inside the bubble".

Bob Simon of 60 Minutes: Saddam was a dictator, a control-freak. To introduce a wild-card group like Al-Qaeda is just something he wouldn't do, so I didn't believe it for an instant.

It also talks to reporters from Knight-Ridder who were skeptical of the claims of Iraq who found that some of their papers would instead be replaced by more administation friendly reports from the New York Times (by Judith Miller) or the Washington Post.

It wasn't clear to us we were hearing so much about Iraq, when the [9-11] attack clearly had al-Qaeda written all over it.

More from Shales...

Pressures subtle and blatant were brought to bear. Phil Donahue's nightly MSNBC talk show was virtually the only program of its type that gave antiwar voices a chance to be heard. Donahue was canceled 22 days before the invasion of Iraq, Moyers says. The reason was supposedly low ratings, but the New York Times intercepted an in-house memo in which a network executive complained: "Donahue represents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time, our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

Wave the flag and cheer the march for war and you stay on the air - criticize the administration for it's lies and you get cancelled or simply won't have your reports run in the local papers.

Way back in 1992, Tim Robbins directed and starred in a film about a manipulative machevelian neo-con named Bob Roberts, who used his folk-singer charm and deep deception to dazzle the conservative faithful into a rabid cult-like following - while Bugs Raplin (Giancarlo Esposito) one lone reporter for a struggling left leaning magazine called Trouble Times attempts to expose the truth. Bugs is eventually framed for a faked attempt on Robert's life and lynched by supporters of Roberts, but he leaves behind a rant like recording which modern day reporters could use a few screening of...

We must remain Vigilant in order to preserve our democracy from curruption!

Fifteen years ago Raplin's words seem paranoid and delusion (even though he was correct), today they appear nothing less than prophetic.

We - here on Kos, at TPMMuckracker, DU, Media Matters and others sites that seek to shine a spotlight on the cockroaches that have taken over our nation's government have become Bugs Raplin. And at this particular moment, so has Bill Moyers.

Vyan

Stewart v McCain : The Smackdown

As posted on onegoodmove.org

Presidential candidate John McCain squared off with the heavyweight champion of fake news Jon Stewart. It was a bare knuckle brawl in which Jon landed the first blow and McCain found himself on the mat staring up at at least three Blackhawk helicopters. McCain countered with mistakes were made, but we are where we are. Jon landed a second blow on fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here. It was a glancing blow, that McCain countered with mistakes were made, but we are where we are. The knockout blow came when Jon called McCain on the idea that we aren't supporting the troops if we don't go along with the President. McCain countered with mistakes were made, but we are where we are.


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Quicktime Video 18.3 MB : 00:11:48
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This file is available for download here.

Further Commentary from ThereisNoSpoon ok Dkos.

Tonight on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart owned John McCain and showed the world what a REAL Democratic leader who understands how to tell the truth and sound authoritative doing it looks like. I say this without exaggeration: it was the most amazing rhetorical performance I have seen from any progressive in the last six years. In one 10 minute debate with John McCain, he did the following:

--compared the daily horrific tragedies in Iraq with the VA Tech shooting to show just how bad things are over in Iraq

--obliterated the very idea that we are fighting a "war" in Iraq, challenging McCain to explain how military strategy and battleships could possibly factor into "winning" in Iraq

--insisted that the "war" as such was over once we had captured Saddam Hussein

--obliterated the idea the timetables for withdrawal will allow the "terrorists and Sunni insurgents and Shia militias" to win, by telling the truth that it's THEIR country and they can wait us out as long as they want

--called McCain's bluff when he said that withdrawal would constitute surrender, by stating matter-of-factly that these groups are fighting not with us but with one another while we babysit them, and then going on to state unequivocally, quoting Petraeus, that any solution must be political rather than military. And that benchmarks and timetables are an essential part of diplomatic and political solutions.

--demanded that McCain explain to him how criticizing the President was a greater failure to support the troops than extending their tours of duty, initiating stop losses, and failing abjectly to keep Walter Reed up to snuff.

--explained that Al-Qaeda's stated purpose is to draw America out into a long and bloody that drains our lives and our treasury...and that even granted the premise that terrorists in Iraq want to follow us back to America, they will do so one way or another.

--challenged McCain to show him what the "new strategy" was, and laid out the truth quite clearly: that we can either put over 350,000 troops on the ground there (full occupation), or withdraw (ending occupation).

And there's so, so much more where that came from.

Indeed there is, it's more than worth a viewing or three.

Vyan

Tuesday, April 24

Kucinich submits Articles of Impeachment against Cheney

This just in from Fox News

Congressman Kucinich Introduces Impeachment Articles Against Dick Cheney

Tuesday , April 24, 2007

WASHINGTON —
Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced three articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney on Tuesday, saying the vice president lied to America to get into a war in Iraq.

Kucinich, a 2008 presidential candidate, said Cheney misled the nation about Iraq's having weapons of mass destruction; he had been deceitful about a nexus between Iraq and Al Qaeda and was being aggressive toward Iran "absent any real threat" from the Islamic Republic.

Cheney "purposely altered intelligence gathering to justify the use of the Armed Forces in Iraq in a manner damaging to national security," the first article reads. The vice president also is accused of using the "intelligence process to deceive citizens and Congress about the tie between Iraq and Al Qaeda in a manner damaging to the United States."

The Ohio Democrat said he hadn't discussed his articles of impeachment with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or other Democratic leaders but "has the support of millions of Americans."

n fact, Kucinich's proposal comes ahead of a series of protests this weekend calling for the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. Hundreds of delegates to this Saturday's California Democratic Convention in San Diego are expected to introduce their own impeachment resolution against the president and vice president, said Jacob Park, national coordinator for the April 28 action.


Vyan

The Goal of Gonzo-Gate: Tamping down the Black Vote

From Democracy Now.

Another scandal is brewing inside Alberto Gonzales's Justice Department. Former Justice Department attorneys have publicly accused the Bush administration of politicizing the department's Civil Rights Division which was formed 50 years ago to protect the voting rights of African-Americans. According to a recent report by the McClatchy newspapers, the Bush administration has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates.
And since black and minority voters tend to favor Democrats by over 10 to 1 - they have become the perfect targets to help Republicans over the hump in marginal races.

We've all of course become quite familiar with Karl Rove's Infamous Power-Point Presentation. Reports from L.A. Times today indicate the the GSA isn't the only place it made an appearance.

The Los Angeles Times has learned that similar presentations were made by other White House staff members, including Rove, to other Cabinet agencies. During such presentations, employees said they got a not-so-subtle message about helping endangered Republicans.

Presentations such as this, which are clearly intended to draft government employees into becoming partisan operatives are clear violations of the Hatch Act. But what happens when these types of tactics are employed by the very people whose job is to protect the integrity of the vote?

People such as Bob Bennet disgraced former head of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections where he had helped improperly purge over a hundred thousand voters from the Ohio roles.

Leading up to the 2004 vote, Bennett oversaw the quiet purge of some 168,000 registered voters from the Cuyahoga rolls, including 24.93% of the entire city of Cleveland, which voted 83% for Kerry. In one inner city majority African American ward, 51% of the voters were purged. Centered on precincts that voted more than 80% for John Kerry, this purge may well have meant a net loss to the Democrats of tens of thousands of votes in an election that was officially decided statewide by less than 119,000.
And Bennet was far from alone.
Parallel purges were conducted by Republican-controlled boards of election in Hamilton County (Cincinnati) where some 105,000 voters were purged from the rolls, and in Lucas County (Toledo), where some 28,000 were purged in an unprecedented move in late August 2004. These remain the only three counties in the state known to have conducted massive registration purges prior to the 2004 election. The three mass urban purges decimated the rolls in heavily Democratic areas. Since then, another 170,000 voters have been purged from the rolls in Franklin County, primarily in the heavily Democratic Columbus precincts. Many rural Republican counties, like Miami, practice a “no-purge” policy.
In case you've lost count that over 300,000 voters, mostly democratic, purged from the roles and denied their right to vote - in a race that was decided by a difference of 119,000!

A race that kept George W. Bush in the White House.

So has the DOJ been investigating this? Not so much, they've been busy firing their own and chasing their tails on alleged "voter fraud" cases.
Rich: At least two U.S. attorneys were fired after failing to bring voter fraud cases. Last year the Boston Globe reported the Bush administration is filling the permanent ranks of the Civil Rights Division with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights. This has led to the Civil Rights Division focusing more on cases alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians.

Now I personally feel that legitimate calls to look at so-called "Reverse Discrimination" do need to occur, as well as religious discrimination - but the facts are and have long been that black people are far more likely to be on the receiving end of negative discrimination than any other group.

From the latest FBI Hate Crimes Statistics (which are reported by local law enforcement and compiled by the FBI independent of the Civil Rights Division).

In 2005 there were 828 recorded incidents of Anti-White Discrimination contrasted with 2,630 incidents of Anti-Black Discrimination for a 3 to 1 ratio. But then when you look at things in a per capita basis taking into account that Black people are only 12% (or 1/8th) of the overall population the likelihood of any individual black person being discriminated against versus a white person rises to 25 to 1.

Similarly the vast majority of cases of religious discrimination recorded were Anti-Jewish (848), compared to Anti-Catholic (58), Anti-Protestant (57) and even Anti-Muslim (128). Incidents of anti-Male-Homosexual bias (621) far outstrip incidents against all other religions (93).
Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,314 offenses reported by law enforcement. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-bias offenses showed:

* 68.5 percent were anti-Jewish.
* 11.1 percent were anti-Islamic.
* 7.8 percent were anti-other (unspecified) religion.
* 4.6 percent were anti-Catholic.
* 4.4 percent were anti-Protestant.
* 3.2 percent were anti-multiple religions, (i.e., groups of individuals of varying religions).
* 0.4 percent were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism.
Contrary to popular belief most hate crimes are not acts of violence or aggression, rather they are acts intended to intimidate.
Of the 8,380 hate crime offenses in 2005:

* 30.3 percent were intimidation.
* 30.2 percent were destruction/damage/vandalism.
* 18.7 percent were simple assault.
* 12.7 percent were aggravated assault.
* The remaining 8.2 percent of hate crimes were comprised of additional crimes against persons, property, and society.
It seems to me that the priorities of the Civil Rights Division should be clear - yet the Bush Administration doesn't see it that way according to for CRD head Joseph Rich.
JOSEPH RICH: Well, I was at the Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Division right out of law school in ’68 and worked twenty-four of the thirty-six years I was there under Republican administrations, starting with Ramsey Clark, John Mitchell, through Ed Meese, Janet Reno and finally this administration with Alberto Gonzales and John Ashcroft.

This administration is the first administration that I felt had politicized the department to the extent that it has. And I had been the head of the Voting Section for the last six years that I was there, from 1999 to 2005, and I think the Voting Section has always been a section that is of political interest, but never had been politicized to the extent that it was in this administration.
So exactly what was it they did?
...there was two major things that concerned me the most. The first was, in the voting area, some of the major decisions made were contrary to recommendations from the career people, such as myself, and in my judgment were made for partisan political reasons. These were redistricting decisions in places like Mississippi and Texas. There was a voter ID law in Georgia that was decided just after I left the department in 2005.
Redistricting so that democratic voters have left influence in Violation of the Voting Rights Act? Check. Implementing onerous ID requirements which echo the use of the "Poll Tax" and "Literacy Tests" which was used for decades to keep blacks from voting? Check. What else?
JOSEPH RICH: Well, another thing that happened in this administration right from the outset was a great priority on voter fraud. It continued to increase through 2004 and then, I think, particularly after I left in 2006. The priority on voter fraud -- voter fraud is done by the Criminal Division. The Civil Rights Division works on voter intimidation based on race during elections. And the increase in emphasis on voter fraud became more and more apparent, to the point that last year Bradley Schlozman, who had been one of the ones responsible for politicizing the Civil Rights Division -- he had been there from 2003 to 2006. He was one of the first -- I think the first -- interim US attorney appointed under the PATRIOT Act, that gave the Attorney General the authority to appoint people without confirmation indefinitely. He was appointed in Missouri, a battleground state in 2006.

Five days before the election last fall in Missouri, he brought five voter fraud cases against members of -- or I think employees of ACORN for alleged voter fraud. This was contrary to longstanding department policy not to bring or even investigate voter fraud cases shortly before an election because of the sensitivity to having any impact on elections. The longstanding policy was one in which, if there was evidence of voter fraud, the investigation would take place, unless there was a real emergency, after the election.

The fact that that happened in Missouri, the fact that the United States attorneys in New Mexico and Washington, who were following the priority of investigating vigorously voter fraud and yet were removed because they did not indict, is extremely disturbing, because they were doing their job, but in their professional judgment they did not have evidence to bring the cases, and that appears to have been a major factor in their removal.
So if Rich is correct, and I strongly suspect that he is, this set of firings has sent a clear signal thruout the remain USA's. I shudder to think exactly what kind of pre-emptive prosecutions can we expect prior to the 2008 Congressional and Presidential Elections which just might create a hostile atmosphere to various democratic get-out-the-vote operations which might be critical in battleground states and close elections?

Vyan

Quick Truths

Quick Truths from Thinkprogress:

An “obscure federal investigative unit known as the Office of Special Counsel” is launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that “for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.” The administration-led inquiry will be a unified investigation covering many facets of Rove’s operations. “We will take the evidence where it leads us,” said Scott J. Bloch, a Bush appointee who heads the Office of Special Counsel. “We will not leave any stone unturned.”

U.S. Central Command has retired the phrase “the long war” to describe the struggle against global extremists, after cultural advisers became concerned that the concept “alienated Middle East audiences by suggesting that the United States would keep a large number of forces in the region indefinitely.”

“World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz met yesterday with senior managers to promise unspecified changes in his leadership and to appeal for their help.” “He is not going to resign,” his lawyer said. “His mood is just fine. … He feels people are trying to interfere with his job to get at world poverty.”

Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) “will soon introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage — what he calls ‘a simple moral imperative,’” becoming “the first governor in the nation to introduce a gay marriage bill.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will conduct a hearing today into misleading information from the battlefield. The hearing will focus on the death of Army Ranger Specialist Patrick Tillman in Afghanistan and the capture and rescue of Army Private Jessica Lynch in Iraq, and question why inaccurate accounts of these two incidents were disseminated.

From the Randi Rhodes Show.

Boris Yeltsin dies at 76.

FLASHBACK: 1995 – Yeltsin takes a swipe at the press corps and Bill Clinton simply loses it. One of our favorite Yeltsin moments…

Bush actually thinks Gonzales did a great job. The GOP can’t wait to get GonzalesGate behind them. Sorry freaks, after Fredo there’s still Rove, Miers and the Chimp in Chief himself

Give ‘em hell, Waxman! Let the subpoenas fly, baby.

VIDEO: Newt Gingrich tries to prove that he’s psycho enough to win the support of the mouth-breathing, Rapture Right GOP base by blaming Liberalism for the VTech shootings.

Meanwhile, Congress (finally) starts to grumble about the plan to design and build a new generation of f’n nukes!

ARMY TIMES (what the troops read): Brain injuries are not enough to keep you out of Bush’s filthy oil war. And PTSD sufferers are redeployed, misdiagnosed or simply thrown out. Criminal.

Depleted uranium continues to eat our troops and alive as we litter the globe with it in the name of empire.

And Maliki orders a halt to Bush’s “Baghdad Wall”.

Also, Sheryl Crow and Karl Rove square off over Global Warming. In Crow’s (and Laurie David’s) own words

And World Bank execs want Wolfowitz gone. Not only did Wolfie get his girl a plum gig at the State Department, she also received an unprecedented security clearance for a foreign national.

Vyan

Monday, April 23

Living Colour - Postman

Living Colour - Postman



Dedicated to the victims at Va. Tech and the Cho Family.

Sunday, April 22

Elections have Consequence : SCOTUS Abortion Decision

In the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark decision to ban so-called "partial-birth" abortions even when the health and life of the mother are endangered, it's about time we began to look at some of the likely results and consequences of this decision.

First lets start with what the legislation of the 108th Congress specifically prohibited under S[3]:
    The Congress finds and declares the following:
      (1) A moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing a partial-birth abortion--an abortion in which a physician deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living, unborn child's body until either the entire baby's head is outside the body of the mother, or any part of the baby's trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother and only the head remains inside the womb, for the purpose of performing an overt act (usually the puncturing of the back of the child's skull and removing the baby's brains) that the person knows will kill the partially delivered infant, performs this act, and then completes delivery of the dead infant--is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.
This proceedure as described is known as Dilation and Evacuation (D&X) and according to a report from Raw Story when this issue began to be originally raise in 1992, the proceedure which was invented in 1992, had only been performed twice on pregnancies older than 24 weeks (which is the Roe mandated cut-off).

In their act, the Congress argued that late-term abortions, whether they were before or after the cut-off, should be prohibited simply because the procedure itself induces labor and thus the baby once being "partially born" should be allowed to complete the process.
(H) Based upon Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), a governmental interest in protecting the life of a child during the delivery process arises by virtue of the fact that during a partial-birth abortion, labor is induced and the birth process has begun. This distinction was recognized in Roe when the Court noted, without comment, that the Texas parturition statute, which prohibited one from killing a child `in a state of being born and before actual birth,' was not under attack. This interest becomes compelling as the child emerges from the maternal body. A child that is completely born is a full, legal person entitled to constitutional protections afforded a `person' under the United States Constitution. Partial-birth abortions involve the killing of a child that is in the process, in fact mere inches away from, becoming a `person'. Thus, the government has a heightened interest in protecting the life of the partially-born child.

Yet D&X or "partial-birth" isn't the only procedure that at this point to protect the health and/or life of the mother under conditions where the fetas has become essentially non-viable, but is not neccesarily still-born.

From Raw Story:

What the guys on sidewalks with giant pictures on sandwich boards don’t tell you is that {D&X} was developed as an alternative to an older, more ghastly procedure: dilation and evacuation. This is when the mother is partially dilated and some sort of grasping tool is used to pull the fetus out—piece by piece.

This procedure is somewhat dangerous to the mother, though, as bones begin to calcify at about 13 weeks gestation (24 weeks is the legal point of viability, at which time states are allowed to limit abortion rights), and shards or even entire body parts can be accidentally left in the uterus after the fetus is dismembered inside, causing infection and other injury.

Congratulations, right-to-lifers! Now that the safer alternative is illegal, this even more horrific procedure is what doctors will once again have to resort to. You haven’t stopped a single abortion, but you’ve placed the slutty mother’s life at risk. You must be proud.

So with all the above in mind, let's see what law describes as actions, if performed by a doctor ,are now a Federal Crime (and note that there are some loopholes and exceptions.)

Sec. 1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited

    `(a) Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself. This subsection takes effect 1 day after the enactment.
    `(b) As used in this section--
      `(1) the term `partial-birth abortion' means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion--
        `(A) deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and
        `(B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus;

As I read this legislation, it appears that the two partial-birth abortions noted by Raw Story would be exempt from prosecution if it was likely the mother would die, but not neccesarily if she might be at risk of significant injury including sterility. The doctor in question would have to demonstrate to their local medical board that the life of the mother was at risk.

His other option would be to perform the far more risky, Dilation and Evacuation.

The question then is exactly who would fall into the group of women needing this procedure to protect their health, but are now prohibited from receiving this care by law?

According to this Chart from the CDC (below) Over the past 15 years the rate of abortions has taken a significant downturn.



It should be noted that several states (Alaska, California, West Virginia and Oklahoma) have not provide all of their data to the CDC since 1998, but even which that limitation this overall sampling is instructive. Between 1994 and 1998 the number of legal abortions recording by the CDC fell from a total 1,333,520 to 1,186,039 a total drop of 147,481 per year or 11%. However that level of decline has not continued, based on the available numbers - excluding the non-reporting states - 1998 total was 884,273 which by 2003 had reached 839,713 for a reduction of 44,560 per year or just 5.03%. In fact, between 2001 and 2002 the abortion rate actually increase by 1,400. (Which indicates that Howard Dean was quite right to say that abortions have increased under George W. Bush)

One truly alarming state is that fact that childen less than 15 are significantly more likely to have an abortion (in ratio to 1000 live births) than women of other ages. (See Figure 2)



Fortunately the stats indicate that only 4,581 such abortions occured in 2003 (only 0.6% of the total) however the general trend for the past several years has been for abortions specifically among teens and young teens to be on the increase, which may explain why the overall abortion numbers have remained essentially flat since 2002 (See Figure 3)



(From Table 5. Not shown) The 2003 stats for legal abortions for children less than 15 years of age is 4,229. In 2002 that figure was 4,196 which is the lowest it's been since the 70's, reversing the trend of previous years where in 2001 it was 4,319 and in 2000 it was 4,537.

Not only do children of this age range have a higher rate of seeking abortions, they also have a higher rate of seeking late abortions (after the first 16 weeks of gestation) where procedures such as "partial-birth" are more likely to be employed due a several problems with the fetus and/or pregnancy.


Even though the available CDC data indicates that only 1.4% of abortions occured after the 21 week gestation period (and prior to the 24 week cut-off) that still accounts for over 9.383 incidents in 2004. Clearly not all of these procedure would fall under "partial-birth" procedure and even for those that did, only some could legitimately be used to protect the life of the mother and thus be protected by the current exception in the law - while others would be prohibited.

The National Right to Life Coalition has claimed in 2003, using numbers from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), which they assert are more accurate since they don't they survey doctors directly rather than depend on reporting through the states, that the number of "partial-birth" abortions in 2000 was over 2200.

For the second survey in a row, AGI asked abortionists how many of what it calls "Dilation and Extraction" (D&X) abortions the abortionists performed. These are partial-birth abortions. AGI projects there were some 2,200 performed in 2000, which it says represents only 0.17% of all abortions.

At this point it's very difficult to tell exactly what the impact will be. It's possible that some doctors may attempt to dodge the law in order to fulfill thier hippocratic oath and preserve not just the life but also the health of their patients. Some may simply option for the riskier, but apparently still legal evacuation procedure since no actual birth, partial or otherwise occurs. And still another group may comply with the law and allow severe injury to their female patients in order to protect themselves from prosecution and jail.

But what we do know is that a high and growing proportion of these women will be young girls, particularly teenages under the ages of 19 and even 15 who will be permently affective by this supreme court decision for the remainder of their lives - if they're lucky enough to survive at all.

Vyan

Gingrich blames "Liberalism" for Va. Tech Killings

Yes, that's right - following in the dark path of Laura Ingraham's ex-boy toy Dinesh D'Souza (who this past January began his his whirl-wind tour of blaming the left for 9/11) disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared on This Week with George Stephanapolous and proceeded to blame elite liberals for the massacre at Virginia Tech.


Almost ten years ago Gingrich originally laid the blame for Columbine at the feet of liberals.

July 20, 1999

"I want to say to the elite of this country - the elite news media,the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton, and I accuse you in Kosovo of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don't have the courage to look at the world you have created."

Today Stephanopolous quoted those words back to him, and asked them if he would apply them to Virginia Tech. He said...

Yes.

I think the the fact is, when you look at the amount of violence we have in games that young people play at 7, 8 , 10, 12, 15 years of age, if you look at the dehumanization, if you look at the fact that we refuse to say that we are infact endowed with (sic) our creator, that our rights come from God - if you kill somebody you're committing and act of evil.

First of all, there's a Rating System for Video Games which is intended to give parents the option control over exactly what kind of material their kids are exposed to. If 8-year-old little Johnny is up all night chasing down ho's and blowing up police cars at 3 am playing Grand Theft Auto: Babylon that's a failure of parenting, not "liberalism."

That is of course unless they're too busy playing "LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces" where they act as members of the Tribulation Force intent on either converting or using paramilitary equipment and tactics to kill all non-believers (y'know Catholics and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and Gays and stuff) who refuse to accept the teachings of the one and only true JEEZus CHrisT into their hearts and join their brethen in the glory of the Rapture ™ .

The game revolves around New Yorkers who are "left behind" after the rapture. Players scour the streets for converts, training them into a work force to feed, shelter and join a paramilitary resistance against the growing forces of the Antichrist.

Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon, whose company went public in February, says the game’s Christian themes will grab the audience that didn’t mind gore in "The Passion of the Christ." "We’ve thought through how the Christian right and the liberal left will slam us," says Lyndon. "But megachurches are very likely to embrace this game." Though it will be marketed directly to congregations, Forces will also have a secular ad campaign in gaming magazines.

You suspect that was the kind of video game which recognizes we are "endowed by our creator" that Gingrich was talking about?

Now, it might have been fair to note that Kleibold and Harris - the Columbine killers - were hard-core Doom addicts, and that one could make the argument that what they did was essentially create a live action version of that game at their high school - but at the same time you'd have to ignore the fact that despite how popular that game has been over the last 15 years NOBODY ELSE has ever attempting anything so insane or heinous since that time. Well, 'til now.

Similarly, one could argue that they were trying to create a real-life version of the film "The Matrix" - with it's flashy gunplay and big black trench-coats - but that doesn't make such rank speculation neccesarily true either.

Of course at the time people were much too busy incorrectly blaming singer Marilyn Manson (whom Kleibold and Harris didn't like or listen too) to really pay attention to the issues of over-prescribed anti-depressants which seems to have had a marked tendency to promote suicidal and dangerous behavior particularly in young people.

It's odd and interesting that in Gingrich's original statement he tied Columbine to Kosovo, considering the fact that the Republican Congress which had been under his control opposed the efforts of President Clinton to bring that genocidal conflict to an end. From Salon.

"Instead of Theodore Roosevelt's 'talk softly and carry a big stick,' we have yelled and carried a toothpick." -- Ever-pleasant former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, breaking his silence this week to address a group of Republican women, on what he terms Clinton's "pathetic" Kosovo policy

History has shown that Clinton's efforts in Kosovo were ultimately successful and saved the lives of countless thousands - while Gingrich would have had the Congress tie his hands behind his back and add unneccesarily pork-barrel projects to his supplemental funding bill.

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 28) -- In order to "maintain our military readiness," President Bill Clinton urged Congress Wednesday to quickly pass his $6 billion emergency appropriations request to pay for the U.S. operations in the Balkans without doubling the funding amount.

"Let me stress that my request fully funds our military and humanitarian needs in Kosovo," Clinton said. "Congress should resist the temptations to add unrelated expenditures, even important ones, which could delay the process, because that would undermine the very goals that this funding is intended to meet."

Gee, that's sounds awfully familiar doesn't it?

To his credit Stephanopolous refused to give Gingrich a pass on his comments and pressed him.

Stephanopolous: But what does that have to do with "Liberalism"?

Gingrich: Well, who has created a situation - ethics - zone of not being able to talk about any of these things?

Gee, I give up - the All Powerful and Might Easter Bunny?

Gingrich: Let me give you another example...

"Another", where was the first one?

The Grinch: I strongly supported Imus being dismissed.

Thank Jehova for small favors.

Grinchman: But I also think the very thing he was dismissed for - which is the use of language - which is stunningly degrading of women -

Ok, I'm with you so far... and?

Grinchigan: The fact is that one of the Halloween Costumes this year was to either be a prostitute or a pimp at 10, 11, 12 years of age, buying a costume...

Ah, the new Britney and K-Fed Line © is out I see. Oh, and yet again technically that was mommy and daddy buying their little sugar-lumps the prostitute couture, I think.

Grinchmiester : Ah, and we don't have any discussion of what's happening to our culture because we're restricting political free-speech under McCain-Feingold...

We're What!?? Have you seen the Swift-Boat Ads!??? How about the Harry Ford "Call me, Mandigo" Ad that the RNC did - or maybe didn't - approve and pay for?

Grinchit: It's impossible to restrict vulgar, and vicious and anti-human speech, and I would submit that that's a major component of what's happened to our culture over the last 40 years.

Wow. Ok, who was it that went absolutely ape-shit over Janet Jackson's right nipple on broadcast TV and proceeded to up the FCC fines by 10 times? Who fined Howard Stern for $495,000 and forced him off terestrial radio? At the same time who is it that refuses to use the already existing prohibitions in the FCC regs against Vulgar and Profane speech to give a little financial pause to the vicioous bile spewing from the likes of Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Dennis Prager?

Hint: It aint those damn dirty Liberals.

Gingrich of course has history of playing the blame the Liberal game. From Thinkprogress.

- In 1994, after Susan Smith confessed to drowning her two children in South Carolina, Gingrich quickly blamed liberals, saying the only way to avoid similar future incidents was "to vote Republican."

- After former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) was forced to resign over his sexually inappropriate behavior towards House pages, Gingrich declared that conservatives didn’t act to stop Foley because they "would have been accused of gay bashing" by liberals.

- At the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Gingrich blamed the residents of New Orleans’ 9th ward for "a failure of citizenship," by being "so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane."

Instead of looking at the fact that according the FBI Uniform Crime Reports the rate of violent crime in the United States has been on a steady decline since 1992.

Murder has dropped from 757.5 incidents per 100,000 people down to 469.2 in 2005. A reduction of 39% over a 15 year period.

Looking back over the last Ten Years the average reduction in the rate for all violent crime is down 26%. Murder and Non-negligent Homocide is down 24%. Forcible Rape is down 12.7%. The Robbery Rate is down 30% and Assault is down 25.5%.

Instead of looking at these facts, and the failures in mental health-care supervision and followup which after diagnosing Cho as "a danger to himself and others" clearly failed to help prevent the mass murder he commited at Virginia Tech, Gingrich - oppurtunistic vampire that he is - prefers to play partisan political games with the lives and memories of our lost friends and loved ones.

That, in my opinion, is what I truly think is profane and obscene speech.

Vyan