Saturday, May 19, 2007

Independents Unbound: The New Shadow Government! Buy A Gun. Be Ready To Shoot Yourself.


Independents Unbound: The New Shadow Government! Buy A Gun. Be Ready To Shoot Yourself.

Connecting The Dots On Grand Theft; Democracy

Clammyc, at Kos, does a bang up job connecting some dots. Too bad he/she feels the need to apologize for the great work.

Probably one reason most of us don't read Kos anymore.

Too many topics are off limit or must be written with apologies all around, for breaching a forbidden or unpopular topic.

clammyc's diary :: ::

After 2000, I thought something was up (as did many others). But I thought it was more related to the butterfly ballot and a horrific Supreme Court decision that couldn’t even be cited as precedent and would ultimately be the impetus for change in the right direction. Man was I wrong. As the next few years passed, I became more and more suspicious, but after the 2004 election, there were too many others that said, "move along, nothing to see here" or "it’s always been like this, so what are you going to do about it?"

And as more and more information came out, whether it was through the most excellent Brad Blog, Talking Points Memo, ePluribus Media or even through Black Box Voting (which, while certainly far from perfect, it did keep this issue out in the open) and the reports of exit polls being so far off for the first time ever that it defied all logic and reason, there was more and more suspicion.

But it was really just that – suspicion and a growing suspicion. However, the US Attorney purge has really opened the door to a number of, frankly shocking, issues, events and "coincidences" that certainly go a long way towards confirming a concerted effort by the republican party (as well as the RNC itself), this administration, the Department of Justice, Diebold and republican linked organizations to either manipulate the votes, disenfranchise large numbers of probably Democratic voters, change the makeup of voting districts, purge the voting rolls and otherwise skew the elections or give the republicans a distinct advantage.

Hence, I am not using the terms "voter fraud" or "voting fraud" – but am consciously using "election fraud" – which to me indicates that there was intent to skew the actual election process in favor of republicans. I will try to keep the tin foil hattery to a minimum and not provide any of my personal thoughts or assertions. But what I hope to do here is to provide some of the major pieces to a puzzle that to me would certainly give a large amount of evidence that something massive was going on with respect to ensuring the "permanent republican majority" that Tom DeLay and Karl Rove envisioned.

The US Attorney Purge

I’ll start with this, because it is the most recent, and instead of the allegations and statistics that have been used in the past, this shows (at least to me) a more than coincidental connection between the replacement of US Attorneys and their willingness to pursue voter fraud cases and other cases that would "assist" republicans in certain elections which were thought to be close. I am not going to provide the background of the purge, but will indicate that there were a few things that should be noted:

This was truly unprecedented. According to an article in Salon, the Congressional Research Service issued a report that indicated that between 1981 and 2006, only five of the 486 U.S. attorneys failed to finish their four-year terms, and none were fired for political reasons.

There were numerous options being considered between 2005 and 2006 with respect to the US Attorneys. At different points, there was talk about dismissing all 93 US Attorneys, dismissing 26 attorneys, other lists dismissing thirteen, nine, five, eight and seven attorneys;

Approximately nine "battleground states" had their US Attorney on the list at some point, and as McClatchy reported earlier this week, " In at least seven states, it now appears, U.S. attorneys were fired or considered for firing as Republicans in those states urged investigations or prosecutions of alleged Democratic voter fraud.";

The PATRIOT ACT reauthorization in 2005 allowed for a change into how interim US Attorneys would be appointed, resulting in the ability for replacements to bypass Senate confirmation and serve until the end of the President’s term.

Let’s look at a few of these Attorneys:

Washington District Attorney John McKay, a man who received excellent performance reviews, was fired. And coincidentally, his dismissal is widely speculated to have been related to his not bringing (nonexistent) voter fraud charges in the 2004 Gubernatorial election.

New Mexico District Attorney David Iglesias was added to the list of attorneys to be fired on Election Day 2006 after being threatened by NM Senator Pete Dominici (a republican) for not bringing corruption charges against a Democrat before the 2006 election (specifically public corruption charges of Albuquerque's Metropolitan Courthouse construction). Dominici reached out to Karl Rove directly in order to have Iglesias dismissed after both he and NM Representative Heather Wilson leaned on Iglesias to bring indictments before Election Day 2006.

Arkansas District Attorney Bud Cummins, the one US Attorney that Alberto Gonzales and his team backtracked from earlier assertions of "performance related dismissal", was replaced with Tim Griffin, who worked under Karl Rove at the Republican National Committee. Griffin had a large role in "caging" during the 2004 elections:

Another of the most important reasons why Griffin's appointment deserves a harder look is from his involvement in "caging," which "appeared to be" a Republican Party effort to challenge the ballots of thousands of voters in largely African American communities through mailings targeting those who were serving in Iraq. Since they were stationed out of country, they were not at the address to which the mailings were sent, and the letters were returned as "not deliverable," establishing "cause" to strike the intended recipients from the voter roles. Who sent the originating email with respect to this caging "program"? Tim Griffin.
Griffin is now being investigated FOR VOTER FRAUD for his role in the caging scheme.

Additionally, Murray Waas recently reported that the White House was concealing emails that linked Rove to Griffin’s hiring:

The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

The withheld records show that D. Kyle Sampson, who was then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, consulted with White House officials in drafting two letters to Congress that appear to have misrepresented the circumstances of Griffin's appointment as U.S. attorney and of Rove's role in supporting Griffin.

New Jersey District Attorney Chris Christie was on the November 1, 2006 list as well as an earlier list in January 2006 (contrary to prior reports), which would appear to be a "cover" for other US Attorneys that were to be fired. Christie seems to be one who wouldn’t make any list that would be penalizing those who weren’t "loyal Bushies", since he was a "Bush Pioneer" in 2000, "raising" over $100,000 for Bush. Additionally, the 2006 NJ Senate race was a pretty close one for much of the year, and during September 2006, there were leaks to the press about a corruption probe into Democratic Senator Menendez. While this was meant to give Kean a push, it was not only largely dismissed by the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time but nothing ever came of the probe. My guess is that Christie was put on the list as a cover for some of the other attorneys and there was little to no intention to ever fire him, but it could also be due to the fact that his probe into Menendez didn’t result in Kean winning the election.

Western Missouri District Attorney Todd Graves was dismissed in March 2006, replaced by Bradley Schlozman (a man with no prosecutorial experience). Schlozman was a political appointee to the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Section (remember this group as I will discuss it in detail below) before being appointed as replacement for Graves. The reason behind this change? Voter fraud prosecutions:

Then, in March 2006, Graves was replaced by a new US attorney -- one who had no prosecutorial experience and bypassed Senate confirmation. Bradley Schlozman moved aggressively where Graves had not, announcing felony indictments of four workers for a liberal activist group on voter registration fraud charges less than a week before the 2006 election.
Republicans, who had been pushing for restrictive new voting laws, applauded. But critics said Schlozman violated a department policy to wait until after an election to bring voter fraud indictments if the case could affect the outcome, either by becoming a campaign issue or by scaring legitimate voters into staying home.

Also recently reported by the McClatchy Washington Bureau was a story indicating the White House was urging the Justice Department to pursue voting fraud cases against Democrats in three states BEFORE the 2006 elections:

Only weeks before last year's pivotal midterm elections, the White House urged the Justice Department to pursue voter-fraud allegations against Democrats in three battleground states, a high-ranking Justice official has told congressional investigators.
In two instances in October 2006, President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, or his deputies passed the allegations on to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson.

Sampson tapped Gonzales aide Matthew Friedrich, who'd just left his post as chief of staff of the criminal division. In the first case, Friedrich agreed to find out whether Justice officials knew of "rampant" voter fraud or "lax" enforcement in parts of New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and report back.

All in all, these are five examples of situations where the US Attorneys were directly involved in some actions around an election which had the potential to swing or impact an election. Those that went along kept their jobs or were promoted while those who did not were removed and replaced.

The Voting Rights Section at the Department of Justice

I mentioned this above with respect to Western Missouri’s Attorney Bradley Schlozman. The issue here involves Schlozman, the Voting Rights Section’s ("VRS") Special Counsel, Robert Popper and a host of others. But, consider that the Voting Rights Section is supposed to enforce the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, protect minority rights in redistricting, make sure that voters are not disenfranchised and are able to have their votes counted. Makes sense, yes?

Now consider the following (much of this can be found in a prior diary of mine):

In the Boston Globe article linked above, there was the following quote about Schlozman’s tenure at the Voting Rights Section:
There, he came into conflict with veteran staff over his decisions to approve a Texas redistricting plan and a Georgia photo-ID voting law, both of which benefited Republicans. He also hired many new career lawyers with strong conservative credentials, in what critics say was an attempt to reduce enforcement of laws designed to eliminate obstacles to voting by minorities.

"Schlozman was reshaping the Civil Rights Division," said Joe Rich , who was chief of the voting rights section until taking a buyout in 2005, in an interview. "Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law. . . . All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win."

With respect to Special Counsel Robert Popper, consider the following:
Popper has vast experience with redistricting cases – but in a way that challenges old district lines in order to redraw them "more fairly" – focusing almost exclusively on redrawing largely minority districts (a 1996 case deals with the largely minority 12th district in New York;

Other cases being pursued by the Voting Rights Section (signed by Alberto Gonzales and Robert Popper) target districts for "not properly eliminating ineligible voters from the voting rolls". As opposed to making sure that voters CAN vote – they are focusing on cleansing (my word) the voting rolls – again, in districts that have had a large increase in Democratic registrations or are largely minority districts. This includes a questionable case in Alabama, cases in New Jersey, in Maine and Indiana all dealing with the purging of voter rolls or not using electronic voting machines;

Over 50% of the career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division have been forced out in one way or another over the past two years;

These attorneys were replaced largely with people affiliated with the Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association; and

Less than half of these "new attorneys" have little to no experience in civil rights cases at all.
There are more examples in an excellent ePluribus Media story, including the following quote from one of the career attorneys who was forced out:

"Political appointees made it quite clear that they did not wish to draw on the expertise and institutional knowledge of career attorneys. Instead, there appeared to be a conscious effort to remake the Division's career staff."

A recent editorial in the LA Times contained this observation of the Justice Department under the Bush administration:
Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

Given the numerous instances of reports asserting the destruction of Democratic party voter registrations in numerous states, as well as the numerous reports of irregularities around the country, none of these were pursued by the VRS. Yet, the VRS, under Popper, Schlozman and Gonzales, chose to pursue cases where it would curtail the rights of people to have their votes counted.

2002 - New Hampshire Phone Jamming and Georgia’s "Miracle Win By Chambliss"

In 2002, John Sununu won a close Senate race. On Election Day 2002, there were charges of "phone jamming" the Democrats’ get out the vote efforts. While Sununu probably would have won even without this, there was ultimately the conviction of three NH Republican Party officials of violating Federal Communications Law:

[Charles] McGee and two other participants -- Republican National Committee regional political director James Tobin and GOP consultant Allen Raymond-- have been found guilty of criminally violating federal communications law. Tobin will be sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H.

It should be noted that right before the phone jamming scheme, there were two $5,000 contributions from Jack Abramoff clients as well as another $5,000 from Tom DeLay’s "Americans for a Republican Majority" PAC.

This paled in comparison to what went on in Georgia in 2002. An article in the September 21, 2006 Rolling Stone by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. contained a discussion with a Diebold consultant who was involved with the Georgia election in 2002. Now, this was one of the first in which the Diebold machines were used, and was also the election where Saxby Chambliss came from a five to six point deficit the week of the election to win by seven points – a near statistical impossibility. While this was dubbed a "miracle", there was much more to it than met the eye.

Essentially, as described by Christopher Hood (the former Diebold consultant), Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox basically "outsourced" the entire 2002 election process – the training, setting up of machines, counting the votes, etc. to Diebold.

As Hood described, there were unapproved and unauthorized software patches put in around the time of the Georgia primary:

Then, one muggy day in mid-August, Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold's election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a "patch," a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. "We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn't do," Hood says. "The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done."


"It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."


According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state's largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. "We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11," Hood says. "There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it's easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way." Hood personally patched fifty-six machines and witnessed the patch being applied to more than 1,200 others.
All emphasis here is mine.

During 2003, A number of reports and presentations were made throughout the United States showing why the Diebold machines should not be certified for use in elections. I’ll also point out that California unanimously voted to have the Secretary of State decertify the machines in 2004, and was considering bringing charges against the firm related to use of these machines. However, the machines were still widely used during the 2004 elections.

2004 Texas Redistricting

For those who forget the gerrymandering of the Texas House Districts which was engineered by Tom DeLay, I’ll make brief mention of it here. Through DeLay’s two PACs (Texans for a Republican Majority and Americans for a Republican Majority), the newly republican Texas Legislature in 2003 tried to ram through a redistricting plan which was hotly contested by the Democrats.

The the redistricting case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, who partially overturned in 2006, and there were two walkouts by Democrats in the Texas Legislature – precluding a quorum from existing and allowing the redistricting to occur. The Justice Department ruled that this violated the Voting Rights Act. Republicans gained 4 or 5 seats from this redistricting alone.

2004 Election – Ohio. The "fruits" of their labor

Without beating this to death, there were so many issues with the 2004 election, I’ll just make mention of them – mainly since this is already getting long, many people already know of most of these and they really are more symptoms than the root cause of the larger point of the diary.
But, I will provide links to these and a brief description of the "issues and irregularities" – pretty much all of which favored Bush and the republicans.
There was Ohio, and anything related to Ohio is not complete without Georgia10’s excellent writeup from January 2005 and eRiposte’s roundup of overall voter suppression/intimidation/suppression items from 2004.

I want to point out here that the following issues with Ohio may not be the "proof" that the election was stolen, and I am not really interested in giving my opinion of this here anyway.

What I want to do with Ohio is to provide a summary of the major issues that have been pointed out in the past. As I also said in my opening, I am also not discussing the exit poll discrepancies in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania or any other states, as even though I think it is highly fishy, there are a number of postings and people who doubt the methodology and accuracy, or don’t think this rises to a level of "fraud". Needless to say, I think that the exit polls aren’t really as pertinent to the larger picture of what I am laying out here. They are quite possibly "proof" or support for the "fruits of the larger picture" of election fraud. However, for my purpose here, the following merely serves as examples of what this effort could produce on election day.

That all being said, consider the following:
Extremely long lines in minority and predominantly Democratic districts. Nearly 100 voting machines staying in storage when they were desperately needed in such districts (I’ll point out that there was very little waiting time in republican districts).

So many "errors and issues" that would necessitate a recount, just based on the number of issues alone. Widespread voter suppression tactics, including "Democrats vote on November 3" flyers. The nonexistent terror threat in Warren County that precluded anyone from watching the votes be counted. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s connection to Florida 2000, the decision regarding voter registrations being on a certain weight paper and his being co-Chair of Bush’s reelection committee. The incredibly high voter turnout (131% in the Clyde precinct) in republican counties and just as incredibly low turnout (as low as 7%) in Democratic counties. The "fixed Ohio recount", where the tallies and counties were pre-selected. There are many more, but I don’t want this to become a rehashing of what happened in Ohio.

Again, this is not to say that every one of these (1) are related or (2) indicative of a centralized effort to commit voter fraud. However, nearly all of the irregularities and issues favored Bush and the republicans. This also doesn’t provide proof that there was hacking of the voting machines either. Yet, there were still 4,000 votes for Bush in a precinct that had 600 total voters, and too large of a number of widespread issues that were all targeting Democrats. This is not something that can all be the result of isolated incidents. Again, these are more "suppression" tactics that can be linked back to decisions made by Blackwell, who was linked to Bush’s re-election campaign.


Of course, there was the comment made by Rep. Peter King in the fall of 2004 indicating that "it’s all over but the counting, and we’ll take care of the counting". There were the exit poll discrepancies, and while there has been much debate over whether there was a problem with the way the exit polls were conducted, it is interesting to note that exit polls have been as close to the best indicator of a fair election for decades in scores of countries. The same exit polls that led to allegations of fraud and massive protests in the Ukraine right after our own 2004 elections. they do lead to questions (updated so as to not distract from the true intent of the diary)

There was also the proclamation by Diebold Executive Walden O’Dell that he would deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to Bush.

But the hundreds of instances of irregularities, suppression, disenfranchisement and possible fraud in the 2004 election are merely symptoms of the larger issue. Maybe Peter King was kidding when he uttered those words on the White House lawn and maybe O’Dell was just saying this as a Bush supporter – but sometimes the truth comes out in jest as well.

From my perspective, the whole "permanent republican majority" meme was something that really resonated. What is happening at the Voting Rights Section in the DOJ, and what has happened with the voting machine security issues, especially in light of them being run by businesses that are very cozy to the republican party. There are also other things that can not be explained at this time which may play a part as well. For example, what was in those missing emails that Rove deleted? What was the purpose of the wiretapping program that even had Ashcroft not want to recertify it? What was being done with the data mining rooms at AT&T and other facilities? Maybe it had nothing to do with keeping the "permanent republican majority". Maybe it did – but either way, there is ample evidence that the republicans over the past six years have put many things into place that "had the appearance" of tilting the scales in favor of republicans – not just on or around election day, but all throughout the Justice Department, the RNC, the Secretary of State in "key battleground states", through destroying voter registrations and through Political Action Committees (at least in NH and Texas, if not other states as well).

As I said last week, this cuts right to the heart of our democracy.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Will We Ever Understand The Blair-Bush Relationship?

Blasts Hit Green Zone During Blair Visit
May 19, 9:22 AM (ET)

BAGHDAD (AP) - Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose premiership has been dominated by his unpopular decision to join the Iraq war, arrived here on a farewell visit Saturday, and three mortar shells or rockets slammed into the compound where he met with Iraq's leaders.

The attack on Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone wounded one person, said U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor. One round hit the British Embassy compound, security officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

It was not known if Blair was in the embassy at the time, but he appeared to refer to the attack when he held a news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani after meeting with them privately.

A fourth projectile exploded just outside the Green Zone.

"Iraq was liberated from the terrible dictatorship of Saddam (Hussein) and now there are attempts to oppress it in a different ways with terrorism and violence," he said.

Blair said he told al-Maliki and Talabani that Britain would continue to support them after he left office in June, and he urged them to speed up reconciliation between Iraq's divided communities by calling new provincial elections and increasing efforts to bring tribal leaders and others linked to violence into the political process.

Blair appeared irritated at repeated news conference questions about levels of violence, saying Iraqi officials had assured him in talks that there were signs of progress on security.

"There is violence and terrorism in Iraq, but what they are saying is that there is also hope and change," Blair said.

During his 45-minute meeting with al-Maliki, which Talabani joined after it was under way, the British leader "injected a sense of urgency" into attempts to increase political representation for Sunnis, Blair's spokesman said.

Blair did not win an agreement from the Iraqi leaders to hold new provincial elections, said the spokesman, who briefs reporters only on condition of anonymity.

Blair had hoped provincial elections could take place in 2007 and that Sunni groups, who boycotted the last similar poll, would field candidates, the spokesman said.

He said tribal elders and community leaders who may be "connected with people who have committed violence" must be engaged with.

Coalition officials have been cautiously optimistic over evidence that some tribal leaders in Anbar province had ousted al-Qaida-linked insurgents hiding in their communities, Blair's spokesman said.

Britain does not favor talks with foreign terrorists, he said, but would support moves to bring those whose violence was motivated by "concerns about whether their community will have a place in the new Iraq" into the political sphere.

Blair, whose premiership has been dominated by his unpopular decision to join the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam, arrived in Iraq via Kuwait, following talks in Washington with President Bush on Thursday.

Blair told a Rose Garden news conference that Britain's next leader, current Treasury chief Gordon Brown, would continue to back al-Maliki's government, saying Iraq was a critical battleground in the fight against global terrorism.

"The forces that we are fighting in Iraq - al-Qaida on the one hand, Iranian-backed elements on the other - are the same forces we're fighting everywhere," Blair told reporters.

Britain has almost completed the process of pulling about 1,600 troops out of Iraq, leaving a force of around 5,500 based mainly on the fringes of the southern city of Basra.

Troops levels are likely to fall below 5,000 in late summer, but Blair has said British soldiers will stay in the Basra region until at least 2008 to train local forces, patrol the Iran-Iraq border and secure supply routes.

Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, will not carry out a planned tour of duty in southern Iraq with his regiment after army chiefs ruled there were specific threats to the young royal's life.

In an emotional resignation speech to members of his Labor party last week, Blair acknowledged violence directed at civilians and coalition troops in Iraq has been "fierce and unrelenting and costly."

A mounting military death toll - 148 British troops have died in Iraq since the start of the 2003 invasion - has led some Britons to call for Brown to speed up the withdrawal of British soldiers and to cool relations with Bush.

Brown said last Sunday that Britain was "a divided country over Iraq," but claimed most citizens - even those opposed to the invasion - accepted that it is in their interests to support al-Maliki's administration.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

There is something seriously wrong with Junior

Is it not horrible enough, that we have all been made international ciminals, albeit, in most cases, unwitting, by Bush and his NeoCon pals?

Must we be constantly embarrassed and humiliated by this pathetic cretin?

Bush’s royal crush

Sidney Blumenthal

The White House welcome to Britain’s queen was in keeping with the character of his presidency, says Sidney Blumenthal.

President Bush greeted Queen Elizabeth in Washington on 7 May 2007 as a royal distraction from polls showing him as the most unpopular president since Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. Bush has held the fewest number of state dinners of recent presidents, only four previous ones, but for the queen he staged a white-tie affair and even forced himself to stay up past his usual 9 o'clock bedtime.

The queen's events began with a welcoming ceremony on the south lawn of the White House. "You've dined with ten presidents", Bush read from his speech. "You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 - in 1976," he said, quickly recovering. He turned to the queen, smirked, winked, paused and then said to the crowd: "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."

Confronted with a dignified white-haired woman failing to participate in his shenanigans, Bush instantly equated her with his mother and her silence with disapproval. In his experience the most common look that a mother gives a child is censorious. The queen's presence instinctively prompted him to declare himself a naughty little boy.

Indeed, the queen and the president have had a mother-and-child-like history. During the queen's 1991 visit, then first lady Barbara Bush, anxious about her ne'er-do-well eldest son, instructed him not to speak to the queen. "The family never knows what he'll say in polite society", the Washington Post commented at the time.

"Are you the black sheep of the family?" Queen Elizabeth asked him. "I guess that might be true", he said. "Well, I guess all families have one", she replied. He asked her who the black sheep was in her family. "Appearing from out of nowhere", the Post reported, Barbara Bush swooped from across the room to save the queen, shouting, "Don't answer that!" The queen maintained her regal silence and walked away from the impertinent prince.

After presiding at a lunch for the queen at Blair House, across Pennsylvania Avenue, President Bush, walking back, heckled a Newsweek photographer, demanding that he admit it was "a special day" at the White House, and then berating him: "Then why didn't you wear something other than hand-me-down clothes?"

The photographer, however, had not received the white-tie invitation.

That afternoon, the queen attended a garden party at the British embassy for several hundred guests. Knots of neo-conservatives surged toward the canapés. Neocon New York Times columnist David Brooks, in his best imitation of Uriah Heep, wrote of the event: "Although as a child I had turtles named Disraeli and Gladstone, I was never invited to sip champagne with the queen until yesterday."

Around a tent-pole clustered the remnants of the Georgetown set that had once dominated Washington. Queen Elizabeth, attired in salmon from hat to shoes, slowly parted the sea of notables, stopping to speak to a very short elderly man, his jacket bedecked with medals - Mickey Rooney. "What does one say upon being introduced to Mickey Rooney?" I wondered to one of the old Georgetowners standing near me. "How was Ava Gardner?", he replied.

The state dinner enabled Bush to bestow grace and favour in a time of cholera. Here came three former secretaries of state - Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Colin Powell; Texas oilmen (including T Boone Pickens who funnelled $3 million to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign against Senator John Kerry in 2004); Lynne Cheney's brother; and one James Click, owner of the Jim Click Ford dealership of Tucson, Arizona, representing the Rangers (the highest rank of Bush-campaign fundraisers).

Laura Bush, a former librarian, who has made reading her special cause, invited not a single American writer. Perhaps she feared that men and women of letters might use the occasion to protest the Iraq war. (On 25 April, she remarked about the war: "No one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this.")

Also absent from the guest list were American artists, filmmakers and musicians, except violinist Itzhak Perlman, who performed after dinner.

Instead, Calvin Borel, the jockey who had just won the Kentucky Derby, 78-year-old golfer Arnold Palmer, football quarterback Peyton Manning (not related to British ambassador David Manning) and retired football player Gene Washington (Condoleezza Rice's escort) were summoned to embody American culture. The Washington Post, without the slightest ironic tone, described the dinner as the "most elegant Washington evening in a decade", or at least since Warren G Harding played poker.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Triangulating on the Truth

There is probably more than one program; at least that is our humble suspicion

Dan Froomkin - Triangulating on the Truth -

In the absence of straight answers from this administration, journalists must resort to triangulation to determine the truth.

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified in gripping detail Tuesday about the 2004 revolt by top Justice Department officials against President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. In February 2006, however, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified that 'there has not been any serious disagreement about the program that the president has confirmed.'

If both officials were testifying honestly -- and the Justice Department yesterday stood by Gonzales's testimony -- there's only one way to reconcile their statements: Prior to Comey's protest, there was much more to the program than the president has thus far confirmed.

Every now and then...You have to laugh

We know all about the overwhelming need to laugh out loud, while living in the theater of the absolute absurd.

Finding a Voice: Every now and then...:

Every now and then even in this most serious of times it is hard to suppress a fit of the giggles. It isn’t just the nervous titters that may surface inappropriately during silent prayer in a house of worship for example but rather a sardonic take on the sheer absurdity of this inept administration and the rhetoric articulated by a raft of wannabes vying for higher office.

Take the responses offered up by Alberto Gonzales at the Washington Press Club recently. Not so different from his non-answers to members of Congress they provided nonetheless amusing insights into this man’s off-beat approach to his job as Attorney General. It isn’t funny of course that he has made a mockery of one of the country’s most important institutions but that he seems so smug doing it, as if politicizing the judiciary were simply a Republican coup de grace - - something to be proud of, for which no explanation is required.

Read on, it gets more hilarious...or more suicide inducing, depending on your frame of mind.

War fund bill talks collapse

When will the Democrats learn that you can't make deals with the mob?

You shouldn't make deals with the mob.

What you do with the mob is, you put them in prison!

War fund bill talks collapse | Chicago Tribune:

WASHINGTON -- Negotiations to pay for the war in Iraq fell apart Friday as the White House accused Democrats of 'being dug in' on a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops while Democrats charged that President Bush refused to accept any accountability for how the war is proceeding.

During a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, Democratic leaders offered to drop billions of dollars in domestic spending if Bush would agree to a timetable to pull troops out of Iraq, a schedule he could waive if he deemed it militarily necessary. Top White House officials, including Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, rejected the proposal.

The Long Hot Summer

Ain't nothin' goin' away,

'cause we are not going to let it.

Words of Power: Hard Rain Journal 5-18-07: Is This The Week The USA Got Its Mojo Back?:

It is, as I have said before, going to be a long, hot summer in Beltwayistan.

The DoJ purge scandal is not going to go away. The betrayal of Valeria Plame's identity as a US secret agent is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney national insecurity team's pre-9/11 failure to heed numerous intelligence community warnings of an imminent attack by Al Qaeda is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney's regime's violations of the Geneva Accords, including its authorization and institutionalization of torture is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney's regime utter contempt for the Bill of Rights, including the suspension of habeas corpus, is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney national insecurity team's wanton 'sexing' up of intelligence in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq is not going to go away. None of it is going away.

Gonzales's Signature Moment (makes us sick)

Eugene Robinson speaks for us.

It is hard to get the image out of one's mind.

It makes you sick to your stomach.

Then, insomnia sets in, as you wonder what else they are capable of, because, on a deeper level, you know.

You've always known. Since the 60's you have known, because you experienced it, to some degree and you watched others experience it.

The flashbacks start: The loss of innocence, Kent State, Chicago, 1968, dark days of political assassinations, My Lai, apocalypse then, dead schoolmates, U.S. Naval Hospital Corps-China Beach, young people on trips -courtsey of the CIA and on and on..........

This White House gang is the same one we had back then. With the Rethugs, the faces don't change all that much. They just switch chairs, occassionally. Some die off, others, even more horrible, re-place them and the beat goes on......

Everything in your life experience points to your worst nightmare coming true.

Older and wiser? Older for sure....wiser, let's hope.

The GOP is imploding. Experience tells me that the Democrats will save them, if necessary.

God help the ordinay, appalled citizen!

Eugene Robinson - Gonzales's Signature Moment -

It just gets worse and worse. We already knew that Alberto Gonzales -- who, unbelievably, remains our attorney general -- was willing to construe the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions however George W. Bush and Dick Cheney wanted. We knew he was willing to politicize the Justice Department, if that was what the White House wanted. Now we learn that Gonzales also was willing to accost a seriously ill man in his hospital room to get his signature on a dodgy justification for unprecedented domestic surveillance.

The man Gonzales harried on his sickbed was his predecessor as attorney general, John Ashcroft. The episode-- recounted this week in congressional testimony by Ashcroft's former deputy, James Comey -- sounds like something from Hollywood, not Washington. It's hard not to think of that scene in 'The Godfather' when Don Corleone is left alone in his hospital bed, vulnerable to his enemies, and Michael has to save him. (Read On, why should you have any peace? ^)

Spying On The Home Front

At some point, after an administration decides that everyone is a suspect, everyone wakes up and decides for themselves who is really terrorizing them.

How much are we going to take before we wake up and say, NO!

Is anyone looking into the possibility that, at least, one domestic spying program was aleardy in place, prior to 9/11? Get proof of that, and the national security excuse, goes right out the window.

Spying on the Home Front: PBS domestic surveillance doc

Anonymous Digital Rights Crusader says,

Last night, PBS Frontline aired Spying on the Home Front (Link), devoted to all the ways our government is spying on us outside of normal lawful processes. With extras not included in the televised version, the episode is available in either Quicktime or Windows Media (Video Link).

From the PBS site (Link):

9/11 has indelibly altered America in ways that people are now starting to earnestly question: not only perpetual orange alerts, barricades and body frisks at the airport, but greater government scrutiny of people's records and electronic surveillance of their communications.

The watershed, officials tell FRONTLINE, was the government's shift after 9/11 to a strategy of pre-emption at home -- not just prosecuting terrorists for breaking the law, but trying to find and stop them before they strike.

President Bush described his anti-terrorist measures as narrow and targeted, but a FRONTLINE investigation has found that the National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in wiretapping and sifting Internet communications of millions of Americans; the FBI conducted a data sweep on 250,000 Las Vegas vacationers, and along with more than 50 other agencies, they are mining commercial-sector data banks to an unprecedented degree.

Even government officials with experience since 9/11 are nagged by anxiety about the jeopardy that a war without end against unseen terrorists poses to our way of life, our personal freedoms.

"I always said, when I was in my position running counterterrorism operations for the FBI, 'How much security do you want, and how many rights do you want to give up?'" Larry Mefford, former assistant FBI director, tells Smith. "I can give you more security, but I've got to take away some rights. … Personally, I want to live in a country where you have a common-sense, fair balance, because I'm worried about people that are untrained, unsupervised, doing things with good intentions but, at the end of the day, harm our liberties."

Although the president told the nation that his NSA eavesdropping program was limited to known Al Qaeda agents or supporters abroad making calls into the U.S., comments of other administration officials and intelligence veterans indicate that the NSA cast its net far more widely. AT&T technician Mark Klein inadvertently discovered that the whole flow of Internet traffic in several AT&T operations centers was being regularly diverted to the NSA, a charge indirectly substantiated by John Yoo, the Justice Department lawyer who wrote the official legal memos legitimizing the president's warrantless wiretapping program. Yoo told FRONTLINE:

"The government needs to have access to international communications so that it can try to find communications that are coming into the country where Al Qaeda's trying to send messages to cell members in the country. In order to do that, it does have to have access to communication networks."

Spying on the Home Front also looks at a massive FBI data sweep in December 2003. On a tip that Al Qaeda "might have an interest in Las Vegas" around New Year's 2004, the FBI demanded records from all hotels, airlines, rental car agencies, casinos and other businesses on every person who visited Las Vegas in the run-up to the holiday. Stephen Sprouse and Kristin Douglas of Kansas City, Mo., object to being caught in the FBI dragnet in Las Vegas just because they happened to get married there at the wrong moment. Says Douglas, "I'm sure that the government does a lot of things that I don't know about, and I've always been OK with that -- until I found out that I was included."

A check of all 250,000 Las Vegas visitors against terrorist watch lists turned up no known terrorist suspects or associates of suspects. The FBI told FRONTLINE that the records had been kept for more than two years, but have now all been destroyed.

In the broad reach of NSA eavesdropping, the massive FBI data sweep in Las Vegas, access to records gathered by private database companies that allows government agencies to avoid the limitations provided by the Privacy Act, and nearly 200 other government data-mining programs identified by the Government Accounting Office, experienced national security officials and government attorneys see a troubling and potentially dangerous collision between the strategy of pre-emption and the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Peter Swire, a law professor and former White House privacy adviser to President Clinton, tells FRONTLINE that since 9/11 the government has been moving away from the traditional legal standard of investigations based on individual suspicion to generalized suspicion. The new standard, Swire says, is: "Check everybody. Everybody is a suspect."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bay Buchanan Is A Nut-job Just Like Her Brother

How's that for a clinical DX ?

Bay Buchanan: The Doctor Is In
by Diane Dees at MOJO Blog

A few years ago, when Bush on the Couch was published by psychiatrist Justin A. Frank, his publicist invited me to review it. I declined on ethical grounds. Frank, having never met George W. Bush, is not qualified to diagnose him, despite his using the technique of "applied psychoanalysis" which permits the psychological analysis of a public figure, but which--in my opinion--shoud be limited to analysis of the dead. (I am a psychotherapist, and I know that if I did such a thing, my board would come down hard on me.)

Huh. I saw Frank's book more as profiling. Our government does it all the time.

Enter Bay Buchanan, who is most definitely not a mental health practitioner of any kind, but who has provided us with a casual diagnosis of Sen. Clinton. In her book, The Extreme Makeover of Hillary (Rodham) Clinton, Buchanan hints that Clinton may have narcissistic personality disorder. (Buchanan calls it "narcissistic personality style," a term which does not exist in the mental health repretoire.)

This Dx is about as far off the mark as anything I have ever read. Buchanan nees to keep her pundit job, where it is, obviously, not a requirement that you have a clue what you are talking about.

In describing how she reached that conclusion, Buchanan refers to an endnote in the book that does not exist. All the same, Buchanan says that "[W]e are talking about a clinical condition that could make her [Clinton] dangerously ill-suited to become President and Commander-in-Chief." She then covers herself by saying "I pass no judgment as to whether this shoe fits the Lady Hillary."

Oh, pulleze. I can't imagine anything more dangerous to the country than the socio/psychopathology we've had in the White House for the past 6 1/2 years.

Diagnosing someone from afar, especially if you are not a mental health expert, is wildly irresponsible, even if you say "I don't really mean it, I'm just saying...."

There are plenty of former presidents who weren't quite right, like Kennedy (drug addiction and sexual compulsion) and Nixon (alcoholism and violence), and Buchanan's colleagues are ga-ga about at least one of them, and sometimes both of them. It wouldn't be too difficult to apply phony mental health language to other candidates, but I could have guessed that an armchair psychotherapist would go after Clinton. She is an "ambitious" woman, and she is married to Bill. Who needs more information than that?

Nixon was paranoid as hell. I have no way of knowing whether he was an alcoholic or not. His drinking, during the Watergate scandal, may well have been an adult-situational reaction to a very nigtmarish time in his life. I have never heard the term, "violence" used as a psychiatric DX.

Kennedy had myriad health problems, not easily treated in his day, which accounts for some of the drugs that were prescribed for him. If he was a drug addict, he was certainly a high functioning one. Sexual compulsion or addiction is rather epidemic in D.C., is it not?

I don't see disintegration to a point anywhere near mental illness in Hillary Clinton. While I may or may not agree with her, or even like her, she seems quite stable to me.

Bay Buchanan, not unlike her brother, is an authortarian personality type and those folks are capable of some extremely dangerous disintegration.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Congress Better Be Prepared to Impeach Gonzo.

Or they better have a damn good explanation as to why they cannot and be willing to state the reason for the record. (Something like blackmail, threats against them and their families, their children have been kidnapped and are being held in an undisclosed location, by Vice.)

Gonzo Goes: Not "If" But "When" (and How)

As the Senate debates whether to conduct a purely symbolic no-confidence vote in Alberto Gonzales, Frank Bowman, a law professor at the University of Missouri, is on a journalistic campaign to have the Attorney General impeached.

In Slate today, Bowman argues that Gonzales has essentially admitted David Iglesias was fired for not pursuing bogus voter fraud cases. Basically, Gonzales admitted that Iglesias was fired because the DOJ had received complaints about him, and those complaints all had to do with Iglesias' unwillingness to abuse his prosecutorial powers to serve narrow, immediate political interests.

The Attorney General can, in fact, be impeached—and impeachment seems like a valid option.

It's becoming more and more clear that the Department of Justice's political agenda was out of control. If a full third of all U.S. Attorneys weren't prosecuting "voter fraud" vigorously enough, it's because the DOJ wanted them to go beyond the bounds of good legal judgment. And let's remember what the endgame was: keeping minorities from voting so Republicans could establish their "permanent majority."

Rove's list of states in which voter fraud was a problem consisted exclusively of battleground states. Marie Cocco at Truthdig puts it this way: "It's Watergate without the break-in or the bagmen," and she has a legitimate point.

In addition, there's been ample evidence of incompetence in Gonzo's DOJ, with Time charging today that Gonzo's poor-taste visit to an out-of-it Ashcroft probably involved serious mismanagement of classified information. (Ashcroft's wife was present, and classified information cannot be discussed in public places.)

Here's a question: If the Bush administration is so incompetent in so many ways, how are they still getting away with crap like this, without Congress even threatening to impeach? Look to another Time article for a somewhat sinister explanation: a "Washington truism that was proven once again this week by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz: the longer a scandal-besmirched political appointee holds out against his critics, his party, his patrons and the press…the greater his odds of walking away with a measure of vindication…[T]here comes a time when simply leaving becomes the greatest chit he has to play in a final deal. And you can get a lot when you trade in that last chit."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Cheney Thinks He Is Immune From Civil Suit?

After all, outing a CIA expert on non-proliferation of WMD, especially the nuclear variety, was just a policy dispute.

Jeebus! I would hate to see what Cheney and company would do to someone they hated, in order to cover up high-crimes and misdemeanors.

What kind of policy dispute was this?

Which policies, exactly, were being disputed?

The policy of fabricating evidence for prosecuting a war of aggression?

The policy of POTUS to lie through his teeth during the SOTUS, for the same reason?

What freakin' policy?

How the hell is Cheney immune from a civil suit when President Bill Clinton sure as hell was not?

Judge Told Leak Was Part of 'Policy Dispute'
By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2007; A03

Attorneys for Vice President Cheney and top White House officials told a federal judge yesterday that they cannot be held liable for anything they disclosed to reporters about covert CIA officer Valerie Plame or her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

The officials, who include senior White House adviser Karl Rove and Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, argued that the judge should dismiss a lawsuit filed by the couple that stemmed from the disclosure of Plame's identity to the media.

The suit claims that Cheney, Libby, Rove and former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage violated the couple's privacy and constitutional rights by publicly revealing Plame's identity in an effort to retaliate against Wilson. Plame's identity was disclosed in a syndicated column in July 2003, days after Wilson publicly accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence to exaggerate Iraq's nuclear threat and justify an invasion.

Libby was convicted in March of lying to a grand jury investigating the leak.

The lawyers said any conversations Cheney and the officials had about Plame with one another or with reporters were part of their normal duties because they were discussing foreign policy and engaging in an appropriate "policy dispute." Cheney's attorney went further, arguing that Cheney is legally akin to the president because of his unique government role and has absolute immunity from any lawsuit.


U.S. District Judge John D. Bates asked: "So you're arguing there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- these officials could have said to reporters that would have been beyond the scope of their employment," whether the statements were true or false?

What was their employment? Professional Thuggery? Decpeption of the American people?

"That's true, Your Honor. Mr. Wilson was criticizing government policy," said Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil division. "These officials were responding to that criticism."

Policy my ass; it was about lying to the American public about the excuses for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Has lying become a matter of policy?

Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor who is representing Wilson and Plame, said the leak was no typical policy debate. President Bush himself said that revealing Plame's identity could be illegal conduct and a firing offense, he told Bates.

Could Be illegal conduct? COULD BE? Is treason still a crime? Just wonderin'

Chemerinsky said that after Plame's cover was blown, the couple feared for their safety and their children's safety and Plame lost any opportunity for advancement at the CIA.

"This isn't a case where the government said mean things about Mr. Wilson. This is about revealing the secret status of his wife to punish Mr. Wilson," Chemerinsky said. "In the end, this is egregious conduct that ruined a woman's career and put a family in danger."

It also was detrimental to the national security. Mrs Wilson was an expert on non-proliferation of WMD in the middle east; places like Iraq and Iran. The leak sunk her career and her entire network of contacts overseas; an asset of great value in today's world, according to this administration, ever since 9/11.

Bates, who expressed doubts about arguments on both sides, said he will rule in the coming weeks whether to dismiss the case.

Judge Bates, these people are a disgrace to the country and a danger to us all. Please allow this trial to go forward. If the people of the U.S., in general, can't get justice regarding this outrage, please allow Mr. and Mrs. Wilson to have their chance at it.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Impeachment and The D.C. "Liberal," Insider Media.

Pundits, thy collectice name is "cynical pap-droolers."

Blue dresses and high crimes and the 'liberal media'

I'm always amused by the "liberal" pundits who appear with monotonous regularity on the political talk-show circuit, occasionally to make some insightful point, but always to demonstrate their worldly sophistication. They are familiar names on a long list, too long to itemize here, but you know them: in a nutshell, they're the Joe Kleins of the airwaves.

They've been around the block, they want you to know. They've seen it all, heard it all, and they don't get excited about bombshells that rock only the impressionable little people and political amateurs. They're casual and dismissive, because they're so damned sophisticated.

Of course their sophisticated dismissiveness slipped a bit in the 1990s, when they tortured us for months on end over the Clinton-Lewinski matter. Every day, every night, every unholy hour we were subjected to their seemingly endless hairsplitting over "what rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors." They agonized over the president's sexual proclivities and the constitutionally profound implications attached, over what the DNA evidence would "prove," over the purely collateral nature of Clinton's "perjury," and other such drivel. They grilled legal experts and politicians with clear agendas. They were frantic and obsessed.

It was their obsession that fomented just enough national hysteria to permit Republicans to proceed with impeachment proceedings with (mistaken, as it turned out) political confidence. Without the endless coverage and analysis, the GOP's malicious prosecution would have gone nowhere and a president would not have been paralyzed for more than a year.

But that was then.

And this is now:

"President Bush intervened in March 2004 to avert a crisis over the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program after Attorney General John Ashcroft, Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. and other senior Justice Department aides all threatened to resign, a former deputy attorney general testified Tuesday.

"Mr. Bush quelled the revolt over the program’s legality by allowing it to continue without Justice Department approval, also directing department officials to take the necessary steps to bring it into compliance with the law.

"Mr. [James] Comey, the former No. 2 official in the Justice Department, said the crisis began when he refused to sign a presidential order reauthorizing the program.... He said he made his decision after the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, based on an extensive review, concluded that the program did not comply with the law.

"It was unclear from [Comey's] testimony what authority existed for the program while the changes were being made."

Let's see. The president launched an illegal spying program. The president later intervened to protect and extend the illegal spying program. The Justice Department knew the program was illegal and told the president just that. Furthermore, what constitutional "authority existed for the program while ... changes were being made"? Is this really "unclear"? Try "none."

Now compare, if your gastrointestinal system can take it, the amount of coverage and analysis of this monstrously flagrant high crime to that of yesteryear's obsession with a moment of whoopee -- a moment of constitutional irrelevance that nevertheless consumed even liberal pundits to the point of distraction for months.

This high crime? As opposed to Clinton's "high crime"? They'll give it two days', maybe three, at the most a week's attention. And their attention will be oh so worldly and sophisticated and dismissive. Then it will be back to business as usual -- meaning seemingly endless coverage and analysis of how disorganized the Democrats are and how squirrelly any talk of impeachment would be.

That's the "liberal media" for you.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

OUR STOLEN DEMOCRACY! Time to get very angry.

Notify your elected officials that you have the facts and have connected the dots, then let the chips fall where they may, on the heads of every elitist, democracy stealing fascist in Washington or your Statehouse.


People ask me: Are they going to steal the 2008 election? No, they’ve already
stolen the 2008 election. We still have a chance of swiping it back, but the
reason I’ve expanded and put out the new edition of Armed Madhouse is to tell
you how they will steal in 2008, and what to do about it. That’s one of the
main new things. Plus a special chapter on New Orleans and my bust down there.
-- Greg Palast

You might say, since the 2000 election, BuzzFlash and Greg Palast have shared many a foxhole in the fight for democracy. He's a workaholic, like we are -- and he doesn't flinch one iota in investigating the powers that be.

One of the things that makes Palast such an incredible asset is that he is in the I.F. Stone tradition of his doing thorough research. As much as he's built up a Sam Spade sleuthing persona, it is grounded in his ability to shift through large piles of documents and data that most modern reporters would just look at and cry, "No way, I've got to meet someone for a daquiri."

Mainstream jounalism in D.C. is built on the "easy story," as in the one that is handed to you by the Executive Branch. Actually, Palast doesn't work in D.C. much at all. He is out traveling around the country -- and world -- doing actual investigations into what is really going on.
That's the reason he is the person whom BuzzFlash has interviewed the most times over our seven year history.

Besides, we just love that fedora hat he's always wearing. Just the right touch.

And Greg always has something controversial and eye-popping to share, whether you agree with him 100% or not.

So enjoy, another BuzzFlash interview with Greg Palast.


BuzzFlash: You’re having incredible success with the new expanded paperback edition of Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Of course, the electronic voting machines and how they function is a very significant issue, but your specialty has really been how the Bush/Rove GOP political machine keeps persons who are likely to vote Democratic or Independent from voting.

Greg Palast: Yes. People ask me: Are they going to steal the 2008 election? No, they’ve already stolen the 2008 election. We still have a chance of swiping it back, but the reason I’ve expanded and put out the new edition of Armed Madhouse is to tell you how they will steal in 2008, and what to do about it. That’s one of the main new things. Plus a special chapter on New Orleans and my bust down there.

Of course, I was very flattered that the first review of the new edition of Armed Madhouse was written by Karl Rove and the Rove-bots -- it was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee -- I can’t make this up. On February 7th, the Rove team, which had been writing several e-mails screaming about Armed Madhouse and "that British reporter," Greg Palast, were gloating that no U.S. media had picked up my stories. And they had a .pdf file attached. Of course, the reason my book was subpoenaed is that it has to do with the US prosecutor firings.

The prosecutor firings were 100% about influencing elections -- not about loyalty to Bush, which is what The New York Times wrote. The administration team couldn’t tolerate appointees who wouldn’t go along with crime. In the book I present the evidence that Karl Rove directed a guy named Tim Griffin to target suppressing the votes of African American students, homeless men, and soldiers. Nice guy. They actually challenged the votes and successfully removed tens of thousands of legal voters from the voter rolls, same as they did in 2000. But instead of calling them felons, they said that they had suspect addresses.

BuzzFlash: In which election cycle?

Greg Palast: 2004. And in 2006 and 2004, they challenged tens of thousands of black soldiers. They stopped their votes from being counted when they were mailed in from Baghdad. Go to Baghdad and lose your vote -- mission accomplished.

BuzzFlash: How did they do that?

Greg Palast: By sending letters to the homes of soldiers, marked "do not forward." When they came back undelivered, they said: Aha! Illegal voter registered from a false address. And when their ballot came in from Fallujah, it was challenged. The soldier didn’t know it. Their vote was lost. Over half a million votes were challenged and lost by the Republicans -- absentee ballots.

Three million voters who went to the polls found themselves challenged by the Republicans.

This was not a small operation. It was a multi-million dollar, wholesale theft operation.
They’re right that I’m a British reporter, because I put this story on British TV, not on American TV, which won’t touch it. [BuzzFlash note: Palast writes for British papers and reports on the BBC, but he is a product of the San Fernando Valley and the University of Chicago, 100% American.] But our election was a complete, total fraud. This is grand theft -- no question. It’s not a dirty trick; it’s a felony crime.

I’m working with Bobby Kennedy, who is a voting rights attorney. He said, “This is not just an icky, horrible thing that people do wearing white sheets. This is a felony crime.”
[paraphrase] And the guy they put in charge of this criminal ring to knock out voters is a guy named Tim Griffin. Today, Tim Griffin is -- badda-bing -- U.S. Attorney for Arkansas. When they fired the honest guys, they put in the Rove-bots to fix the 2008 election. That’s what I’m saying -- it’s already being stolen, as we speak. Tim Griffin is the perpetrator who’s become the prosecutor, and that’s what’s going down right now.

BuzzFlash: You have been questioned about prosecutor-gate and about the theft of the election of 2008. But these replacement prosecutors are still in place, not to mention the ones who have cooperated with Bush. Gonzales has basically told the House Judiciary Committee, make my day. I’m staying on. It’s over with. You asked me questions. I didn’t give you answers, but you don’t have the courage to impeach me, so I’m staying.

Greg Palast: That’s the game, too. Congress is shooting at the glove puppet. I shoot at the puppeteers. It’s not Gonzales. He’s meaningless. He’s a nothing. He should go because he allowed it to happen, and that’s a crime. When I was a racketeering investigator, we used to call it “willful failure to know.” He can’t just say to his staff, I know what Rove is doing, but don’t tell me about it. He would still be liable for criminal conspiracy of obstruction of justice. That’s why Monica Goodling took the Fifth. Not knowing doesn’t mean you’re not guilty, especially when you went out of your way not to know.

Gonzales should be read his rights and carted away. But it’s the puppeteers behind him -- Rove and Harriet Miers -- who were deeply involved in the prosecutor hits. No one’s talking about her. This is the woman who went from head of the Texas State Lottery to nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by George Bush, and no one asked how that happened.

They said: Harriet who? But they didn’t ask how that happened. They said, oh, she’s loyal to Bush. She’s the one who did the payoffs to cover up the fact that George Senior got George Junior out of the war in Vietnam. Do you think that that was done just by daddy making a call?

Money had to be paid -- lots and lots of money to keep people quiet -- $23 million. That is something I reported on BBC Television and in the Guardian newspaper. We’ve given them plenty of time to challenge that story about the payoffs. We’ve never gotten a peep from these guys. And unlike CBS, the BBC has not withdrawn the story that the fix was put in to get

Chicken George out of Vietnam. No one has challenged our story, nor have we withdrawn a comment on our story that the payoffs were made to keep it quiet.

BuzzFlash: Let’s focus for the moment on voter suppression, and we'll return later to other elements of the voter manipulation story.

Greg Palast: I have it all in Armed Madhouse, including in the three new chapters. First and foremost, is that it’s not one thing. It ain’t just electronic voting, guys. You go, oh, we have paper ballots, we’re saved, we’re saved. Bulls***! Wake up! Hello! Let’s remember that in Florida and Ohio, they didn’t have computer voting. So all the stuff about Diebold -- Ohio was not stolen by computers, because they didn’t have computers there. In fact, they were thrilled when people complained about computers because they could keep the junky punch cards in. That doesn’t mean that computers are safe. As I point out in the new chapter, the Republicans held on to Katherine Harris’ seat -- and we don’t want to think too carefully about that image -- they held onto Katherine Harris’ seat with 300 votes, while 18,000 votes disappeared in the computers. So they do use computers. That was a pure, straight-up, shoplift of the Congressional seat.

BuzzFlash: A House committee just voted not to pursue an investigation of that election, despite the disappearance of 18,000 votes.

Greg Palast: That’s sick -- deeply, deviously sick. First of all, in New York and other states, when votes are in question, they simply redo them. People talk about recount -- forget it. Redo the vote. When the machines collapse, then there’s no question that there was monkey business.
BuzzFlash: Then why do you think --

Greg Palast: -- why don’t Democrats stand up?

BuzzFlash: The U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats. It’s like saying, well, $320 million is missing from a bank but we’re not going to investigate that.

Greg Palast: You’re forgetting it’s not about the two parties. Vote theft is mainly a racial issue in America, and it’s a class issue. The white caucus is a lot bigger than the black caucus. They don’t call the Congress a millionaire’s club for nothing. There aren’t many guys in there -- or women -- who are not millionaires. So it’s the millionaires versus us. It’s the white caucus versus the black caucus, which is of great concern. So the vote is along racial class and economic lines, not along party lines. Party lines are pretty much meaningless. There’s pretty much one party -- the party of the cash. But I’m not one of these people that says there’s no difference between the Democratic and Republican Party. The question is: is the difference meaningful? That’s all.

When it comes down to voter issues, remember that the Democrats in power there were elected under the racist, broken, classist system. If you fix the voting system, a third of those Democrats could never win a primary. The last thing that they want is poor people to vote.

BuzzFlash: Let’s go back to your tremendous work in the 2000 election.

Greg Palast: In that case, Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush targeted 97,000 registered voters, as it turned out, to remove from the voter rolls on the grounds that they were criminals. They were "guilty of voting black." By the way, of out of the 97,000 people, do you know how many they charged with actually voting illegally? Of the 97,000 names that they had? Zero. They looked at six cases and brought no charges. There were only six suspected cases, out of 97,000.

That’s how sick that was.

And the U.S. press -- Fox TV -- said not one voter was wrongly disenfranchised.

In Armed Madhouse, I have the little weasel on Fox who said that, next to the picture of one of the disenfranchised voters, a Gulf War veteran. They love to take out veterans, because who do you think is in the armed forces? A whole lot of war veterans lost their vote because they happened to have -- as part of the legacy of slavery -- names that are the same as someone who, maybe fifty years before, got convicted of something.

BuzzFlash: We just want to praise you again to the readers. We’ve seen you present a number of times, and several years ago, in Chicago, you did a presentation that shows the list that was used to disenfranchise voters.

Greg Palast: Those are the purge lists. For 2004, we have the caging lists. And in 2008, we’re going to have what’s called the verification list.

BuzzFlash: Meaning the return of the Jim Crow laws, I assume?

Greg Palast: When I say the 2008 race has already been stolen, about a million and a half voter registrations have been turned down. Even though there have been massive voter registration drives among Hispanics and African Americans, as the churches fill up the bucket, there’s a hole in the bucket where the registrations are being dumped.

It used to be that you signed your name -- bang, you got through, you’re registered. Not anymore. About 40% of the registrations are being rejected on the grounds that they don’t match citizenship files. Well, you know what? It ain’t the Soviet Union. We don’t have citizenship files in the United States. They don’t exist. They can’t exist under the law, which is the U.S. Constitution.

So how do you verify voters? Well, you don’t. About the only thing that could happen is if you require a passport -- and who has passports?

BuzzFlash: This is not conjecture on your part. You're very methodical.

Greg Palast: We've got the documents. We ain’t guessing. When I say they had caging lists targeting innocent black soldiers, I have the lists. I have the soldiers’ names. We spoke to their families. In fact, interestingly, "60 Minutes" came into our office and said, “My God, to prove what these caging lists are, you’re going to have to make hundreds of calls and spend hundreds of hours going through this stuff.” And we said, “Yeah, it’s reporting. Try it. It won’t hurt you.”

BuzzFlash: You go back again to Florida and Choice Point, and you have excellent video documentation of the confrontations with Choice Point.

Greg Palast: Yes.

BuzzFlash: The Secretary of State’s office, meaning Katherine Harris’ office, no doubt at the request of Jeb Bush and the Bush campaign, chose to expand, rather than limit, the list.

Greg Palast: After they were done bleaching the voter rolls of Florida white -- yes, they wrote some memos to cover their ass. They knew exactly what was happening. These guys were guilty as sin. They should be in prison. But it’s all right. Their CEO maybe in trouble now. He may still yet be cuffed because of allegations of insider trading. The Choice Point people are back in Armed Madhouse for a very good reason. It’s that after they bleached the voter rolls white for the Bush family, they were paid off by no-bid contracts for the war on terror. They’re the guys who are keeping these KGB lists for the government, because the government is not allowed to keep information files on citizens. It’s against the Constitution.

But somehow Bush has decided that if he contracts it out to his cronies, that there’s kind of a contracting out exception to the Constitution. So he gives it out to Choice Point. Well, do we want this private KGB earning billions? And what else do they do with the information? Well, first of all, they’re in the info biz. They are using it -- they sell this stuff. And in fact, they got caught selling at least 145,000 records to identity thieves.

Another problem with using private contractors, of course, is that these private guys don’t have any of the requirements that the government does to be accurate, to produce the information under the Freedom of Information Act. These guys can ream you. And they do. Some people say, well, it’s worth it if they keep us safe. Well, I was charged by the Department of Homeland Security with violating the anti-terror laws -- me. Probably I was caught doing investigative reporting in the United States.

BuzzFlash: In New Orleans, right?

Greg Palast: Yes, that was in New Orleans. While I was charged, I was afraid I wouldn’t get home, because I’d be on a watch list. And then, I’d be more afraid when I got home. So, I mean, I’m still wearing my fedora. And these are the guys who are supposed to be saving us from Osama. And as I point out in the book, I have lists of several six-month-old children who are on the terrorism watch list. You can never start too young, I suppose. Maybe they’ll open up a kind of kindergarten at Guantanamo.

BuzzFlash: People have to read Armed Madhouse and your other articles. They need to go to your site, Because you are the expert on what is basically a RICO case to undermine the American electoral and voting system in a comprehensive way from several different angles, as masterminded by Karl Rove and other people in the Republican Party. What you have exposed is, in essence --

Greg Palast: A criminal conspiracy, according to Bobby Kennedy. The BBC requires me to work with lawyers so that I don’t just shoot my mouth off on legal stuff. And Bobby Kennedy, Jr., is a law professor and an expert on voting rights law. And his father gave his life for voting rights, too, don’t forget. Bobby Kennedy says that what we have here is a criminal conspiracy to commit felony manipulation of the voter system. It violates endless numbers of laws. These people really need to be not in office, but in prison. He’s not a guy given to much excitement, but when he looked at the evidence in Armed Madhouse, he just flipped. And what’s driving him crazy as well is that Karl Rove is right. The U.S. media is not picking up the investigation.

BuzzFlash: That’s why I want to say that people should read your book and follow your website and your articles.

Greg Palast: They should stay on with BuzzFlash because, yes, a lot of my stuff will eventually get picked up by the U.S. media. They may say "there are accusations within the blogosphere," because it’s on BuzzFlash. But, of course, this started out with a massive, high-level investigation for the BBC Television network. I’m proud to give it to BuzzFlash because we sure as hell ain’t getting it into the Washington Pravda Post. We aren’t getting into the New York Judith Miller Times. And I’m glad to say that you’re growing and they’re dying, and that’s the way it ought to be.

BuzzFlash: It is such a massive assault on the voting system and felony suppression of rights in many ways, as we’ve pointed out. They’re coming at it from all angles. For instance, in prosecutor-gate, they’re using prosecutors to kind of gin up accusations of voter fraud that don’t exist just to win elections. And then when the elections are over, they get Republicans and state legislatures to cry, oh, that was terrible, even though nothing was ever prosecuted. We need new Jim Crow voter laws to keep people who shouldn’t vote from voting, to prevent fraud that never existed.

Greg Palast: Right now, I’m following up with another story that involves prosecutor-gate. I’m speaking to one of the fired prosecutors' offices -- David Iglesias. Rove had this whole scheme. While he’s stealing votes with both hands -- I mean, literally -- he is, at the same time, coming up with this scheme to accuse Democrats of registering illegal aliens and encouraging massive voter ID theft. It’s a complete goofy scheme. And what they did is try to involve the U.S. attorneys in bringing prosecution. For example, in New Mexico, they wanted David Iglesias.

Rove’s people told me that. Rove’s people claimed that there were 150 cases of voter ID theft in New Mexico. And I said, “Well, then send them to me.” And they said, “Well.”

It’s in the book. And they said, “Well, David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney, will back us up.” So I called his office. And they refused to back it up. They said, “Well, we don’t really have an open investigation on this.”

I said, “In other words, you can’t back up this story.” They said, “Well, I guess you could say that.” I said, “I guess I will.” In other words, they fabricated the evidence and they wanted him to bring a phony prosecution -- like a Stalin trial. Pick out a couple Mexicans and say that they were voting illegally, and then we’ll disappear. But you know what? Iglesias wouldn’t do it. He and eight prosecutors drew a line in the sand.

Iglesias, you have to understand, is a right-wing Ashcroft protégé Republican, and he turned away from evidence of the Republicans stealing the election in New Mexico, which they did in 2004. He wouldn’t bust the Rove-arians there. But he wouldn’t go so far as to actually bring false prosecutions. He wouldn’t do it. He has now said the evidence they gave him is bogus. Not that he didn’t try. He had the FBI on these cases. They had the state attorney general on these cases, hoping to give them one prosecution in the entire state. They couldn’t find one. And he said he wasn’t going to just cuff some poor Mexican-American and charge him with voter fraud because Karl Rove ordered him to.

And by the way, Karl Rove flew to New Mexico. The Capo himself flew to New Mexico to give a kiss on each cheek to the doomed prosecutor. And speak to the local guys ordering his execution. Rove went to New Mexico himself to do the hit. It was bring prosecutions against Mexican Americans, or look for a job -- and let’s not forget Iglesias’ last name, okay?

BuzzFlash: Now let’s focus on one individual who stands above all the prosecutors in terms of suppressing the right to vote through fraudulent strategies.

Greg Palast: A lot of competition there, but I think we have a winner.

BuzzFlash: You’ve written about “The Talented Mr. Griffin,” Arkansas’ new U.S. attorney, who has a history of suppressing minority voters. So how does Tim Griffin, a Rove protégé, Rove hit man, Rove op and research man, Rove suppression and voter man, end up in one of the disputed districts?

Greg Palast: Because the Democrats have no cojones. I’m going to tell you something very unhappy, okay? Again, it’s the white caucus versus the black caucus. It’s not Democrats versus Republicans. I talked to the black caucus. John Conyers, head of Judiciary on the House side, is very upset that you have a criminal who knocked black soldiers off the voter rolls as the U.S. attorney in Arkansas. The white caucus leader on the Senate side, is Patrick Leahy. His people said, well, Griffin is just there as an interim appointment, so big deal. Well, he’s interim through the 2008 election. In fact, I have another e-mail from inside the Rovian office which said if the Democrats complain, just say that Griffin is interim.

BuzzFlash: The press fell for this, and Democrats fell for this, too. They won’t seek Senate appointment, and everyone went, oh, you see? They’re conceding that they wouldn’t get it. But it didn’t matter because that was the whole scheme. They are in place for 2008. Rove won.

Greg Palast: Oh, it’s okay because he’s only in there for two years. It’s through the election. Like I say, this is not about Democrats versus Republicans. What you just saw was the millionaires white boys’ club -- versus the black caucus. And that’s what it’s all about. America has an apartheid electoral system and an apartheid Congress. And it’s about time we call it what it is.

BuzzFlash: How does the amazing Tim Griffin represent what really is the goal? As you just pointed out, it’s very important. The Democrats in Congress seem to have forgotten this in not calling for the impeachment of Gonzales.

Greg Palast: If the prosecutors are wrongfully fired, what you do in any wrongful dismissal is you hire them back. Why don’t we have one Democrat saying put them back? Crazy.
BuzzFlash: Basically if you’re Karl Rove and you’re sitting there, you feel you’ve survived everything. And you say I’ll survive this one. The people I’ve put in place to steal the 2008 election are gonna still be there.

Greg Palast: My boys count the votes.

BuzzFlash: Let’s look at Mr. Griffin, who’s one of those who’s in place and will be there until 2008. They went around the senior Democratic senator from Arkansas, Mark Pryor. There’s all sorts of e-mails indicating how they played Pryor.

Greg Palast: The Republicans proved their point. They can break the law. They can put a criminal in as U.S. prosecutor. They can break every rule of the Senate by going around -- remember, it’s not just senatorial privilege, it’s called voter privilege. The people of Arkansas elected Senator Pryor. One of the things that they elected him to do is approve the U.S. attorney for his area. We call that democracy.

BuzzFlash: Why is Griffin particularly emblematic of the reason that most of these eight were being replaced? Either to muddy up Democrats --

Greg Palast: I think that muddying the Democrats is secondary. It’s that he is the guy in charge of the caging list operation. He’s the guy who knocked off tens of thousands -- and it may go up to hundreds of thousands -- of Democratic voters, mostly minorities. That was his operation. And that is why he is particularly evil, manipulative; and plus, if he can get away with it and then get this appointment without any Democrat raising their voice, then what do you think he’s going to do in office?

In other words, if he could get away with what he did, and the Democrats don’t complain, and they basically piss all over the Democrats and Senator Pryor says that’s all right with me, and Patrick Leahy says that’s all right with me, then obviously, what’s he going to do once he’s in office? Take my word for it, he’s going to wipe out the black voters of Arkansas.

And I smell a deal, by the way -- and now I’m speculating. Everyone keeps saying he’s been put in Arkansas so he can do an investigation of Hillary Clinton. He’s not going to do that. The deal’s been cut. Why do you think that he’s allowed to be there? Because the deal has been cut. We’ll put in Timmy, but he’s not going to touch Hillary. I’ve seen this before. There was a deal cut between the Democrats and Republicans back in the late nineties. The Republican, Newt Gingrich, was going to be in big legal trouble. So was Hillary Clinton. They traded. I smell a trade right here. Why would you allow a complete dirt bag, felon, criminal, racist scum spider in as U.S. prosecutor in Arkansas, in Hillary Clinton’s state, unless the deal was cut that Hillary is off limits to any investigation or grand jury charges?

BuzzFlash: Now we’ve got Griffin, specialist in violating the Voting Rights Act. In Arkansas, we have other people who were appointed who are willing to go on with the scheme to suppress the vote and then have states pass Jim Crow-type laws and Republican legislators. There probably are other prosecutors who weren’t replaced who are willing to go along with this scheme in key states. Otherwise, they would have been replaced. There also have been bogus claims of violation of registration of voters on Native American reservations.

Greg Palast: There is a litany of fake charges. In the new Armed Madhouse, I have Russell Pearce, a Republican legislator from Arizona, who said five million illegal aliens crossed the border to vote for Democrats -- five million. I asked this fruitcake to give me five names. I said, “If they voted, that means that you have their names. You have their registrations. So why aren’t you arresting them?”

And that’s when I began to smell the Rove plan.

He said, “Oh, the U.S. attorneys are going to arrest them.” But there was not one case brought in New Mexico by the honest attorney. Not one case where there’s an honest U.S. attorney. And by the way, they did find about a half dozen illegal aliens who had registered to vote in Arizona. They were registered by the Republican Party.

BuzzFlash: You’ve shown an arc from 2000 up through 2008. Again, we want to emphasize for the umpteenth time in this interview, that despite all this "investigation" of Gonzales, the status quo remains. These U.S. attorneys were replaced, and "interim" attorneys are still functioning on behalf of Gonzales and Rove. Nothing has been done to inhibit or curtail their activity, which can result in the theft of the election in 2008. And what’s more, no one is even speaking about investigating the patterns of behavior in suppressing votes by those who weren’t replaced.

Greg Palast: But there were cases brought against voters in Missouri. One of the new prosecutors, who came in after they fired the honest guy who said that there were no cases here -- the Rove-bot came in and actually brought charges in Missouri. Illegal voters, illegal voters, illegal voters -- nothing in the papers about the fact that every single case -- every single one -- was dismissed by judges.

The judge says, you’re kidding, right?

You know, you’re talking about things like someone being arrested for voting twice as Juan Gonzalez. How many guys named Juan Gonzalez are there are in a state? They knew. These were fraudulent cases. And when you bring a fraudulent case, you go to jail. This is what the RICO laws were about, and the Civil Rights Act of ’64, and the Voting Rights Act of ’65.

It used to be the Democratic officials in the South that teamed up with the Ku Klux Klan to bring false cases. Well, they’re back, but the white sheets have switched parties.

BuzzFlash: You’ve laid it right out on the table in Congress, this abuse of power, the suppression of voting rights. Why then is the mainstream media ignoring what is clearly a multi-year strategy to commit felonies?

Greg Palast: Two reasons. The victims are the poor, and the victims are the defenseless. The victims are black soldiers. There’s a whole section of New Orleans -- these are people that are off the radar. Do you think Obama gives a flying toot about someone living in a mobile home for a year and a half in New Orleans? Nah. They’re not voters. They’re not going to let them vote, so he doesn’t care.

And it’s a class issue. It’s a class war issue, and it’s tainted by race, too. Let’s not forget that.

When I talk about voter suppression in 2000, it was a race issue. It was a story about black people. If they had removed people from country clubs off the voter rolls -- baby, you’d hear it.

In fact, let’s remember that the only vote manipulation story that got any play at all in 2000 was in Palm Beach. Because imagine -- rich people didn’t have their votes counted correctly. All the reporters are down there, taking pictures of voters in string bikinis. And we’re down the road in Gadsden County, the blackest, poorest county in Florida where the big vote theft was done -- not one single camera. Okay, except for Ted Koppel who went down there and said these poor black people -- they’re just too stupid to figure out the ballot, you know? And Koppel didn’t even check on the fact that they had busted machines. But it was very easy to say black people are too stupid to figure out how to vote. You have to understand, the racism within U.S. papers is absolutely unbelievable. There is an assumption that black people are stupid, incompetent and lazy.

BuzzFlash: Where do we stand today? Gonzales appeared before Conyers’ committee, I believe, and Conyers was, of course in a huff, as he should be, because he’s a righteous man. He sees the plot.

Greg Palast: Again, he knows what’s happening. I’m in contact with his office. He’s worked on a lot of investigations with me. It’s like the man is the entire conscience of the U.S. Congress.

BuzzFlash: Along with Henry Waxman. Let’s give him at least some credit here.

Greg Palast: Waxman is fantastic. Of course, you can’t separate New Orleans and voting, Iraq and voting, the war on terror and voting -- it’s all the same crew playing the same games. And there’s not only votes being lost, but blood being spilled. Of course, the book has a lot of funny stuff in it, because it’s so grim it’s humorous. It’s like a comic horror show. My friend calls it the clown-ocracy, because these are armed and dangerous jesters.

BuzzFlash: So where do we stand? Right now, we have these replacement prosecutors, and the prosecutors who weren’t replaced -- some of whom went along with this voter suppression plan and rewriting state laws into Jim Crow laws. We have electronic voting machines. We have a vast scheme here. But the mainstream media is playing the story that Gonzales is going to survive this because they don’t have any more goods on him.

Greg Palast: It’s a Punch and Judy show. It’s all about Gonzales. He’s the glove puppet. How come they aren’t bringing Rove up? And remember that Conyers cannot just call Rove by himself. He needs the power of the other Democrats who have to find their soul and find their balls. They haven’t grown back yet, despite the election of 2006.

BuzzFlash: Is there anyone else on the national scene in the media, in politics, beyond Conyers and Waxman, who understands that the Bush Administration is still trying to extend unitary, executive authority, as it did a couple of weeks ago, trying to extend wireless taps, spying power, and domestic surveillance? They are not doing this with the intention that a Democrat may then end up in the presidency with expanded powers. Their intention is that the Republicans are going to hold on to the White House. To have that expectation, they must have inside knowledge about how they’re going to manipulate the election.

Greg Palast: The new chapter, called “The Theft of 2008,” calculates with, I think, some reasoned accuracy, that four and a half million votes are going to be shoplifted. Get ready for it. That doesn’t mean that they will own the White House. It just means that they start with a big old thumb on the electoral scale.

We should scream bloody murder. But the whining is not a help, you know. It only takes five million more votes. I say work with Jessie Jackson on this. If they’re going to knock out 40% of the registrations, then overwhelm them with more. If they’re going to throw away half the soldiers’ votes, then you better make sure that more of them vote, and that you’re watching it.

Yes, try to change the laws. And when you can’t, you better protect yourself. Don’t mail in your ballot. Don’t go posting, fools. You know, everyone’s concerned about the electronic voting. So, do you think that they’re going to go through all this hassle to manipulate the software, but then politely take your vote that you sent through the mail, open it up, and count it correctly? Really? If you believe that, then you deserve not to have your vote counted.

BuzzFlash: One of your contentions, and it’s an important one, concerns the proprietary software issue, and the likelihood that votes have been lost through it. Certainly the Sarasota incident of 18,000 lost votes gives one pause.

Greg Palast: They want you to think that there’s one problem, which is electronic voting and paper ballots. By the way, that’s also racial. You talk to white voter activists, they talk about computers. You talk to black voter activists, and they talk about suppressing the vote. I want to repeat: There were virtually no computer voting machines in Ohio, and that’s where they stole it. There were virtually no computer voting machines in New Mexico. That’s where they stole it. There were virtually no computer voting machines in Florida in 2000. That’s where they stole it.

It’s not the computer voting machines. Yes, they’re evil. They are wrong, they are manipulative, they are hack-prone, and they stole the election through computers in Sarasota and elsewhere in the last election. By the way, Jeb Bush got reelected as governor through manipulation of the new electronic voting machines. So, yes, they are a problem. But if you think that’s it, baby, they’ve got you.

So let me explain. Start thinking like a Hispanic or black voter who’s trying to get to the polls, and they ask you for your ID.

BuzzFlash: I believe in Arizona now it’s a birth certificate.

Greg Palast: You can’t use a driver’s license, because an alien can get a driver’s license. So, you can use a birth certificate -- certified original -- or a passport. And what people have passports?

Now, again, it’s a class issue. After all, Andy Young and Vernon Jordan and Bill Richardson are all for voter ID, okay? Because at their country club, they have plenty of IDs and they can always vote because their chauffeur can vouch for them.

Every time you have a new question or a way to challenge a voter, they will use it. They will abuse it. Three million voters were given provisional ballots. If you’re reading this and you’re white, you don’t know what a provisional ballot is. If you’re reading this and you’re black, you were the ones that got one. It’s that simple. We have one ballot for black folk, one ballot for white folk. And the black ballot is a provisional ballot and it does not get counted. And that’s how it was coming down in the United States of America.

So it’s time that the apartheid within the voter protection movement in America. White voters better start thinking about the need to protect the black vote, because your vote ain’t safe if it gets cancelled out by Karl Rove when they take away a Hispanic voter’s right to vote. You can have a nice, neat paper ballot they will count, but they’re laughing at you because they just purged fifteen Hispanics.

BuzzFlash: In your presentations, you often bring up the figure of millions of votes that are stolen before the election was even open.

Greg Palast: That’s right. Because people are being thrown off the voter rolls. In addition, the one thing that we’re constantly forgetting is that, while there’s this endless discussion of how they can hack the votes that turn you to vote from Democratic to Republican, there’s very, very little evidence of it. It’s there -- I don’t doubt it. But we’re not going to find it.

But one thing we know for damn sure is that they have to do something simple. The machines simply don’t work and don’t record the vote. And then there’s no fingerprints. There’s no manipulation. It just didn’t work. We had a million and a half votes in the 2006 election which just disappeared because machines didn’t work. And now you try to prove that it was deliberate.

All you have to do is look at where they didn’t work. In places like New Mexico, 88% in minority areas -- 88% in minority areas. You want to know how Diebold might have fixed the election in Cynthia McKinney’s district? Their machines don’t work in humidity. What do you have in July in Atlanta but humidity? In the poor areas. In the rich areas, they’re in air conditioned gymnasiums. That’s the games that they play. And the way that you figure it out is, you stop thinking white, and you start thinking slave.

BuzzFlash: Greg. Thank you so much.

Greg Palast: You guys are the best.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free