Saturday, June 16

Do Neo-Con/Artists really believe their own B.S.?

Do the wingnuts really believe their own bull-crap our are they just trying to convince the rest of us by convincing themselves?

Case in point: Poor Little Timmeh Griffin, in the midst of crying his eyes out because It's Hard out there for a Political Pimp, says he's been so misunderstood, and the Internets are so mean...

Obviously, I’ve seen the Internet stuff about caging. First of all, the allegations that are on the Internet and have spread through the tabloids are completely and absolutely false, number one. And ridiculous. Caging, as you may know, I had it looked up, is a direct-mail term for basically organizing returned mail. ... And I’ll just say that it’s so untrue. ... This is all made up and faux pas. I didn’t cage votes, I didn’t cage mail, I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper.

Pardon me, but did he just call African American Soldiers in Iraq - Animals?

First of all, the entire "Caging" stuff didn't come from "The Internets" or from "Tabloids" - it came from the BBC and Greg Palast's New York Times Best Seller "Armed Madhouse."

Via Truthout...

A confidential campaign directed by GOP party chiefs in October 2004 sought to challenge the ballots of tens of thousands of voters in the last presidential election, virtually all of them cast by residents of Black-majority precincts.

Files from the secret vote-blocking campaign were obtained by BBC Television Newsnight, London. They were attached to emails accidentally sent by Republican operatives to a non-party website.

One group of voters wrongly identified by the Republicans as registering to vote from false addresses: servicemen and women sent overseas.

...

Here's how the scheme worked: The RNC mailed these voters letters in envelopes marked, "Do not forward", to be returned to the sender. These letters were mailed to servicemen and women, some stationed overseas, to their US home addresses. The letters then returned to the Bush-Cheney campaign as "undeliverable."

The lists of soldiers of "undeliverable" letters were transmitted from state headquarters, in this case Florida, to the RNC in Washington. The party could then challenge the voters' registration and thereby prevent their absentee ballot being counted.

According to these emails, Tim Griffin was intimately involved in these attempts to block black servicemen - who were very likely to be Democrats - from their right to vote.

"Caging" is not just a "direct mail term" - it's a violation of the Voting Rights Act and oh by the way - it's unconstitutional.

Amendment XV

Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Tim didn't have to "have it looked up" - he was the one who told Monica Goodling about it as he bragged that the U.S. Press hadn't yet picked up the BBC story.

Palast first reported on the caging list operation for BBC Television’s premier current affairs show, Newsnight, in 2004. In a February 7, 2007 email obtained by subpoena from Rove’s office, Griffin boasted that, "No [US] national media picked up" the BBC story. Griffin attached an excerpt of Armed Madhouse.

Griffin sent his remarks to Monica Goodling

It should also be noted, for the few of us who've been hiding under a rock for the past couple weeks, that Griffin's tearful depature as the Non-Senate Confirmed Interim U.S. Attorney for Arkansas ended abruptly after Greg Palast shared all of his documentation on that little "direct mailing scheme" of his with Judiciary Chairman John Conyers.

Tim Griffin, formerly right hand man to Karl Rove, resigned Thursday as US Attorney for Arkansas hours after BBC Television ‘Newsnight’ reported that Congressman John Conyers requested the network’s evidence on Griffin’s involvement in ‘caging voters.’

Coincidence? I think not.

This is not made up. This is not a faux pas.

Tim now says that "Public Service isn't worth it" as he goes from one public service job as a U.S. Attorney with no practical prosecutorial experience to a public service job working in the presidential campaign of a guy who hasn't yet announced he's running for president.

A regular Mr. Private Sector that Griffin is.

Maybe the fact that he couldn't find a job for a reputable law firm has something to do with it.

"His timing is just bad," says a Washington recruiter at a national search firm. "He’s a politico, not a litigator, which people just don’t care about. If you’re a U.S. attorney with no experience someone is not going to bring you on board to create or enhance a practice."

Now it's fairly unlikely that Justice will ever be served in Tim's case since his ole pal Monica and Brad Scholzman have already purged and politicized the DOJ's Civil Rights Division of practically anyone who might actually try to prosecute Mr. Griffin for his crimes by filling it with "Good (white male christian right-wing) Americans."

I admit I might be reading between the lines here but I wonder - why should they care if a few "black animals" lost their right to vote, eh?

Or even worse - if some of those Damn-dirty Democrats had their civil rights violated?

So Griffin can cry his crocodile tears about how he's been treated so unfairly and is now a pariah in the legal profession he's worked "so hard" to master, but he's still going to get off scott free instead of serving the five years in federal prison he deserves for voter suppression.

Who'se he trying to kid? The rest of us or himself?

Vyan

Friday, June 15

DOJ Inspector General looking into Obstruction by Gonzo

From Thinkprogress.

The Senate Judiciary Committee revealed today that the Justice Department’s Inspector General Glenn Fine is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may have acted unethically or illegally by attempting to "coach" Monica Goodling’s testimony.

As we all should know AG Gonzales set a new land-speed record for "I don't recall" during his own Congressional testimony on the Attorney firings matter. He justified this lack of recollection by claiming that...

I haven't talked to any of the witnesses

...which would have been his own staff, regarding the matter. However as was revealed during Monica Goodling's testimony to the House - he did speak with her. And even a crack justice expert like Monica didn't think it...

was appropriate for us to talk at that point.

Apparently neither does the DOJ's Inspector General.

Responding to a letter from Sen. Leahy regarding this matter, Fine responded.

In your letter, you referred to Monica Goodling’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on May 23, 2007, in which she stated that she had a meeting with the Attorney General in which the process leading to the removal of certain U.S. Attorneys was discussed. You asked whether our investigation includes this matter.

This is to confirm that the scope of our investigation does include this matter.

Let me just say that this just might mean that Alberto Gonzales may be in early stage Libby mode, because Obstruction of Justice happens to be one of the charges that will be putting him behind bars for 30 months.

If carried through to it's full conclusion, this investigation could very easily lead to a Grand Jury and indictment of Gonzales, but before we get too optimistic that this little barnicle might be removed from the Halls of Justice we have to remember what an outstanding job the DOJ has done at investigating itself so far.

Pat Leahy certainly has his doubts.

The last time an internal investigation at the Department of Justice got too close for comfort the White House shut it down. I hope this investigation will not suffer the same fate as the OPR inquiry into the warrantlesss wiretapping program. This internal investigation is an important step in getting to the truth behind this matter, and they should be allowed to do their jobs without interference from this Administration.

That OPR investigation which was intended to determine if the information which had been gathered via the NSA's domestic spying program had been misused was derailed by a lack of security access. Access which had been denied - according to Testimony by Alberto Gonzales - under the discretion and direction of the President.

But despite this I happen to feel that there are reasons for optimism that some measure of justice just might be implemented. Unlike the NSA case, security clearances are not at issue in the DOJ Attorney firing situation - so that avenue of blockages is closed. Secondly the FBI's own internal investigation - which parralleled the OPR's attempted audit - looked into the use and abuse of national security letters and discovered that the agency had potentially violated the law and it's own rules more than 1000 times.

And this was from only a sample of just ten percent of their domestic spying cases.

Just as the FBI wasn't able to block this audit, I think it's unlikely that DOJ will be able to block the efforts of it's own Inspector General as Leahy suggests.

But then again, with the Administration, practically anything seems possible and highly probable particular when it involves covering up for the President's misdeeds.

Vyan

P.S.

As some of us might not recall, one of the suggested articles for the Impeachment of Bill Clinton supplied by Kenneth Starr to the House judiciary commitee was the allegation that Clinton had attempted to Witness Tamper and Obstuct Justice with his secretary Betty Currie by questioning her regarding the other Monica immediately after his own deposition in the Jones case - even though Betty Currie was not a witness in that case and at that time Starr did not have authority to investigate Lewinsky (even though he already was). With this precedent in place, the House juduciary committee already has plenty of evidence to Impeach Gonzales for Contempt of Congress, Obstruction and attempted Witness Tampering with This Monica.

How ironic would that be?

Thursday, June 14

It's a Progresive Nation After All

A new report from the Campaign for America's Future and Media Matters covering several years has finally revealed The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America Is a Myth!

Rather than being simply a set of unsubstantiated and unverified claims, as we have long grown accustomed to from the corporate media, this report takes a serious in depth look at what the majority of the country truly believes, and exactly what type of policies they really do support.

Can you hear the steam coming out of Brit Hume's ears from here?

Perception Vs Reality.

The report first goes a long way to give examples of how various media figures have a the drop of any number of hats proclaimed with great fanfare that "America is a Conservative Nation."

Guess what - No, It's Not.

But that hasn't slowed the proclaimers down much.

Brit Hume on Election Night 2006 as Democrats gave the GOP "A thumping" in Congress.

...from what we can see, from all the polling and everything else, it remains a conserative country.


It's not like Brit bothered to mention what polling he was referring too.

Glenn Beck on the same evening.

The Majority of Americans seem in favor of classically republican points of view


But it hasn't been just Conservatives who repeated this lie over and over again.

CNN's Candy Crowley.

(Democrats have been) on the wrong side of the values debate, the defense debate and oh yes, the gun debate


But here's the thing, what do people really believe? Should we have a strong and effective government or weak ineffective one? Should we trust industry more to handle our needs fairly? Is greater globalization good for the American economy? Do people favor a minimum wage increase? Are Taxes too High? Should we spur the economy with investment or more tax cuts?

This report provides a few answers for those questions which some of the above "journalists" might have a difficult time reconciling.

The report itself contains a lot of detail, but here are just some of the cliff notes in high resolution for the fact-challenged among us. (Click Image to View Fullsize)

Do Americans Want More Government?



In 2004, respondants to an NES study wanted more government services even if it meant more spending compared to those who wanted to cut spending by a margin of 43 to 23 percent.


Should Women have a Fair Share in the Workplace?



A 2004 NPR/Kaiser/Harvard University Poll found that Americans preferred comprehensive sex education (which included accurate information about contraception) to "abstinence only" programs by a margin of 67 to 30%.

Moral Values?



Abortion?



Taxes?



Trust in Business?



In 2007, 58% felt doubt in the trustworthiness of business to strike a "fair balance" for the public compared to 38% who didn't. (PEW Research)

Is the Minimum Wage current sufficient?



...[A Los Angeles Times Poll in the aftermath of the 2006] election found that 77% of Americans thought "Congress should pass legislation to increase the minimum wage."

Income Disparity?



According to the Wall Street Journal (Oct 2005), 53% of respondent felt that the Bush Tax Cuts were not worth it, while 38% felt that they were.

Gays?



AP/IPSOS only 3% of Americans ranked "Gays" as being the "most important" issue in January of 2007.

Crime and Punishment?



Should Government Spend more on The People who need it?



The PEW Research Center found that over the last 20 years more than two-thirds of Americans (69%) felt that "Government should take care of those who can not take care of themselves."

What's intesting about many of these studies is that they haven't been hidden all this time, they come from major sources such as PEW, the Washington Post and L.A. Times.

This all should be very old news - but intestingly, it isn't?

And that's the real story here, that despite the fact that for decades the majority - and in some cases the vast majority - of the nation has been leaning more and more to the left on specific policy issues than we've all been led to believe.

Why?

Because the increasing minority of conservatives have managed to remain the squeakiest wheels in the car for all that time.

I think it's about time some of us Progressives learned to Squeak - Loudly.

In the meanwhile, a few of these facts, figures and charts just might come in handy the next time your sitting across the table from your wing-nut neighbor/father-in-law/sister/cousin/boss and they start spouting off about how "Conservative" America really is.

Vyan

Wednesday, June 13

New DOJ Emails link WH,Rove to Attorney Firings

Today the Justice Dept turned over another 46 pages of emails between the White House and DOJ concerning the Attorney firings which clearly show that there was a great deal of involvment specifically from members of Karl Rove's Office. Case in point - the recently resigned WH political affairs director Sara Taylor to Kyle Sampson on Tim Griffin.

"Tim was put in a horrible position; hung out to dry w/ no heads up," Taylor lashed out in the e-mail, which was sent from a Republican Party account rather than from her White House e-mail address. "This is not good for his long-term career."

Former Rove assistant Tim Griffin being installed as a U.S. Attorney in place of Bud Cummins who was apparently removed for no reason other than to create an opening for Griffin isn't the biggest thing he's going to have to worry about in his future career. I think the Voter Caging Thingy might just be a wee bit worse.

But note this, to Taylor although Cummins is the one who got fired and it's Griffin she's worried about?

As it has since turned out just two days after Taylor's resignation Tim Griffin resigned as U.S. Attorney for Arkansas - since, y'know his position was "impossible" and all (Boy, you can say that again) - and then he actually did have a bit of a problem with the subsequent job hunt, until he found a nice cushy political position with the Fred Thompson Campaign.

Which is real funny since Fred's not official running - yet.

Oh well, so much for gumming it to death.

And oh yeah, let's not forget that most of these email were not sent from Taylor's White House account, but were instead being transmitted through her RNC Blackberry in yet another example of attempts to by-pass the Presidential Records Act.

Let's just say that Sen Leahy is not amused.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the documents "provide further evidence that White House officials like former political director Sara Taylor were deeply involved in the mass firings of well-performing prosecutors."

Ya think?

Naturally the White House's third string shill thinks this is much-ado-about nothing really since most of these emails are about the aftermath of the firings...

"I know this is becoming terribly frustrating for Democrats, but once again documents show no wrongdoing in the decision to replace U.S. attorneys," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

Well, gee Tony maybe that's because so far the White House has refused to release the emails from before the firings which just might or might not show there was "no wrongdoing" there either except for the fact that there were people in the White House are talking about Government Business through their RNC Blackberry, and the fact that all of these DOJ emails have been under subpeona for over a month and have just now suddenly shown up even though the RNC initially claimed that they LOST THEM.

So they finally decided to look under the couch cushions did they?

"No Wrongdoing here... move along now, move along."

Yeah, right.

And it's not like we've seen the deliberate effort by the White House to hide public information - from the public. Things like say Cheney requesting that the Secret Service scrub the White House Visitor Logs.

Maybe the entire Jeff Gannon/Guckert incident(s) had something to do with that, and then again, maybe not. It's not like the public has a right to know how many times a gay prostitute masquerading as a "journalist" has been doing the in/out at the White House front desk.

So far Rove's office has lost Griffin, Taylor and not long ago immediately after the revelations by David Kuo concerning that "f*cking faith based thing" and "the nuts" former Jack Abramof assistant Susan Ralston resigned from Rove's office. (You'll also remember Ralson was the second person following Monica Goodling to invoke the fifth amendment and seek immunity before Congress in the last few weeks)

That's not exactly a stellar track record their ol' Turd Blossom.

At this rate Witness Protection is going to have to create a special ex-Rove assistant division, meanwhile Karl is going to have to setup a Job Fair to replace all his fallen tin-soldiers.

On the DOJ side we've had Sampson, McNulty and Goodling all hit the bricks.

Bit by bit the details of this little cauldron of corruption are slowly being peeled back like an union and the casualties are mounting up.

It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of proto-fascists.

Vyan

Monday, June 11

Quick Truths

From Thinkprogress.


American commanders are turning to a strategy “that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.” Critics say the plan “could amount to the Americans’ arming both sides in a future civil war.”

Today’s no-confidence vote on Attorney General Gonzales deserves the vote of every senator “concerned about the American justice system,” the New York Times opines. “The Justice Department is in shambles. Top officials have left under a cloud and have not been replaced. Morale is said to be terrible.” Bush derided the vote as “meaningless.”

“At least one-third of the immigration judges appointed by the Justice Department since 2004 have had Republican connections or have been administration insiders, and half lacked experience in immigration law,” a new Washington Post analysis shows.

“The Taliban carried out an apparent attempt to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday, firing rockets that missed him by several hundred yards as he spoke to a group of elders. No one was injured.”

“In what may be a sign of things to come, the lawyers for I. Lewis Libby Jr. last month invoked the rarely used courtroom tactic: the ‘bloggers can be mean’ defense.” Libby’s lawyers urged the judge not to publicly release letters written in support of their client, given “the real possibility that these letters, once released, would be published on the Internet and their authors discussed, even mocked, by bloggers.”

Sunday, June 10

Powell: Close Gitmo Now!

This morning on Meet the Press former Secretary of State Colin Powell strongly denounced America's use of Guantanemo Bay to detain terrorist suspects as well as the Military Commission system which so far, has completely failed to implement justice for even a single detainee.

Watch it:

[It's] a major problem for America’s perception. Iif it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo — not tomorrow, this afternoon.
But it's not like he would simply let them go....
I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system.
Preempting the argument that this might give some of them "access to lawyers" and "habeas corpus".
So what? Let them. Isn’t that what our system’s all about? And oh, by the way, we have over 2 Million people in our jails who all had access to lawyers and habeas corpus - we know how to handle bad people in this country.
Then he truly hit the nail on the head when it comes to why some in our government continue to insist on the need for Gitmo.
[E]very morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere, is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds,
That's right kiddies, we've been hiding these people in Gitmo not because of what they've done - but because of what we've done to them in our efforts to gain information using illegal methods. The entire Military Commissions Act was designed to protect and hide the use of coercive interrogation techniques, to allow for the use of that coereced evidence and even stripped away the 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination. As Jonathan Turley has pointed out...
It's only through Habeas, that you have access to all your other rights.
By striping Habeas from "alien unlawful enemy combatants" the MCA attempted to block access to all of their rights, because without that one - none of the others can even be addressed. This strategy was the perfect follow-on to the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 which claimed to prohibit torture, yet at the same time blocked the ability of detainees to bring mistreatment claims before a court in their own defense. So sure, "we don't torture" - but if we did, there's nothing anyone can do about it is there?

Exactly why some people seem enamoured with this Jack Bauer bullshit is beyond me. It doesn't even work in fantasyland. Last night I saw a 24 rerun, where they captured CTU techinician Gial after he had been helping the Salazar Cartel as Jack broke it's leader out of prison. Ryan Chappele ordered chemical torture techniques to be used on him and guess what... he didn't break. Not until Tony Almeada showed up and let them know he, Gial and Jack had been setting up and undercover sting operation on the Salazars.

Oops.

And now we've taken this cowardly macho bullcrap and implemented it internationally. U.S. CIA operatives are being tried for kidnapping in Italy. Many of our own NATO allies are furious with us over our Secret Prisons.

We don't need to do this, we never did - just as Powell summarized.
[W]e have shaken the belief that the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open… We don’t need it, and it’s causing us far more damage than any good we get for it.
Amen to that.

It's feuling the international Jihad, it's fueling the insurgency. It's part of the perpetual insurgency engine. It's long past time we switched that engine off.

Vyan