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Sent To The Naughty Chair

Translation: “But because you’re white college grads and one of you is fortunate enough to the offspring of a U.S. Attorney, we’ll just slap you on the wrists, send you to nuisance court and call it a day. Since I called this an ‘extremely serious crime’ and made an Extremely Serious Face, no one can accuse me of favorable treatment.”

Doesn’t seem quite enough, considering what we’ve seen from James O’Keefe to date:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge had strong words for four conservative activists who initially were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office, but ruled the misdemeanor charges against them can be resolved before a magistrate instead of a judge.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. said Wednesday he isn’t exercising his right to hear the case even though the four defendants are charged with an “extremely serious” crime involving a security breach at a federal building.

“Deception is alleged to have been used by the defendants to achieve their purposes which in and of itself is unconscionable,” Duval wrote. “Perceived righteousness of a cause does not justify nefarious and potentially dangerous actions.”

James O’Keefe, Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan are scheduled to appear before Magistrate Daniel Knowles III on May 26 for arraignments on misdemeanor charges of entering a federal building under false pretenses. Duval said he has reviewed their plea agreements.

Carl Jung, Genius

Oh, look. These are the exact same things the Republican always accuse ACORN of!

Orange County authorities are launching an investigation into possible voter registration fraud after a local newspaper reported over a hundred cases of voters being tricked into registering as Republicans by petitioners who asked them to sign petitions for, among other causes, legalizing pot.

The Orange County Register reported last week that the Orange County District Attorney’s office announced it would team up with the Secretary of State on the case, following a Register report that 99 written complaints were filed since March by voters who said they were registered as Republicans without their consent.

Another 74 voters reached by the Register said they, too, were unwillingly made members of the GOP.

In a lengthy investigation published earlier this month, the paper pointed to an $8 “bounty” offered by the California Republican Party for each new registration as a cause for the problems. It identified multiple petitioners who work for vendors “with ties to the California Republican Party.” Back in 2006, a similar scandal led to the convictions of several petitioners.

Not the Democratic Party. Not ACORN. Imagine that!

The Real Arizona Agenda

This makes sense, especially in light of alleged author Kris Kobach’s proud involvement with voter caging in Kansas – and his campaign to become secretary of state. From Greg Palast:

[Phoenix, AZ.] Don’t be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don’t buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the Saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What’s new here is not the politicians’ fear of a xenophobic “Teabag” uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote — and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for Rolling Stone with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters … directed by one Jan Brewer.

Brewer, then Secretary of State, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer’s command, no less than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanics, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.

That statistic caught my attention. Voting or registering to vote if you’re not a citizen is a felony, a big-time jail-time crime. And arresting such criminal voters is easy: after all, they give their names and addresses.

Captives of Sheriff Joe’s prison, Maricopa County, Arizona
So I asked Brewer’s office, had she busted a single one of these thousands of allegedly illegal voters? Did she turn over even one name to the feds for prosecution?

No, not one.

Which raises the question: were these disenfranchised voters the criminal, non-citizens Brewer tagged them, or just not-quite-white voters given the José Crow treatment, entrapped in document-chase trickery?

The answer was provided by a federal prosecutor who was sent on a crazy hunt all over the Western mesas looking for these illegal voters. “We took over 100 complaints, we investigated for almost 2 years, I didn’t find one prosecutable voter fraud case.”

This prosecutor, David Iglesias, is a prosecutor no more. When he refused to fabricate charges of illegal voting among immigrants, his firing was personally ordered by the President of the United States, George W. Bush, under orders from his boss, Karl Rove.

Iglesias’ jurisdiction was next door, in New Mexico, but he told me that Rove and the Republican chieftains were working nationwide to whip up anti-immigrant hysteria with public busts of illegal voters, even though there were none.

“They wanted some splashy pre-election indictments,” Iglesias told me. The former prosecutor, himself a Republican, paid the price when he stood up to this vicious attack on citizenship.

But Secretary of State Brewer followed the Rove plan to a T. The weapon she used to slice the Arizona voter rolls was a 2004 law, known as “Prop 200,” which required proof of citizenship to register. It is important to see the Republicans’ latest legislative horror show, sanctioning cops to stop residents and prove citizenship, as just one more step in the party’s desperate plan to impede Mexican-Americans from marching to the ballot box.

Leeches

Everyone who uses government services is a parasite living off the hard work of others – except when it’s them, of course:

They were enraged about the growing costs of entitlements, the surging national debt, and everything from the bailouts of the banks to the new health care law.

Early yesterday morning, Valerie and Rob Shirk corralled their 10 home-schooled children into their van for the 2 1/2-hour drive from their home in Connecticut to Boston, arriving just in time to hear Sarah Palin denounce government-run health care at the tea party movement rally on Boston Common.

They thought it would be a learning opportunity for their children, who range in age from 9 months to 15 years old and who held up signs criticizing the government for defying the “will of the people.’’

“The problem in this country is that too many people are looking for handouts,’’ said Valerie Shirk, 43, of Prospect, Conn. “I agree with the signs that say, ‘Share my father’s work ethic — not his paycheck.’ We have to do something about the whole welfare mentality in this country.’’

The Shirks were among the thousands of people who attended the rally from around the region, many of them carrying signs with slogans such as, “What Part of Live Free or Die Don’t You Understand?,’’ “Don’t Tread on Me,’’ and “Starve the Beast by Tax Cuts.’’

[…] For the Shirks, it was a day for their children to seek inspiration from Palin and the other speakers, who questioned Obama’s patriotism and at least one of whom referred to him repeatedly as Barack Hussein.

The couple, who rely on Medicaid for their health care, were also upset about the nation’s new health reforms.

When asked why her family used state-subsidized health care when she criticized people who take handouts, Valerie Shirk said she did not want to stop having children, and that her husband’s income was not enough to cover the family with private insurance.

“I know there’s a dichotomy because of what we get from the state,’’ she said. “But I just look at each of my children as a blessing.’’

Uh huh. Oh, and I liked this one:

“This movement stands for smaller government, reduced taxation, and support for our Constitution, which I feel has been trampled on by the Democrats, and George W. Bush,’’ said McQueen, who now receives health insurance through COBRA.

He was not sure how much longer he would be able to afford his insurance. “But I won’t take a handout,’’ he said. “I’ll just have to make some money.’’

I guess he turned down the 65% COBRA subsidy, right? On principle.

And how about this one?

Lindsay Lacombe, who wore an “I Love Fox News’’ T-shirt, drove in from Fitchburg, in part to protest the health care reforms.

“This was just something I really wanted to participate in,’’ said Lacombe, 22, a junior at Fitchburg State College. “I don’t understand how everyone can get free health care. It’s not right.’’

When it was explained that the new law requires many of the newly insured to make some contribution toward their health insurance, she said: “I’m not a political science major.’’

Just a bunch of anxious people with free-floating hostility, looking for someone or something to blame!

Indictment?

I wonder what his fellow C Streeters are going to do to help him out of this:

Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign is likely to be indicted for a $96,000 payment he made to the husband of the aide with whom he had an affair, a leading Nevada political reporter says.

John Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun reports that prosecutors looking into the scandal surrounding Ensign’s affair with former aide Cynthia Hampton are focusing on the payment made by Ensign’s parents to the Hamptons. Critics have charged that Ensign used his parents to pay off the cuckolded husband, Doug Hampton.

But prosecutors believe the money may have been a form of “structuring,” an illegal activity where transactions are reclassified to avoid reporting rules. While Ensign’s defenders sat the payment to the Hamptons was a “gift,” federal prosecutors believe it may have been a severance payment to Ensign’s aide, in which case it broke the law surrounding reporting of severance payments.

Two former federal prosecutors in the past two weeks have said there is enough evidence to indict Ensign. “Just based on what the senator has said himself and what Mr. (Doug) Hampton has said … under the federal standard of probable cause, there’s enough to indict the senator now,” ex-prosecutor Stan Hunterton, a well-respected local attorney, said March 19 on “Face to Face.” Then, Thursday on the program, Melanie Sloan, the former federal prosecutor who now heads a D.C. watchdog group that has filed several complaints against Ensign, said, “I completely think” Hunterton is right.

Life On The Edge

So the good news is, I got the extension. The bad news is, I don’t know when I’ll get it – me, and two million other Americans:

(CNN) — Extended unemployment benefits will temporarily expire for thousands of Americans on Monday because the Senate went on its spring recess without approving a one-month deadline extension.

The extension, which had bipartisan support, would have cost about $10 billion, but a lone Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn, said no until the costs are offset.

The Oklahoma senator objected to a commonly used unanimous-consent agreement to pass the bill under emergency conditions, even if it increases the federal deficit. Coburn wants to eliminate additional government spending to pay for the bill.

“The legitimate debate is whether we borrow and steal from our kids or we get out of town and send the bill to our kids for something that we’re going to consume today,” Coburn said on the Senate floor.

It’s the second time a Republican has blocked a so-called “emergency extension” of jobless benefits.

The last time this happened was in 2002, when the economy was in the crapper after 9/11. No one could quite believe that the Republicans refused to extend unemployment benefits, but they did. As a result, I ended up leaving my apartment right before I was going to be evicted.

This isn’t a game, although Republicans would like to have you believe we’re all just sitting around on vacation, sipping pina coladas. Shame on them.

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