Down and Dirty

Something is up. As reviewed in The Great Divide Widens – in some detail – things are getting nasty. On Friday, October 17, there was this from the McClatchy wire:


WASHINGTON – An ACORN community organizer received a death threat and the liberal activist group’s Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized Thursday, reflecting mounting tensions over its role in registering 1.3 million mostly poor and minority Americans to vote next month.


And from AFP:


John McCain and Barack Obama’s campaigns swapped accusations of rampant and widespread voter fraud Friday as legal battles over who ought to be allowed to cast a ballot ensnared the race to the White House.


An estimated nine million new voters have registered for the hotly contested November 4 election, and the Obama campaign says Democratic registrations are outpacing Republican ones by four to one.


The McCain campaign contends that an untold number of those registration forms are false and warned that illegally cast ballots could alter the results of the election and undermine the public’s faith in democracy.


The Obama campaign’s top lawyer, Bob Bauer, accused Republicans of recklessly “plotting” to suppress legitimate votes and to “sow confusion and harass voters and complicate the process for millions of Americans.”


In fact, the Obama campaign’s general counsel wrote to the Attorney General late Friday – a request that the special prosecutor investigating the firing of all the US Attorneys, because they wouldn’t go after Democratic voter fraud even if they had no evidence of any, no matter how hard they looked, take on the additional task of seeing whether they were at it again, using the Justice Department to find a way to bounce likely Democratic voters from the rolls. It happened in 2004, and 2006, and seems to be happening again.


This has come down to the Republicans setting up a possible claim, should they lose the presidency and what they thought were safe seats in the House and Senate, that the whole election was not legitimate – all results are tainted.


The counterargument from the other side is that the Republicans, in collusion with the Justice Department – now purged of career attorneys and packed almost entirely with young lawyers with law degrees from the Jerry Falwell Liberty University – is investigating ACORN in an attempt to strip as many registered Democrats from the voting rolls as possible. That’s what the firing of all the US Attorneys was all about – that’s why Monica Goodling lost her job and the new Attorney General gave in and reluctantly assigned a special prosecutor to see if his predecessor, Alberto the Willing, worked with the White House to turn the Justice Department into an operation to assure the Republican Party stayed in power, not one to prosecute any other crimes. Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, subpoenas in hand, have refused to cooperate, so even if they finally do have to testify or face jail – subpoena translates “under pain” – that testimony would be given long after we have a new president, and they’ll invoke the Fifth Amendment anyway, of course. By that time no one will care. A President McCain will pardon them – a Gerald Ford healing thing. A President Obama will, probably, be busy with other matters and suggest we move forward. He’s like that.


But this is serious stuff that could rip the country apart. At this point it seems likely Obama will win, and the opposition party has set up things so they can claim, forever and a day, the Obama is not the rightful president. They can call for his removal. They can call for a new American Revolution to take back the country from the illegitimate usurper. That’s playing with fire – but that is the current situation.


Our friend, the doctor from Boston, sent this along:


Interesting about the ACORN vandalism in Boston – the Globe didn’t cover it. I tore through the paper this morning looking for a story, and searched online – nothing. I thought that was strange.


I was concerned when McCain alleged during the debate that the activities of Acorn threatened the very fabric of American democracy. I felt he was setting the country up for something big. I worry that if Obama wins, this election will wind up back in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. I don’t know if that’s even possible, legally or not.


It is quite possible that this election will wind up back in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. The groundwork is being laid for that.


And there was coverage – Computers Stolen From Boston ACORN Office (CBS), Boston Police Investigate Burglary at ACORN Office (Boston Globe, later), Death Threat, Vandalism Hit ACORN After Accusations (Miami Herald, with the note the same thing happened in Seattle) and ACORN Targeted by Violent Threats (Time, also covering the Seattle incident) – so this didn’t go unnoticed.


This is part of the set up – the claim by the Republicans that this election should not count. You get “patriots” to rise up, as with these incidents. Think back to November 19, 2000 and the Brooks Brothers Riot – Republican congressional staffers stormed a meeting of election canvassers in Miami, pounding on the doors and windows and scaring the crap out of those counting the votes, forcing them to give up. David Brooks laughed about it on the PBS News Hour – a cool move. One of the participants, Joel Kaplan, succeeded Karl Rove as Deputy White House Chief of Staff.


That was just a warm-up. Imagine the Republican Party, should it not succeed in getting the Supreme Court to nullify the election, urging “real Americans” to rise up and overthrow the bogus government. And of course there is already a movement being organized to impeach President Obama – that will be in place, staffed and funded, come January, if he wins.


That stuff about real Americans is already in place:


On MSNBC this morning, McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer asserted that “real Virginia” does not include Northern Virginia: “I certainly agree that Northern Virginia has gone more Democratic…. But the rest of the state – real Virginia if you will – I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.”


MSNBC host Kevin Cork gave Pfotenhauer a chance to revise her answer, telling her: “Nancy, I’m going to give you a chance to climb back off that ledge – did you say ‘real Virginia’?”


But Pfotenhauer didn’t budge, and instead dug a deeper hole: “Real Virginia, I take to be, this part of the state that’s more Southern in nature, if you will.”


This comes two weeks after Joe McCain, the senator’s brother and campaign surrogate, referred to Virginia’s two most northern counties as “communist country.” What’s next – real American “patriots” drive by Obama rallies and open up with small arms fire. They’ll call it a legitimate American revolution. David Brooks can laugh about it on national television.


And, from Cincinnati there’s this:


Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who serves as John McCain’s Southwest Ohio campaign chairman, has requested personal information for some individuals who registered and immediately cast a ballot during a weeklong period that ended earlier this month.


Deters issued a subpoena on Friday for complete registration records for roughly 40 percent of the 671 voters who registered and cast a ballot between Sept. 30, when early voting began, and Oct. 6, the deadline for voter registration.


The subpoena, obtained by The Associated Press, is part of a grand jury investigation initiated by Deters in the county.


“We’ve had widespread complaints of fraud but we do not discuss investigations at all,” Deters said. He said the complaints came from “a variety of sources.”


Some votes just should count. And this guy is a bit of a thug:


If the way Sen. John McCain is running his presidential campaign in Greater Cincinnati is any indication, maybe it’s a good thing that he’s trailing Barack Obama in nearly every recent national poll.


McCain’s judgment is under scrutiny after he appointed Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters as his campaign’s southwest Ohio regional chairman despite a record of questionable actions.


Deters is the former Ohio treasurer who left that position when his office was investigated for a campaign contribution scandal that resulted in misdemeanor convictions for two staffers. With the heat on in Columbus, Joltin’ Joe quickly returned to the Queen City in 2005 and resumed his old job as prosecutor.


That might be enough to give prudent candidates pause about Deters, but his sordid accomplishments don’t stop there.


Deters was the person who arranged for local radio talk show host Bill Cunningham to introduce McCain at a GOP rally here in February that caused the Senator a great deal of national embarrassment.


During his intro, Cunningham referred to Obama twice by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, in an obvious and lame attempt to play into fears that the candidate is a secret Muslim. Never one for subtlety, Cunningham also called Obama a “hack Chicago-style Daley politician” and implied he was involved in shady, possibly criminal deals back in the Windy City.


As the national media pounced, a red-faced McCain quickly repudiated Cunningham’s comments and offered an apology, stating Willie’s remarks didn’t reflect his own views.


But wait! There’s more!


Jim Schifrin – who calls himself “Charles Foster Kane” and is author of The Whistleblower, a gossipy Web-based newsletter – bragged in his July 16 edition about having lunch with his old pal, Deters, in Newport, where they allegedly joked about Obama’s speech before the NAACP national convention.


“Best of all, Deters and Kane were eating like the natives at an Ebonics-free restaurant where, unlike at eateries in downtown Cincinnati this week, the giving of gratuities for restaurant service was still being practiced,” Schifrin wrote. “The best joke at lunch was: Obama lost a lot of points with colored people at his speech Monday night when he promised them all jobs.”


For good measure, Schifrin included a joke about Obama being assassinated.


That’s when a group of local activists, led by blogger Jason Haap on his Cincinnati Beacon Web site, decided to hold Deters and McCain accountable. Haap approached Deters on Fountain Square [just so you know] July 17, while Deters was watching McCain’s speech to the NAACP.


In a confrontation caught on videotape, Deters said his friendship with Schifrin was “his personal life.” When asked if he repudiated Schifrin’s racist diatribes, Deters replied, “Get that camera out of my face.”


Schifrin’s latest comments aren’t an isolated incident. In the past, he’s called Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory a “gay darkie” and called Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Rosa Blackwell “mammy” and “Mrs. Buckwheat.” Presumably, “Buckwheat” refers to Mrs. Blackwell’s husband, Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State.


Only Deters can answer whether he supports such divisive, racist rhetoric. Regardless, McCain’s constant reliance on a loose cannon like Deters shows poor judgment on the Senator’s part.


That may not be poor judgment. This may be war.


And out here in Hollywood things aren’t much nicer. Those of us who shop at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Ralphs down on Sunset all always running the gauntlet of young folks wanting you to sign this petition or that, and the Los Angeles Times reports on what’s really going on:


Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country. Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.


“I am not a Republican,” insisted Karen Ashcraft, 47, a pet-clinic manager and former Democrat from Ventura who said she was duped by a signature gatherer into joining the GOP. “I certainly won’t sign anything in front of a grocery store ever again.”


Of course not – at this one you’re too busy dodging celebrities, and it’s a classic bait-and-switch:


The firm hired by the California Republican Party – a small company called Young Political Majors, or YPM, which operates in several states – has been accused of using the tactic across the country. Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit. Prosecutors in Los Angeles and Ventura counties say they are investigating complaints about the company.


A Republican Party spokesman said they pay the young twerps seven to twelve dollars for each registration they snag but denies any wrongdoing – no one has ever been been charged with a crime, after all.


And this works:


The 70,000 voters YPM has registered for the Republican Party this year will help combat the public perception that it is struggling amid Democratic gains nationally, give a boost to fundraising efforts and bolster member support for party leaders, political strategists from both parties say.


And there are the details:


Those who were formerly Democrats may stop receiving phone calls and literature from that party, perhaps affecting its get-out-the-vote efforts. They also will be given only a Republican ballot in the next primary election if they do not switch their registration back before then.


Some also report having their registration status changed to absentee without their permission; if they show up at the polls without a ballot they may be unable to vote.


At Hullabaloo, see Digby:


Oddly enough this happened to me in 2006. I did not request an absentee ballot and I didn’t turn one in. But they had me down as an absentee voter and I had to cast a provisional ballot. It’s a hassle to do it and if people are in a hurry, they may not bother. They told me to call back in a month to find out if my vote counted. I did and they didn’t know what I was talking about.


I have no idea how it happened. In my case it was probably some kind of computer glitch because I certainly didn’t change my registration or fill out any paperwork. But it was something of a shock and made me wonder if someone wasn’t playing around with my registration.


The good news is that if it happens, you can vote provisionally. But it’s the kind of thing that’s designed to screw up the process and make people think twice about whether or not it’s worth it.

That’s the whole idea.


But wait, there’s more:


This McCain campaign robocall tying Obama to William Ayers may be the worst one yet.


The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee are pumping a robocall into multiple states that directly alleges that Obama has “worked closely” with “domestic terrorist Bill Ayers,” whose organization has “killed Americans,” according to multiple reader reports and an audio recording we listened to.


You get the voice saying the call is on behalf of McCain and the Republican National Committee:


You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.


And it ends with “paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee.”


These calls are flooding New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, and Missouri.


Steven Benen:


We now have three McCain robocalls, at least two of which are being pumped into multiple battleground states. One questions Obama’s patriotism, charging he put “Hollywood above America.” The second says that Obama and Dems “aren’t who you think they are” and says they merely “say” they want to keep us safe.


And now we have a third one that says Obama “worked closely” with a “domestic terrorist” who bombed the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon and killed Americans.


Needless to say, a major campaign is underway.


And Ben Smith reports that the call may have also reached into Northern Virginia, Maine, Florida and Missouri.


Actually, this is getting some attention, as Benen notes:


The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN are now getting serious about picking up on the story of John McCain’s robo-slime campaign, all weighing in with pieces that endeavor to demonstrate the true breadth and scope of McCain’s under-the-radar smear effort.


The Times piece is here. WaPo’s is here.


The CNN video is here, and Benen comments:


The Times piece hits directly on two key points: First, the calls are “misleading,” as the paper puts it, perhaps too delicately. And second, the calls show McCain yet again jettisoning a formerly claimed principle as he faces the increasingly likely prospect of defeat. As the paper notes, McCain high-mindedly denounced such tactics when he was the target of them in 2000, and again during the GOP primary this year, when he described the robo-slime being directed at him as “scurrilous stuff.”


It’s worth stepping back to ponder what’s really going on here. While McCain and Sarah Palin try to persuade you that they’re running a relatively clean campaign and don’t question Obama’s patriotism or love of country, they are running an enormous shadow campaign to smear Obama in the ugliest of ways, one that’s designed to portray him as a friend of terrorists, as a vaguely sinister other, as not genuinely committed to defending our country, and as callously indifferent to the lives of newborn babies.


Thus, while Palin was sweetly claiming yesterday that she knows “Obama loves America,” her and McCain’s campaign were funding thousands upon thousands of calls telling battleground state voters that Obama put “Hollywood above America” during the crisis negotiations, that Obama and Dems merely “say” they want to keep you safe and “aren’t who you think they are,” and that Obama has “worked closely” with a “domestic terrorist” whose group “killed Americans.”


His conclusion:


There are two McCain campaigns operating simultaneously right now. There’s the one that McCain and Palin are running in front of the cameras, and then there’s the subterranean robo-slime campaign, which is bombarding thousands upon thousands of voters with multiple messages that McCain would never associate himself with in the glare of the klieg lights. That’s the real story here.


Actually, the real story is laying the groundwork for the next revolution.


How did it come to this?



About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
This entry was posted in ACORN, Attack Politics, Dividing Us from Each other, McCain, McCain's Sleazy Campaign Ads, Obama Pals with Terrorists, Real Americans, Robocalls, Sarah Palin, The Culture Wars, Voter Fraud. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Down and Dirty

  1. Rick (from Atlanta) says:

    There’s something more that should be said about those McCain campaign robocalls, which include these words:

    “You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.”

    Okay, as we all know, Barack Obama had only a slight association with Bill Ayers, so maybe there is little real point, we might think, in arguing with the rest of the claims.

    But if we don’t, then any voters who somehow remain unconvinced that Obama and Ayers weren’t “pals” will then conclude that Obama indeed associated with a terrorist group that planted bombs that killed Americans.

    In fact, and there are good reasons for understanding this, the Weather Underground Organization never did.

    The group, as misguided as I think that they were, specifically claimed that they did not plant bombs with the intent to kill or injure anyone, but merely to damage property, and in fact, apparently none of their bombs ever did. The bombing of the Capitol and Pentagon, as stupid and enraging as they were to all of us, at least never injured a living soul.

    In fact, I think the only “Americans,” or anyone else, who died from Weatherman bombs were three members of their own group, after a bomb they were building went off prematurely in a Greenwich Village townhouse.

    Yes, they were, suspected by some in the bombing of a San Francisco police station that killed one man, but to the best of my knowledge, the Weather Underground Organization never took credit for that, and there was never any evidence to justify a belief that they did it. The incident didn’t fit their M.O., since they always gave prior warnings of their crimes.

    As for bombing “a judge’s home,” this is a reference to an incident in 1970 in which (according to Wikipedia), “gasoline-filled molotov cocktails were thrown at the home of New York State Supreme Court Justice Murtagh, who was presiding over the trial of the so-called ‘Panther 21,’ members of the Black Panther Party over a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores.” Once again, the Weatherman group never claimed this, although the justice’s son, for whatever reason, speculated that it might have been them. (In fact, the more obvious culprit, one might assume, would be the Panthers themselves. But in any event, the case remains unsolved.)

    People also should be reminded that the Weather Underground Organization disbanded by 1978, and that Bill Ayers turned himself in to the authorities in 1980. All charges against him were then dropped.

    Did Ayers remain “unrepentant,” as many claim? Only sort of, since (also from Wikipedia), “Richard Elrod, a city lawyer injured in the Weathermen’s Chicago ‘Days of Rage,’ received an apology from Ayers and [his wife, Bernardine] Dohrn for their part in the violence.” And although Ayers was once quoted as saying, “I feel we didn’t do enough,” he later explained he didn’t mean enough bombings, he meant that he regretted not having done more to end the Vietnam War.

    While I can see why it might not make political sense for the Obama campaign to take up a public defense of this particular group of goofballs from the 1970s, I think at least someone should set the record straight — not only because doing so can do that much more to weaken the spurious charges being leveled against Barack Obama, but also simply because, as we should have learned in recent years, acknowledging real history does matter, and so does the truth.

    And the truth is, not only did Obama not “work closely” with Bill Ayers, there is no evidence that Ayers’ former group did all the things they’re being accused of, especially that of killing Americans. Which is another way of saying, John McCain’s robocalls are not just partial exaggerations, they’re almost completely lies, top to bottom.

    Not being a sports fan, I have, over all these years, wondered what this “Hail Mary Pass” is that everyone’s always talking about, so after hearing it all over the place just after McCain named Sarah Palin, I googled it to find out. Now, bless my heart, I’m seeing Hail Mary Passes all over the place!

    And this whole Bill Ayers thing, especially making these robocalls, is only the most recent desperate attempt to toss the ball way over the truth and into the end zone. (Okay, whatever that means.)

    So please listen up, Mary, if you’re there:

    Don’t help these people. They are flirting with evil on a daily basis and do not deserve to win!


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