01 November, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

This is it. The last weekend before the farce that is the McCain campaign ends forever, one way or the other. The last weekend before an election that could very well break the back of the Republicon party. And what are Republicons doing?

Acting like nitwits and getting the kiss o' death.

The biggest news today, o' course, is Darth Cheney coming out for McCain:

George W. Bush has been in hiding lately, but Dick Cheney has been secluded in his undisclosed location even more than usual this campaign season.

It was a pleasant surprise, then, to see the vice president pop up today to announce his support for John McCain. "I believe the right leader for this moment in history is Senator John McCain," Cheney said, adding, "I'm delighted to support John McCain and I'm pleased that he's chosen a running mate with executive talent, toughness and common sense, our next vice president in Sarah Palin."

And given Cheney's track record, he couldn't possibly be wrong, right?

Far be it from me to question the wisdom of the Almighty Cheney. I merely point your attention to the right, where you can see an artist's impression of the effect this endorsement will have on the McCain campaign.

Obama, as you can imagine, is enjoying this news immensely:

Barack Obama, speaking in Pueblo, Colorado, today, had this response:

President Bush is sitting out the last few days before the election. But earlier today, Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location and hit the campaign trail. He said that he is, and I quote, "delighted to support John McCain."

I'd like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement because he really earned it. That endorsement didn't come easy. Senator McCain had to vote 90 percent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney to get it.

But it was really worth it, wasn't it John?

Hello? John?

Oh, that's right. He wasn't available today. He's too busy campaigning in states that voted for Bush last time round:

The remaining schedules for all the candidates are pretty revealing.

Today, John McCain is in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Sarah Palin is hitting Florida, North Carolina And Virginia.

On Monday, the final day of campaigning, McCain will hit Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada, and finally, his home state of Arizona, according to a McCain campaign memo blasted out last night. Palin will visit Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and Alaska.

As you can see, this means that with the sole exception of McCain's visit to Pennsylvania, McCain and Palin are devoting their time to a dozen states that are either battlegrounds carried by Bush or were previously reliable red states. (No word on tomorrow's schedule yet.)

Ask Obama how many Kerry states he's campaigning in before Election Day. That's right - none.

Well, when John gets back from attempting to defend states he shouldn't have had to defend, I'm sure we discover he's overjoyed to have Cheney's endorsement at this critical moment.

So I'm sure you're all dying to know what 11th-hour Hail Mary Smear the Republicons are going to throw in a desperate attempt to stave off almost certain catastrophe. Wonder no more:

Apparently, the political story of the day is about the residency status of Barack Obama's half-aunt, a Kenyan woman named Zeituni Onyango, who has been living in public housing in Boston despite having a U.S. immigration judge deny her asylum request four years ago.

This is fascinating because ... well, actually I have no idea why anyone would find this even remotely interesting.

What is interesting, however, is how this story came to the public's attention.

Information about the deportation case was disclosed and confirmed by two separate sources, one a federal law enforcement official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release. [...]

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Kelly Nantel, said the government does not comment on an individual's citizenship status or immigration case.

No, but the government does illegally leak information about an individual's citizenship status or immigration case when administration officials decide it might influence a presidential election.

We expect no less from the Bush regime. Lawless to the end. And desperate enough to throw illegal half-aunties at the voting public as if that inane detail is enough to destroy Obama's chances for election.

If that's the best they've got, they're in sorry fucking shape. And here's the sweetest thing: their desperation could land them in vats of hot water:

The leaking of information about the immigration status of Barack Obama's aunt appears to directly violate guidelines for confidentiality laid out in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo obtained by TPMmuckraker.

As we reported earlier, ICE has begun an internal probe into the leak to the Associated Press, which revealed early this morning that Obama's aunt "is in the United States illegally after an immigration judge rejected her request for asylum four years ago."

The memo, written in 2005 by Joseph Langlois, director of the Asylum Division in the Office of Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations, reads in part:

The federal regulations at 8 CFR 208.6 generally prohibit the disclosure to third parties of information contained in or pertaining to asylum applications, credible fear determinations, and reasonable fear determinations--including information contained in RAPS or APSS1--except under certain limited circumstances. These regulations safeguard information that, if disclosed publicly, could subject the claimant to retaliatory measures by government authorities or non-state actors in the event that the claimant is repatriated, or endanger the security of the claimant's family members who may still be residing in the country of origin.


According to established guidance, confidentiality is breached when information contained in or pertaining to an asylum application (including information contained in RAPS or APSS) is disclosed to a third party in violation of the regulations, and the unauthorized disclosure is of a nature that allows the third party to link the identity of the applicant to: (1) the fact that the applicant has applied for asylum; (2) specific facts or allegations pertaining to the individual asylum claim contained in an asylum application; or (3) facts or allegations that are sufficient to give rise to a reasonable inference that the applicant has applied for asylum.

It's worth noting again that we don't know for certain the leak came from ICE, since people at other government agenicies could have had access to the information.

Still, from the available evidence, it appears ICE is the most likely source. And Dan Kowalski, a leading immigration law expert, told TPMmuckraker that there's "no question" the leak violated ICE's guidelines as laid out in the memo.

You can also bet your ass that any other department this leak might have come from will have very similar guidelines. Rep. John Conyers would like some heads on a platter, please:

Rep. John Conyers, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has responded to the Bush administration's leak of information on the immigration status of Obama's aunt.

In a hastily written letter, Conyers makes the same connection that we did with the administration's leaking of information on the FBI's nationwide investigation of ACORN. Both leaks went to the Associated Press, and appear to have been done for political purposes.

There's some other news in the letter in regard to that leak about ACORN. Conyers writes:

[I]n recent weeks law enforcement sources leaked information about an alleged investigation of a community services organization, a leak that the Department of Justice informs me is now under investigation by the Department's Office of the Inspector General and Professional Responsibility.

So, two internal DOJ offices are looking into the ACORN leak. That's certainly worth keeping an eye on.

It certainly will. And, seeing as how it's my turn to order, I'd like filet of Mike Connell, with a side of Take That You Fucking Bastards:

Republican computer expert Mike Connell, who has been implicated as being at the center of vote fraud in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, has been ordered by an Ohio judge to appear for a deposition on Monday, the day before the election!

This takes out one of the GOP’s most important players – at the most crucial time imaginable!

The full story is available on The Brad Blog here.

It's looking very much like Karl Rove is going down with this one, too. The Republicons' attempts to disenfranchise voters and steal elections have finally led to some consequences. How sweet the taste!

Bon appétit!


Karen said...

The only person who's in hot water is Zeituni Onyango. Remember how hard it was to convict sacrificial lamb Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame case? (Not that he was nailed very hard, of course, since he was just taking one for the team.) I seriously doubt they'll find any leakers in this case, even if a whole mob of 'em queued up to do the leaking.

Efrique said...

So if this hits the fan big enough, and Rove goes down, what's the best the Repubs will find a way to blame all the crap from 2001-2008 on the Dems - because, after all, if Gore and Kerry won those elections, it must be their fault, right? Right?

It's no crazier than some of the crap we've been fed this election...