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by Carol White, ePluribus Media Book Review Editor

Crossposted at ePluribus Media Journal

Those familiar with Aaron Barlow's postings on here and on ePluribus Media will not be surprised to find his new book both iconoclastic and of compelling interest.

Barlow is a sharp critic of the current trends in the media,  such as the presentation of news as entertainment. At the same time, he is passionate about the importance of journalism in creating an informed public debate about the policy issues that face us. As one of the early members of the ePluribus Media collective, Barlow believes web journals and blogs have an important, if not essential, role to play in shaping public opinion and giving citizens the means to take on an active role in political debate.  This -- the role of the blogs and the future of print journalism -- is one of the hottest topics in the field today.

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Adam Lambert (clammyc) & ePluribus Media Staff Writers

ePluribus Media has interviewed sources who once worked in the Department of Justice and they suggest that Robert Popper, Special Litigation Counsel for the Voting Section, has been instrumental in the disintegration of voter rights in minority districts.

Popper joined the Voting Section of the Justice Department at the beginning of 2006 during the wave of new hires that replaced attorneys who were allegedly forced out because they were not "loyal partisans" and replaced by members of organizations such as the Republican National Lawyers Association and Federalist Society. As Special Litigation Counsel, Popper’s charter is to be one of the chief "enforcers" of the Voting Rights Act. Ironically, Popper has been involved in at least a half-dozen cases which purportedly tried to accomplish exactly the opposite of guaranteeing the rights of those he has been charged with protecting.

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Dismantling Voting Rights Enforcement

As ePluribus Media recently reported, since the replacement of long-time Voting Rights Section Chief Joseph D. Rich by John K. Tanner (promoted by former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights R. Alexander Acosta) there has been an exodus of unprecedented proportions of experienced voting rights personnel from DoJ's Civil Rights Division. TPM Muckraker's Paul Kiel has referred to this exodus as a purge, and it has stretched from the top to the bottom of the Voting Section's ranks. Acosta has been implicated in the plummeting number of voting rights cases filed to protect the rights of African-Americans.  Since then, he has received three interim appointments from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida prior to being confirmed by the Senate. Tanner, however, remains Voting Section chief.

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Cho, Roxy, StandingUp, wanderindiana, and Aaron Barlow
xposted at ePluribus Media

When John K. Tanner replaced Joe Rich as section chief of the Justice Department's Voting Rights Section in 2005, a breathtaking politicization -- already under way after Alex Acosta was put in charge of the Civil Rights Division -- accelerated sharply. The exodus of talent, expertise, and knowledge of civil rights law in the two years under Tanner's stewardship is numbing.

Roughly 50% of the staff --  attorneys, including many of the top litigators, researchers and analysts -- have left, and Tanner has waged an aggressive effort to remake the section in his own image -- not an image that most people who promote the core mission of the Voting Rights Act, which the Section is primarily responsible for enforcing, would support.

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A three-part series by Susie Dow for ePluribus Media -- Iraq, Contingency Contracting and the Defense Base Act:

Mercs. Soldiers of Fortune. Hired Guns. Private Contractors. All terms generally connote the expanding use of "private security firms" in places like Iraq, and usually bring to mind the bold, brash, sometimes cruel image of ruthless soldiers who take up arms for the highest bidder. But not all Iraq contractors are soldiers, and not all soldiers engaged with private security firms are ruthless.

Often forgotten are those civilian contractors who take jobs risking life and limb in order support the tactical, operational and relief operations necessary during and after a military campaign.

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by Carol White
ePluribus Media Book Review editor

Crossposted from the ePluribus Media Journal.

A review of Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (And Win Elections) (Paperback) by Jeffrey Feldman, with introduction by George Lakoff. (Brooklyn, NY, IG Publishing 2007).

After John Kerry's 2004 defeat, George Lakoff's book Don't Think of an Elephant, became a runaway best seller among progressives. In his introduction to Framing the Debate, Lakoff not only reprises his own argument, but highly recommends Feldman's contribution to the ongoing discussion about how to build an effective progressive movement in the United States. He writes:

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An Opinion Editorial by The Fat Lady Sings in collaboration with cho, Roxy and Avahome.

Crossposted at ePluribus Media Journal

Were US Attorneys purged also in part because they resisted Bush Administration pressure to federalize law enforcement?

The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN)report1 prepared by top officials at the Department of Justice appears to be the "performance review" upon which the firing of at least one of the U.S. Attorneys -- Carol Lam -- was supposedly based. For some reason, all of the other districts in the review have been redacted. Oddly, circumstances suggest that at least one U.S. Attorney, David Iglesias, may have received a glowing PSN review in the report.

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It probably won’t be much different.

Adam Lambert (ClammyC, of course) provides glimpses at the candidate pool over on ePluribus Media in "Meet the New Boss? Same As the Old Boss ..."

Frank Rich, in today's The New York Times, calls Gonzales "a nonentity like Zelig."  OK... Zelig may soon fade back into nothingness, only to be replaced by a Forest Gump.  Question is, which Gump?

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Todd Johnston's AT&T (Cingular) blocking calls over business dispute, bypassing FCC digs into the facts behind several of the larger telephone companies (telecom) new strategy of blocking calls to small entrepeneurs in the internet phone conferencing business.

AT&T (Cingular) blocking calls over business dispute, bypassing FCC Cingular Wireless is selectively blocking calls placed to numbers in Iowa run by local phone companies currently involved in multiple suits with its parent company AT&T Inc. The dispute is over "termination fees" -- rates long distance carriers pay the local phone company at a call's destination -- relating to third-party conference and international call services who are increasing traffic to states where these fees are relatively high.

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Update [2007-3-21 0:15:4 by ePluribus Media]: Completed converting all the documents dumped last night to searchable files, available here.

Over on the ePluribus Media Community, the team has taken the over 2000 pages of PDFs that the Department of Justice (DOJ) dumped late Monday 3-19-07 night and made them searchable.

ePluribus Media decided to make these converted PDFs documents publicly available so that anyone can easily do text searchs to find relevant information.

Please feel free to make use of these for your researching and let us know if this service is helpful to you. (And, of course, we'd be honored if you'd consider a donation to help us continue the work.)

The first batch of links are below the fold:

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The Shields and Cragan work in their longitudinal study(not be completed until 2008) is really about Public Relations and smearing.  For a quick review of how the technique works,  consider the legend of LBJ,who supposedly decided to spread a rumor that his opponent was a pig-f****r. LBJ's campaign manager said, "Lyndon, you know he doesn't do that!" Johnson replied, "I know. I just want to make him deny it."

With that in mind:

In email, KagroX has suggested that it would be "it would be very, very interesting to research the list of Democrats and Google for articles on those investigations to see if the people under investigation ever commented to the press that they're the targets of a partisan witch hunt, or some such similar thing."  

We'd like to do just that.

The point is not that they were investigated, but that they felt that they were being targeted because they were Democrats.

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by Rayne Today for ePluribus Media

Recently, an eighth name was added to the list of the Gonzales Seven, the U.S. Attorneys forced to resign since the reauthorization of the Patriot Act in March of 2006.  It now appears Margaret Chiara can also be added to the list of attorneys receiving their phone calls on December 7th, 2006 -- Pearl Harbor Day. In his opening remarks to the House committee hearings, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella stated that there are 18 who have resigned since March 2006.

Today is U.S. Attorney Chiara's last day so keep your ears and eyes open.  

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