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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Josh Marshall - TPM: "Voter Fraud - the real story"

What do you call that look? Oh yeah - LOVE

Saw this post tonite from Josh Marshall and it's truly insightful about the real story behind the US Attorney firings by Gonzales and Bush,. which TPM has been leading the charge on:

Since President Bush came into office, the Justice Department has made 'voter fraud' prosecutions a high priority. Yet, not for lack of effort, they've barely been able to find any examples of it. The grand effort has boiled down to a program to send a few handfuls folks -- mainly black -- to jail for what are in almost every case notional or unintentional voting infractions.

. . .

Another example is that of Pakistani immigrant Usman Ali. He'd been in the US for ten years and owned a jewelry store. He was in line one day at the DMV when a clerk put a registration form in front of him along with other forms. Ali hastily filled it out. He never made any attempt to vote. But the mistake got him deported back to Pakistan where he's now trying to rebuild his life with his US citizen wife and daughter.

We're certainly lucky to be rid of Mr. Ali and his efforts to undermine our democracy.

Most of the examples, like these, are genuinely disgusting -- non-malicious errors for which people get serious punishment because federal prosecutors are under immense pressure to find someone to indict for voter fraud. But it's also easy to get lost in or distracted by the individual stories. The bigger picture is what you need to focus on. And the picture looks like this.

Republican party officials and elected officials use bogus claims of vote fraud to do three things: 1) to stymie voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts in poor and minority neighborhoods, 2) purge voter rolls of legitimate voters and 3) institute voter ID laws aimed at making it harder for low-income and minority voters to vote.

. . .

The tie-in with the US Attorney story is that the White House and the Republican National Committee have used the power of the Department of Justice to accomplish those three goals that I outlined above. Only most of the relatively non-partisan and professional US Attorneys simply didn't find any actual fraud. Choosing not to indict people on bogus charges got at least two of the US Attorneys (Iglesias and McKay) fired. And we are seeing evidence that others may have been nudged out less directly for the same reasons. In turn they've been replaced by a new crop of highly-political party operative prosecutors who, in the gentle wording of the Times, "may not be so reticent" about issuing indictments against people who have committed technical voting infractions with no intent to cast a fraudulent ballot. Along the way, the fever to find someone, anyone guilty of committing even a technical infraction has landed folks like Ms. Prude in the slammer. They are what you might call the prosecutorial road kill in the Rove Republican party's effort to ride roughshod over American citizens' voting rights to entrench the GOP as the country's permanent electoral majority.

Who's running all this? Who's put it all in motion. Look at the documents that have already been released. It's been run out of Karl Rove's office at the White House.

-- Josh Marshall

TPM as an investigative site just keeps getting better with each passing month. The US Attorneys story is like a Saturn V underneath their investigative lunar module, headed straight for the moon.

(yeah, i'm that old)

- posted by Jim in LA

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