Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for June, 2009

Coleman Concedes (aka John Cornyn pulls the plug)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2009

Guess watching $145,000 a week circling the drain — money that could have been saved up and used to protect vulnerable Republican Senatorial candidates in 2010 — finally started to bother John Cornyn and the NRSC.

Here’s some music for Senator Al Franken:


Posted in Al Franken, Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Senate | 1 Comment »

Senator Franken

Posted by MEC on June 30, 2009

The Minnesota Supreme Court has announced its decision.

At long last: Congratulations, Senator Franken!

Now we just have to wait to see whether Governor Pawlenty will certify the election, or whether he lied when he said he’d comply with the state court’s decision.

As for whether Norm Coleman will file a federal appeal: I hope he doesn’t, but every fundraising dollar spent on a pointless lawsuit is a dollar not available to future Republican canadidates.

Posted in Al Franken | 4 Comments »

Elections Have Consequences

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2009

In 2000, Ralph Nader — who wanted Bush to win — took just enough votes from Al Gore, especially in Florida, to allow George Bush to steal the election. That allowed Bush to pick two archconservative judges, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, to fill the US Supreme Court vacancies left by Rehnquist and O’Connor. — and to shove this insult to civil rights and to Sonia Sotomayor, their decision on the Ricci suit, down our collective throats.

Imagine if Al Gore had been able to fill those slots instead. Ricci would have been 6-3 in favor of the black firefighters, instead of 5-4 against — and John Paul Stevens or Ruth Bader Ginsburg (or maybe even Sonia Sotomayor) would have written the majority opinion.
Added by Charles, 7/1. A letter from 2004, with emphasis added:

An Open Letter to Ralph Nader Voters

Dear Voters,

Many of us – former Nader’s Raiders and leaders of his organizations – voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Many did not.

This November, none of us will vote for Ralph. We believe there is nothing more important than defeating George W. Bush.

Ralph argues that he is creating an independent political voice. In 2000, when he ran as the Green Party candidate, that may have been true.

In 2004, as the candidate of the increasingly reactionary, anti-immigrant Reform Party, and the recipient of financial and political support from right-wing funders and operatives, it is not credible. Unfortunately, Ralph is party to a disingenuous effort to split the progressive vote in key states.
With the major party candidates in a dead heat, Nader is poised to tip the election to Bush – again.

We do not agree with Ralph that there is little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. We know that the country cannot afford another four years of Republicans controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress, the Supreme Court and the entire federal Judiciary. The price of a protest vote is too high for families who live from paycheck to paycheck, for those concerned about the realities of war, for those who lack decent jobs and access to health care, and for the environment.

While Ralph has pursued politically expedient alliances with the right wing, truly progressive leaders – from peace activists to unions to former Dean supporters – have made substantial progress organizing within the Democratic Party.

United, progressives can build a base for a transformed party funded by small donors, imbued with progressive values and energized by a vision of a democratic majority. Divided, we will give four more years to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft. The progressive vote can be the key to this election.

We know Ralph Nader better than anyone else. We were inspired to public service by his vision and his integrity. Now we are disappointed and saddened to see him embrace the support of reactionary forces who oppose everything we and Ralph have fought for and whose real agenda is to reelect George Bush.

Join us. Cast your vote for a progressive future and support John Kerry.

Nader’s Raiders,
Brian Ahlberg – MN PIRG
Judy Appelbaum – Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, Summers 1974, 75

Matt Baker – Organizing Director, NJPIRG 1992-98
Sheila Ballen – Executive Director, Pennsylvania PIRG
Samuel Boykin – Field Director, NJPIRG 2000-03

Michael Berg – Congress Project 1972
Robert Brandon – Director, Public Citizen’s Tax Reform Research Group 1972-77
Mike Calabrese – Former Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1980
Marc Caplan – Executive Director, CCAG 1974-80
Michael Caudell-Feagan – USPIRG 1985-86; Nat’l Assoc. for Pub Interest Law 1986-91
Nancy Chasen – Lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1973-75

Sarah K. Chiles – Northeast regional coordinator, Americans against Political Corruption

Elizabeth Collaton – Research Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1985

Karen Croft – Staff, Center for the Study of Responsive Law1979-80
Gina Collins Cummings – Organizing Director, New Jersey PIRG, 1984 – 1994
Beth DeGrasse – Former Director, PIRG Voter Registration Campaigns

James Dickson – Director of Organizing, CCAG 1976-78
Angela Di Leo – Staff, Florida PIRG 1984 – 86
Kirsten Dunton – Organizing Director and Staff Attorney, State PIRGs 1989-2003

Joe Tom Easley – Center for the Study of Responsive Law, 1969-74

Larry Eason – Director, Training and Media Center, PIRG 2000-2001
Donna Edwards – Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1990s

David Eppler – Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1989-92
Sherry Ettleson – Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
Andrew Feinstein – Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1975-79
Curtis Fisher – Executive Director, New Jersey PIRG, 1996 – 2002
Mark Floegel – USPIRG; Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1980s; VPIRG Communications Coordinator 2002-2004

Arthur L. Fox – Public Citizen’s Litigation Group 1972-90

Pamela Gilbert – USPIRG 1984-89; Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1989-94

John Gilroy – Nader Difference in ’84 Campaign; Organizer, Citizen Utility Board 1985; ED, VTPIRG 1988-92

David Hamilton – National Field Director, USPIRG 1987-90; Energy Lobbyist, USPIRG 1990-92
Joan Holt – NY PIRG 1979-88
Anita Johnson – Attorney, PIRG; Public Citizen’s Health Research Group 1971-77

Richard Kirsch – Public Citizen 1974-77

Ann Krumblotz – Staff, Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1978-80
Mindy Lubber – Program Director, Massachusetts PIRG
Mark Lynch – Staff Attorney, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
Tim Massad – Center for the Study of Responsive Law; Wisconsin Citizen Utility Board 1978-81

Neil McBride – Aviation Consumer Action Project 1971-72
Steve McCarthy – Executive Director, Oregon PIRG, 1972-74
Rich McClintock – Executive Director, Colorado PIRG

Chris McGinn – Deputy Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch 1991-98
David Moulton – Staff Attorney, Congress Watch
Michael Pertschuk – Chair, Federal Trade Commission

Donna F. Parsons – Director, CCAG 1981-87
Peter Petkas – PIRG, Corporate Accountability Research Group 1970
Ronald Plesser – Director, Freedom of Information Clearinghouse 1972-75
Rick Plunkett – MN PIRG 1976-81; CA Campus Organizer 1979-80

Tom Powers – Florida PIRG Organizing Director, FFPIR Nat’l Campus Program Director, PIRG work 1986-1995.
Nancy Rader – CalPIRG 1983-87; Public Citizen 1988-90
Miles Rapoport – Executive Director CCAG 1979-84
Neal Ritchie – ED, MN PIRG
Marty Rogol – General Counsel, CCAG 1971-73; Director, Nat’l PIRG 1974-78

Adam Ruben –Field Director, USPIRG 1999-2002
Leslie Samuelrich – PIRG 1985-91 – Organizer, ConnPIRG; Director, National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness
Samantha Sanchez – Attorney, Public Citizen’s Tax Reform Research Group 1973-75
Kerry Schumann – Director, Wisconsin PIRG
Gary Sellers – OSHA Project Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1969
Megan Seibel – Executive Director Colorado PIRG
Bob Shireman – Chairman, CalPIRG 1981-83; Legislative Advocate 1984-86
Lucinda Sikes – CalPIRG 1983-86; USPIRG 1989-92; Public Citizen’s Litigation Group 1993-89

Daniel Silverman – Former Nat’l Field Director, USPIRG; Former Vice-Chair, Board of CalPIRG
David Stern – Executive Director, Nat’l Assoc. for Public Interest Law
Gene Stilp – Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1980-81

Rob Stuart – Program Director, NJ PIRG, 1984 – 91; ED, VT PIRG 1991 – 93

Tom Subak – State Campaign Director, CalPIRG 1995-98
Andrea Sullivan – Organizing Director, NJPIRG, 1983 – 84
Thomas D. Sutton – ETS Study Group 1970s; Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1979-81

Michael Totten – Critical Mass Energy Project 1982-83
James Turner – Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1968-72

Michael Waldman – Attorney Lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
Ken Ward – ED, RI PIRG 1981-82; ED, NJ PIRG 1983-96
Bill Wasserman – Organizer, Cal PIRG 1981-86; Organizer, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch 1986-89
Kathleen Welch – Executive Director, Nat’l Association of Public Interest Law
Harrison Wellford – Food Safety Project, Center for the Study of Responsive Law 1969
David Wood – General Counsel, Public Interest Research Groups
Frances A. Zwenig – Attorney-Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch

Posted in Al Gore, Bush, election theft, Florida (where magical things happen), Supreme Court | 29 Comments »

Army Starting To Turn Against Coup?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2009

Wow. Al Giordano and his crew are doing signal work on this story. If this is true, this coup is falling apart faster than the one against Chavez in 2002:

Community Radio “Es Lo de Menos” was the first to report that the Fourth Infantry Battalion has rebelled from the military coup regime in Honduras. The radio station adds that “it seems” (“al parecer,” in the original Spanish) that the Tenth Infantry Battalion has also broken from the coup.

Rafael Alegria, leader of Via Campesina, the country’s largest social organization, one that has successfully blockaded the nation’s highways before to force government concessions, tells Alba TV:

“The popular resistance is rising up throughout the country. All the highways in the country are blockaded…. The Fourth Infantry Battallion… is no longer following the orders of Roberto Micheletti.”

Angel Alvarado of Honduras’ Popular Union Bloc tells Radio Mundial:

“Two infantry battalions of the Honduran Army have risen up against the illegitimate government of Roberto Micheletti in Honduras. They are the Fourth Infantry Battalion in the city of Tela and the Tenth Infantry Battalion in La Ceiba (the second largest city in Honduras), both located in the state of Atlántida.”

In the comments, Bill Conroy points out that the decision of the contingent of US forces currently stationed in Honduras to “hold fast” is very likely a good sign, as if Obama were on the side of the coup plotters he would have ordered these troops to fight alongside the troops commanded by the plotters.

Spare NarcoNews a few shekels, if you can. They’re doing what the TradMed won’t, and for far less money.

Posted in Latin America | 2 Comments »

UPDATE2! The Honduran coup enters the second day

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2009

Update2: Aporrea reports that Nicaragua, El Salvador, and most amazingly Guatemala have imposed trade sanctions on Honduras. Separately, Chavez will propose suspending oil shipments. I bet those aircraft and minitanks will not work so well without fuel.

The new name for the usurper Micheletti is Gorille…tti (I’ve anglicized it from the actual spelling by Aporrea, “Goriletti.”)

Update!: Al Giordano reports:

Community Radio “Es Lo de Menos” was the first to report that the Fourth Infantry Battalion has rebelled from the military coup regime in Honduras. The radio station adds that “it seems” (“al parecer,” in the original Spanish) that the Tenth Infantry Battalion has also broken from the coup.

We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of a short-lived coup in Honduras.

Kristin Bricker reports:

Congressman Cesar Ham is a Zelaya Ally and Organizer of the Opinion Poll on a New Constitution

Correction: News reports translated by Narco News on Monday that Honduran political leader Cesar Ham had been assassinated appear not to be accurate. This report says otherwise, that Ham is alive and well. We apologize for any confusion caused by our first report, and share in the world’s relief that the reports we initially translated were inaccurate.

(Via Narcosphere commenters)
1. A media report has surfaced to the effect that the head of the opposition party, Cesar Ham, may be alive.
2. Robert Samuels of the Miami Herald reports counterfactually that Hondurans in the US support the coup.

Turkana of DK reported that the guy installed by the coup, Roberto Micheletti, was born in Italy and is therefore unable to hold the office of president. This is apparently incorrect. Via Geekesque, Micheletti is the son of an Italian, born in El Progreso, Honduras.

From Rebelion, a pretty good refutation of the talking points:
* The election that was blocked by the coup was a non-binding referendum which Zelaya believed would show that Hondurans support an overhaul of the Constitution.
* The referendum would have taken place after the election, so would not have affected whether Zelaya could run again
* The Honduran Congress was mostly p–sed because Zelaya had allied with Hugo Chavez
* The “Supreme Court” that ruled against Zelaya on the election was not a superior court, but the highest electoral court.

Radio esDeLosMenos (Radio ELM) has received support from a number of Latin American countries. But…well, it’s not the same. I’m listening to some very nice guitar music on the Mexican RELM, but I was hoping to hear news.

Laura Carlsen reports that the OAS has delivered a sharp, unambiguous repudiation of the coup. Key among the points about which I was concerned is “To declare that no government arising from this unconstitutional interruption will be recognized.” Translation: even if they hold elections, those elections will not be recognized. If the OAS does what it says it will, the coupsters are well and truly f–ked. That doesn’t mean that their objectives have been overturned though. If they can control the November elections, all else is for naught.

A good piece of news. According to TeleSur, Finance Minister Patricia Rodas has arrived in Nicaragua with Calderon.

Posted in Latin America, world news | 2 Comments »

An easy $100K for any wingnut who wants to prove the poor caused the financial crisis

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2009

Barry Ritholtz has offered up to $100,000 to anyone who can prove, to the satisfaction of a fair debate jury, that the Community Reinvestment Act caused the mortgage crisis.

I should mention… there’s one catch.

You have to put up your own money.

Posted in Good Causes, mortgage crisis | Comments Off on An easy $100K for any wingnut who wants to prove the poor caused the financial crisis

Consumer Reports Debunks Right-Wing Health Care Myths

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 29, 2009

As follows:

Now that health-care reform is a possibility, the forces of opposition are gearing up. Anti-reform campaigns with names like Patients United Now, Partnership to Improve Patient Care, and Conservatives for Patients’ Rights are trying to make meaningful reform sound dangerous. Here are five of the worst fears you might hear—and the facts as we see them under the reforms we recommend.

Fear: Health reform will let faceless government bureaucrats come between you and your doctor.

Fact: Private health insurance already comes between you and your doctor. And because each company sets its own rules, it’s hard to imagine a more bureaucratic system. Some insurers decide which doctors you can see, which hospitals you can visit, and what drugs you can take and still be covered. And they may require copious paperwork before approving a treatment you and your doctor want. Health-care reform would standardize claim procedures to cut down on all of that. And it would protect you from other abuses, like being rejected for coverage or paying exorbitant premiums if you get sick.

Fear: Health reform will take away the good coverage from your job.

Fact: If you’re satisfied with your job-based coverage, you would be able to keep it. Employers who don’t offer insurance would either start to provide it or contribute to a fund that helps employees buy it on their own. Some small businesses would be eligible for subsidies to offset the cost. And every policy would offer at least a standard, easy-to-understand, comprehensive set of benefits like those your congressperson now enjoys.

Fear: Comparing the relative effectiveness of treatments and drugs will lead to rationing.

Fact: This issue flared up because Congress recently approved more funding for “comparative-effectiveness research.” The term refers to studies to evaluate which drugs or treatments work best for different medical conditions and different patients. That’s one more piece of information—based on science, not drug-company advertising or sales reps pushing pills—to help your doctor and you decide what’s right. Consumers Union has long argued for better health-care information. For an example of our work, go to You’ll find free advice based on comparative-effectiveness research into which drugs work best for some two dozen conditions, ranging from heartburn to heart disease. That’s not rationing. It’s just being smart. And if you suffer from one of those conditions, you may find you could choose a better medicine with fewer side effects and save thousands of dollars a year.

Fear: Health reform means a government takeover of medicine as in England and Canada.

Fact: The system we support would look nothing like those in England and Canada. Both of those countries finance health care out of general tax revenues. England goes even further. The government owns and operates most of the hospitals. We support a specifically American reform that would build on the current employer-based insurance while ensuring affordable comprehensive coverage for those who lack it.

Fear: Health reform will be too costly; it will raise your taxes and could even bankrupt the country.

Fact: The real threat to your finances is the health system the U.S. has now. A recent study concluded that today’s $2.4 trillion annual health-care tab would jump to $4.4 trillion by 2018 if nothing is done to rein in expenses. Consumers Union thinks reform is the best hope for getting costs under control. It would cut down on waste, overhead, and price gouging, and reduce inappropriate care and preventable errors. We fully understand why some people are apprehensive about reform: Any change is scary. But we also see the shameful damage caused by the current system. Americans deserve better than this, and can have it.

There you go.

Posted in health care, health issues | 9 Comments »

Military Coup in Honduras. OAS and US reject coup. Update: Coup now murdering opponents.

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2009

Update: The New York Times coverage is laughable. Here’s a line from their article by Elizabeth Malkin: The last coup in the region occurred in Guatemala in 1983, when the military overthrew the government headed by Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt. They should get someone who knows a little bit about the region. Not only was Rios Montt the guy who did the overthrowing, the last Central American coup was in Panama, led by the US against Manuel Noriega. Not to mention that if you let your eyes stray a few hundred miles toward the Caribbean, there’s Haiti, another US coup target.

And their article by Simon Romero is equally laughable. His re-writing of the history of that to say that the CIA was “aware” of the coup plans in Venezuela ahead of the onset is an obtuse way of saying that the US laid the groundwork for the coup, encouraged the plotters, and supposedly provided some ::cough:: National Technical Support. Similarly, he says that “President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela …put his military on alert over an apparent affront to the Venezuelan ambassador in Honduras.” What he means is that, according to James Suggett,

Military personnel kidnapped the ambassadors of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua in Honduras, along with the Honduran Foreign Relations Minister Patricia Rodas, according to Venezuela’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Roy Chaderton.

FFFFF the New York Times, whose Latin American coverage is the absolute pits.

Update: The coup has [UPDATE: NOT] murdered Cesar Ham, the head of the left-wing Democratic Unification Party of Honduras. Therefore, the presidential elections that the right has announced for November are meaningless. [This story is confirmed [BUT IS WRONG] by El Financiero ( via Bananas at DU), which also reports that the mother of President Zelaya suffered a heart attack as a consequence of the seizure of her son.] Chancellor (Finance Minister) Patricia Rodas has been kidnapped and was reportedly beaten.

NarcoNews is doing an incredible job of following events under terrible conditions.

Update: Al Giordano has footage.

Update: Cadejo4 at DK is doing a sterling job summarizing coverage. As is Laura Carlsen at the Puffington Host. Telesur TV has coverage in Spanish, but the signal is messy, partly because of very heavy traffic. But Zelaya is sounding pretty sensible. He said the referendum was non-binding, a poll (sondeo). I’m now listening to an American labor guy who came as an election observer, speaking in English. He says that ambassadors of several countries (like probably Nicaragua and Venezuela) have been kidnapped.

Reuters gets a brilliant photo

At Tienanmen, we called this brave

As Kristin Bricker of NarcoNews warned was likely, a military coup has ousted President Manuel Zelaya and expelled him to Costa Rica. (Amazingly, the Associated f—-g Press cannot report this straight. It can only bring itself to say that Zelaya says he was the victim of a coup). The coup was triggered by Zelaya’s attempt to hold a referendum on whether to have Constitutional Convention. The right-wing Liberal Party, the Catholic hierarchy including auxiliary Bishop Darwin Andino, and businessmen opposed this.

* El Universal: Armored cars and mini-tanks blocked access to the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa hours after (??!?) the president was seized. Aircraft flew overhead. There were interruptions to the electrical supply and to broadcasting.
* Kristin Bricker, NarcoNews: The president was beaten. He says that the troops used to seize him were probably not regular army.
* Radio EsDeLosMenos was shut down. At this moment, the station is broadcasting erratically. I am having difficulty holding the webstream, and the conversation is fragmented when available.
* Bricker, ibid: The head of the Honduran Joint Chiefs, Romeo Orlando Vasquez Velasquez, refused to accept his firing by Zelaya. He is a another proud example of the graduates of the School of the Americas, as is the Airforce head, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo.

There is no way that the OAS or Obama can countenance this. If they do, they have no credibility in Latin American. None.

Laura Carlsen says that the OAS has rejected the coup as illegitimate, an important step:

More from the OAS session:(translated and paraphrased on the spot to the best of my abilities)
“This is a blow not to Honduras but to democracy in all of Latin American and a blow the the Inter-American Charter. This is a reality– a reality that this body should condemn as unacceptable. This is an emergency, so we appreciate that the Sec. General (SG) is traveling tomorrow to Honduras. We call for the immediate return to democratic institutions, to convoke an extraordinary session of the General Assembly (GA), to defend institutions in Honduras. This is an act of brute force that disrupts democracy in a neighboring country. The Inter-American Charter (does not include force) but it gives us an arsenal of moral arms sufficient to restore democracy in Honduras.”

Furthermore, Secretary Clinton has rejected the coup (‘ray!):

The action taken against Honduran President Mel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all. We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. Honduras must embrace the very principles of democracy we reaffirmed at the OAS meeting it hosted less than one month ago.

Obama has issued a similar though weaker statement:

President Obama issued this declaration this morning: “I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya. As the Organization
of American States did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.”

Posted in Latin America | 16 Comments »

Iran And Leftist Confusion

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 28, 2009

Howie Klein turned his blog over to his good buddy Reese Erlich so Erlich could do an announcement regarding the mis-citing of his book The Iran Agenda:

When I returned from covering the Iranian elections recently, I was surprised to find my email box filled with progressive authors, academics and bloggers bending themselves into knots about the current crisis in Iran. They cite the long history of U.S. interference in Iran and conclude that the current unrest there must be sponsored or manipulated by the Empire.

That comes as quite a shock to those risking their lives daily on the streets of major Iranian cities fighting for political, social and economic justice.

Some of these authors have even cited my book, The Iran Agenda, as a source to prove U.S. meddling. Whoa there, pardner. Now we’re getting personal.

Go read the whole thing. It’s instructive.

Posted in CIA, Internet, Iran | 7 Comments »

Siegelman and related cases of political prosecution/update2

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2009

…were discussed on C-Span

The Flash version took several minutes to load at pretty good bandwidth. (Update2: Scott Horton as moderator. 1. Elliot Mincberg, 2. Andrew Kreig, 3. Judge U.W. Clemon, 4. Charles Walker, Jr., 5. Bruce Fein 6. Bill Yeomans 7. Cliff Arnebeck 8. Judge Oliver Diaz, introduced by Gail Sistrunk of Project Save Justice 9. Puerto Rico Sen. Eduardo Bhatia. Judge U. W. Clemon gave the stemwinder… at August in Alabama speed, that’s a notable achievement. He explained the early phases of the assault on Siegelman and how it made it clear that the prosecution was politics by other means. Sistrunk mentioned a video– see Larisa for clips or go here for The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove– showing all the cases of political prosecution; she suggested looking at the Shields Report, which is in the Congressional Record. OPR has sat on reports for years. Diaz told the story of Paul Minor: Bronze Star, VN; largest MS donor to Democrats; 10th largest donor nationally to John Edwards. Bhatia said that hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans did not vote in Florida 2000 and 2004.)

C-Span did not make it easy to see this show and re-aired it without notice today. I hope they will air it again… you can encourage that with e-mail to

Scott Horton was one of the speakers (John Conyers was scheduled to keynote, but he seems to have fish of his own to fry, fish that have to do with nonpolitically-motivated prosecution). On Horton’s blog, No Comment, he has some interesting news about why Rick Renzi may escape conviction. From Murray Waas, The Hill:

In the fall of 2006, one day after the Justice Department granted permission to a U.S. attorney to place a wiretap on a Republican congressman suspected of corruption, existence of the investigation was leaked to the press — not only compromising the sensitive criminal probe but tipping the lawmaker off to the wiretap. Career federal law enforcement officials who worked directly on a probe of former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) said they believe that word of the investigation was leaked by senior Bush Administration political appointees in the Justice Department in an improper and perhaps illegal effort to affect the outcome of an election.

Horton, quoting bits from Waas:

The newspaper [Arizona Republic] noted that “the federal official would not discuss whether the Justice Department was being manipulated for political purposes. However, the official said it is unusual for the department to publicly acknowledge concerns about the accuracy of media reports.” The unnamed Justice official seems to have been a very busy beaver. The Arizona Republic story notes that he had contacted two other newspapers to persuade them that their stories about Renzi were wrong….Waas notes that sources involved in the Justice Department’s internal probe of the U.S. attorneys firings, conducted jointly by the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General, concluded that the person must have been a political appointee. Their report casts suspicion directly on one individual: Brian Roehrkasse.

Posted in Department of Injustice, DoJ, Don Siegelman | 7 Comments »

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