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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 19, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Ernest A. Canning on 3/26/2011 1:07pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The fact that the U.S. government could...seek to put away people because of their political dissent was a real major eye-opener to me." - Leonard Weinglass, commenting on the 1968 Chicago Seven trial.

The cause of civil liberties has lost a legal champion.

Throughout a long and distinguished legal career, during which he defended, among others, the Chicago 7, Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers Case, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Angela Davis, Julian Assange, and the Cuban Five, Leonard Weinglass served as a vital buffer between an increasingly oppressive, corporate security state and those who would dare to challenge it.

He will be sorely missed.

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Stoking fear of Muslims against NPR, and comparing feral hogs to 'illegal immigrants' --- Just another day in 2011 Rightwing World...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/22/2011 7:00am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

To what extent has xenophobia greased the wheels of the right-wing smear machine?

For those who follow The BRAD BLOG, the pattern is all too recognizable.

A venal hard-right, operating through a pathological, race-baiting con-artist, like Andrew Breitbart, targets, for one of its deceptive smear campaigns, a group, like ACORN, or an individual, like Van Jones or Shirley Sherrod.

The smear is amplified by the propagandists at Fox "News." It reverberates throughout the right-wing echo chamber (which has usurped the majority of our public airwaves to bolster their agenda). The smear is then repeated by pliant mainstream corporate media, which will, at best, offer up a belated, chiseling, inaccurate "correction" --- too little and too late to undo the damage wrought by a Democratic "opposition" which timidly seeks to distance itself from the smeared as they scurry to hand the hard-right what it seeks (e.g., a bill stripping ACORN or NPR of public funds, or the forced resignation of the targeted individual).

There is no doubt but that some of the corporate media complicity derives from common financial interests. As Bill Moyers observed in Moyers on America, "media giants...exalt commercial values at the expense of democratic value...squeezing out the journalism that tries to get as close as possible to the verifiable truth."

But there is another issue, magnified by two recent events: (1) The matter-of-fact acceptance of the prompt resignation of two NPR officials over a secretly taped and deceptively-edited video hit piece in which two of convicted federal criminal and Republican con-man James O'Keefe's flunkies posed as members of a Muslim organization seeking to help fund NPR, and (2) The deafening corporate media silence over an outrageously racist remark by a right-wing Kansas state representative who compared "illegal immigrants" to "feral pigs"...

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Time for those formerly hoaxed by duplicitous corporate schemes to wake-up and smell what billionaire sociopaths are shoveling...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/27/2011 6:32pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

"This is not a budget issue," the policeman speaking to the cheering protesters jammed inside of the capital rotunda in Madison, WI, shouted this weekend, "This is a civil rights issue!"

"Mr. Walker, if you are listening to me, let me tell you something," he continued through the bullhorn as the crowd rallied, "We know pretty well now who you work for. Let me tell you who we work for. We work for all of these people!"

"We're not here, Mr. Walker, to do your bidding. We're here to do their bidding!" he told the crowd in a remarkable video-taped moment posted by RAW STORY on Sunday.

While a wide swath of Wisconsin society, entailing not only both public and private union members, but students, doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers (like the one mentioned above), and fire fighters have swarmed the streets and public buildings of Madison as part of a mass movement rivaling those we've recently seen on the streets of Cairo, there is one sector of our society who should be especially angry with the Wisconsin branch of Corporate America's wholly-owned, public subsidiary, GOP, Inc.

It is the uninformed and misinformed working class stiffs, aka "Tea Partiers," who should be most disturbed by the scam they've been subjected to over the past two years (and many more). It is they who were taken in by the lies and deceptions of billionaire sociopaths, like oil-baron David Koch of the infamous Koch Industries. Koch's aim is not liberty, freedom, and jobs but American fascism, corporatocracy, and the "eternal subjugation of the common man"...

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Employees must be allowed to retain employer-based insurance to avoid federal preemption; but beware a corporate 'Trojan Horse'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/23/2011 5:32pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

As one of its first acts after taking the majority in the U.S. House, Corporate America's public subsidiary, GOP, Inc., voted against the will of all but 18% of the American people to repeal even modest restraints on the abominable practices of a health insurance cartel whose insatiable greed has created a "health care system" that claims the lives of some 45,000 Americans annually simply because they cannot afford insurance.

Of course, even that alarming number fails to take into account those whose lives are lost when private carriers refuse to authorize vital procedures to those who are lucky enough to have coverage.

In response, and as newly-elected Republican Governors around the nation seek to dismantle benefits such as health care for their constituents, Vermont's newly elected Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin seeks to create the nation's first state-based, single-payer health care system. A troubling question remains, however, as to whether Shumlin has in mind a non-profit, state-run system or a single, profit-seeking, private monopoly...

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U.S. government support for 'democratic transition' in Egypt, elsewhere in Middle East, masks behind-the-scenes betrayal, CIA duplicity, and decades of torture and deception...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/21/2011 8:09am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The United States, so far, is essentially following the usual playbook...[for] when some favored dictator...is in danger of losing control. There’s a kind of a standard routine --- Marcos, Duvalier, Ceausescu...Suharto: keep supporting them as long as possible; then, when it becomes unsustainable --- typically, say, if the army shifts sides --- switch 180 degrees, claim to have been on the side of the people all along, erase the past, and then make whatever moves are possible to restore the old system under new names."-Noam Chomsky, 2/2/11

If we have learned anything from WikiLeaks, it's that we must consider the words emerging from the mouths of our political elites as the equivalent to a magician's sleight-of-hand.

During the transition between the Bush and Obama administrations, an astute observer could gain far greater insight on the direction of the new administration by ignoring the then President-elect's lofty rhetoric and focusing instead upon the fact that he chose the Wall Street-connected Larwrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, as opposed to Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, to serve as his chief financial advisers.

Today, Egypt remains in the midst of a genuine, yet to be completed, democratic revolution. So far, it has produced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and a dissolution of Egypt's parliament. However, it has not, as yet, led to real "regime change". Mubarak's hand-picked cabinet remains. So does Vice President Omar Suleiman, whom a May 14, 2007 U.S. Diplomatic cable referred to as "Mubarak's consigliere," and whom Middle East expert Lisa Hajjar refers to as "Egypt's Torturer-in-Chief".

[Listen to Brad Friedman's interview with Hajjar in the first hour of the 2/10/11 Mike Malloy Show right here.]

Egypt and the world --- and, indeed, the several other Middle Eastern nation's now seeing similar popular uprisings --- would do well to ignore public remarks by the U.S. President and Secretary of State to the effect that they supported the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian demonstrators and an end to the Mubarak presidency. While their public condemnations of violence against the press and the Egyptian people were appropriate, their reported behind-the-scene effort to have Suleiman lead a "so-called" transitional government speaks volumes.

To understand not only the why of Egypt's democratic revolution --- and many other similar popular revolts now under way in that part of the world --- but also the U.S. response to it, one must understand both the history of an ostensibly benevolent but quietly brutal U.S.-led corporate Empire and the role played by the covert dimension of Empire, particularly as described in Part IV of The BRAD BLOG's five-part 2009 special series on "The History of CIA Torture."* Suleiman, it must be remembered, long served as the chief of Egypt's General Intelligence Service, where he served as the key point man for the U.S., in what what we've described as "surrogate torture" as well as extraordinary rendition...

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Sotomayor not first Supreme Court Justice to question 125 year-old decision...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/8/2011 2:22pm PT  

[Ed Note: The author appeared with me last night, as I guest hosted the Mike Malloy Show. We discussed the following article, as well as his other recent piece examining the dangerous scam of U.S. corporate welfare as military "foreign aid" in Egypt. You can now listen to that interview here. - BF]

* * *

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As Vermont becomes the first state to consider a Constitutional amendment that would put an end to "corporate personhood", it is perhaps worthwhile to examine the historical context in which the concept arose and the forceful challenges to its validity that have been mustered by a minority of Supreme Court Justices.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor created a stir when, during oral arguments in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, she not only questioned the validity of the corporate challenge to limits on campaign spending but questioned a legal doctrine which dates back to an 1886 decision, Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. She observed that it was the courts who "created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons," and that "an argument" could be made "that that was the court's error to start with...[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics."

Sotomayor, whose position was not included in Justice John Paul Steven's dissenting opinion in Citizens United --- a dissent she signed onto --- is by no means the first Supreme Court Justice to question the legitimacy of a long-standing doctrine of U.S. corporate law which has served to undermine the very fabric of individual liberty and democratic accountability, permitting wealth, power and control over mass communications to be concentrated in the hands of the privileged few.

Earlier dissents from Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas not only challenged the legitimacy of extending to corporations Constitutional rights intended to protect the living, breathing human beings who make up our nation's citizenry but exposed the hypocrisy of the activist, Federalist Society Justices, who claim to be "strict constructionists," but who are, in fact, as we've reported previously, part of a corporate-funded, counterrevolution in law...

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Revolution threatens Egypt's authoritarian regime, U.S. Empire...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2011 6:00am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The problems the protesters are trying to address are extremely deep-seated…Egypt and other countries of the region have just been through a neoliberal period which have led to…high concentrations of extreme wealth and privilege, tremendous impoverishment and dismay for most of the population." Noam Chomsky, 2/2/11

As more than a million protesters are said to have "flooded into central Cairo" this week, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule, William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation and author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, explained a little understood fact about the "tens of billions of dollars" in US military aid used to prop up the authoritarian Mubarak regime.

It is money that Egypt never received, as he explained during an appearance on Democracy Now (see video at end of article):

WILLIAM HARTUNG: It’s a form of corporate welfare for companies like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, because it goes to Egypt, then it comes back for F-16 aircraft, for M1 tanks, for aircraft engines, for all kinds of missiles, for guns, for tear gas canisters, as was discussed, a company called Combined Systems International, which actually has its name on the side of the canisters that have been found on the streets there. So these companies—for example, Lockheed Martin has been the leader in deals worth $3.8 billion over that period of the last 10 years; General Dynamics, $2.5 billion for tanks; Boeing, $1.7 billion for missiles, for helicopters; Raytheon for all manner of missiles for the armed forces.

Hartung, however, has merely focused upon the military component of a much broader scam --- foreign aid --- which John Perkins, in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and in The Secret History of the American Empire exposes to be corporate welfare designed to enhance the power and control of a corrupt and brutal corporate Empire that benefits only a select few local authoritarian elites and the billionaires at the pinnacle of U.S.-based, giant multinational corporations. All at the expense of the great mass of humanity and a sustainable planet...

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Updated: Egypt revokes Al Jazeera's broadcast license...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/29/2011 11:22am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The Egyptians have risen up. They’re not going home until their demands are realized….until justice and democracy is restored," says the highly respected Dr. Mohamed ElBaradai, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over Al Jazeera English. "The state of Egypt is in a state of collapse."

ElBaradai, who returned to the country earlier this week, "called upon the Egyptian army to take the side of the people," and called upon Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to immediately step down.

What is unfolding on the streets of Egypt may well be confirmation of one of the core observations presented by Howard Zinn, who died one year ago this week...

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Examining the need for a realistic progressive challenge by way of 2012 Democratic primaries...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/24/2011 1:48pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

In a recent article, "The Left Has Nowhere to Go", Chris Hedges joins Ralph Nader in attributing the quadrennial failure of third party candidates to muster a meaningful challenge to the two-party system to a "cowardice" of the left.

Hedges, who described a 2008 vote for either Nader or Cynthia McKinney as "an act of defiance," quotes Nader as stating that "the more outrageous the Republicans become...the more the left has to accept the slightly less outrageous corporate Democrats." Hedges adds:

Nader fears a repeat of the left’s cowardice in the next election, a cowardice that has further empowered the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, maintained the role of the Democratic Party as a lackey for corporations, and accelerated the reconfiguration of the country into a neo-feudalist state. Either we begin to practice a fierce moral autonomy and rise up in multiple acts of physical defiance that have no discernible short-term benefit, or we accept the inevitability of corporate slavery.

While Nader and Hedges have accurately described the existing "lesser evil" paradigm as coming into play during each Presidential election, where only one Republican and one Democrat are perceived as "viable" options, neither Nader nor Hedges acknowledges the extent to which their own tactical inflexibility has reinforced the existing paradigm.

Nader himself would be wise to reflect on that reality in advance of the 2012 primary season...

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The fine line between advocacy and incitement...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2011 9:33am PT  

[Update 4:26pm PT: Related to the story below, one of the victims of the Tucson shooting has just been arrested for issuing a threat against Rightwingers at a taping for an ABC News special. It seems incitements by some are taken more seriously than incitements by others. Story here... -BF]

* * *

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I find it chilling to hear so many U.S. government officials calling for the leader of this organization, Julian Assange, to be labeled an 'enemy combatant' and jailed --- or worse."-Letter from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to Tom Hayden

Recently, a number of prominent politicians and pundits have called for the violent targeting of other individuals who have been neither accused nor charged with any crimes whatsoever, calling into the question the legality of such incitements to violence.

This article will transcend the issue of "moral responsibility" on the part of those politicians and pundits for the horrific consequences that may, and often do, ensue as the result of their deliberate appeals to fear, prejudice and hate so as to examine when such rhetoric actually amounts to an actual crime under the laws of our land.

There can be little doubt that, as observed by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the combination of 24/7 "vitriolic rhetoric" on TV and radio (See video below for poignant examples of such rhetoric), the absence of gun control, with leading U.S. politicians calling for "Second Amendment remedies," and the placement of "crosshairs" over a political opponent's district while calling on citizens to "reload," can produce lethal consequences --- consequences that are not limited to the actions of the deranged.

Such rhetoric is both the product and cause of dehumanization --- a process defined by Professor Phillip Zimbardo in The Lucifer Effect as a means "by which certain other people or collectives of them are depicted as less than human..."

Zimbardo writes:

The process begins with stereotyped conceptions of the other,...conceptions of the other as worthless, the other as all-powerful,…the other as a fundamental threat to our cherished values and beliefs. With public fear notched up and enemy threat imminent, reasonable people act irrationally, independent people act in mindless conformity, and peaceful people act as warriors. Dramatic visual images of the enemy on posters, television, magazine covers, movies, and the internet imprint on the recesses of the limbic system, the primitive brain, with the powerful emotions of fear and hate.

Where we covered the scientific work of Zimbardo and others in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization," and in a follow-up, demonstrating how the process applies both when directed to foreign "threats" and domestic "foes," here the focus is the thin legal line, unique to the U.S. courtesy of the First Amendment, between advocacy and incitement, and whether some U.S. politicians and pundits may have, at least in the case of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange as they have now charged, crossed that line so as to possibly warrant criminal prosecutions...

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Attorneys charge abuse of process, duplicity, public vilification
Shades of infamous McMartin Preschool trial, 'sex crime' fiasco...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/13/2011 8:24pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As the corporate media weighed in on the Jan. 11 decision to postpone a hearing on the Swedish request that the U.K. extradite WikiLeaks' spokesperson Julian Assange until Feb. 7, Assange's U.K. legal team filed a powerful, preliminary legal brief.

The Assange brief, citing extensive legal authority, not only sets forth why extradition will not lie merely for the purpose of questioning someone who has yet to be even been charged with a crime, but affirmatively alleges an abuse of process that includes duplicity:

  • on the part of Swedish prosecutors in releasing Assange's name to the press as a suspect in a rape inquiry in violation of Swedish law;
  • in disingenuously asserting that Assange must be extradited for questioning, when such questioning could be, as repeatedly offered, conducted in the U.K. under established international procedures;
  • in informing the Australian Ambassador that the evidence against Assange could not be released, even while granting a newspaper unauthorized access to the the prosecutor's files;
  • and in refusing to release documents which severely undercut the veracity of the case the Swedish prosecutors presented to the press and in their European Arrest Warrant ("EAW").

This latter allegation calls to mind the infamous McMartin Preschool Trial and the horrific and irreparable harm that can be wrought when irresponsible media fan public hysteria by joining in a public vilification that assumes, as true, volatile allegations of sex crimes.

The brief, citing Sweden's past role in facilitating the Bush regime's extraordinary rendition requests which led to torture, ends with concerns that Sweden's request to extradite Assange is a sham intended to facilitate his unlawful rendition to the U.S. for placement in Guantanamo, or worse...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/10/2011 4:35pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Follow @WikiLeaks on Twitter? If so, the U.S. government wants your details, and is trying to get at it through an extraordinary legal procedure.

Last month, in covering the landmark appellate court decision, United States vs. Warshak [PDF], which invalidated provisions of the 1986 Stored Communications Act to the extent that the Act permitted the government, without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause, to obtain electronic communications from an ISP (Internet Service Provider), we cautioned that it was unclear whether our courts would arrive at the same conclusion when the government invokes claims of "national security" issues.

That question is about to be tested as the Eric Holder Department of Justice has obtained what Salon's Glenn Greenwald described as a "sweeping" District Court order seeking --- in relation to WikiLeaks' Twitter account --- "all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the 'means and source of payment,' including banking records and credit cards." ...

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6th Circuit fails to note conflicting 11th Circuit ruling; Leaves open possible loss of privacy rights via 'national security' allegations, fine print of ISP 'user agreements'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/19/2010 12:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The government may not access your private emails without a warrant, says the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal.

In a landmark Dec. 14, 2010 opinion, United States vs. Warshak [PDF] an appellate court invalidated provisions of the 1986 Stored Communications Act to the extent that the Act permitted the government, without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause, to obtain electronic communications from an ISP (Internet Service Provider), stating [emphasis added]:

Since the advent of email, the telephone call and the letter have waned in importance...People are now able to send sensitive and intimate information, instantaneously…half a world away….By obtaining access to someone’s email, government agents gain the ability to peer deeply into his activities...The Fourth Amendment must keep pace with the inexorable march of technological progress, or its guarantees will whither and perish.

Civil libertarians have cause to celebrate the Sixth Circuit's ruling this week, as well as an earlier Third Circuit decision [PDF], reaffirmed [PDF] this week, finding that a federal magistrate has the right to make a factual determination whether the government is required to get a court warrant to obtain cell-site information that mobile-phone carriers retain on their customers.

However, an assertion made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which had filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief, applauding the Warshak decision as "the only federal appellate decision currently on the books that squarely rules on this critically important privacy issue" is not entirely accurate. Moreover, concerns remain as to the scope of the Fourth Amendment protection that will be afforded by the Warshak decision...

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'War on Terror' or War to Inflict State Terror?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/14/2010 7:13pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

In "Plumbing the Depths of Lawless Executive Depravity", I argued that targeted assassinations threaten the very foundation of our republic. This occurs not only due to the potential for collateral damage but due to the distinct possibility that many whom we target as "suspected" terrorists may be entirely innocent.

A more recent article of mine here, "WikiLeaks' Pakistan, Yemen Cables Expose Unchecked Executive Power, 'Hatred for Democracy'" addressed a specific form of targeted assassinations --- the predator drone strike. In it, I noted that the secret expansion of such strikes into Pakistan and Yemen, as confirmed by diplomatic cables recently published by WikiLeaks and their media partners, reflected a dangerous usurpation of power by the Executive branch.

These two articles, and former CIA field operative Robert Baer, in a must-see RethinkAfganistan.com video (embedded at end of this article), assume the targets of the drone strike are suspected insurgents and terrorists. Both of them deal with the counterproductive effect of unintended civilian deaths ("collateral damage") which serves to destabilize "friendly" governments, provide a recruiting tool for those bent on revenge, and increase the likelihood of "blowback," a CIA term that describes "the unintended consequences of policies that were kept secret from the American people."

Have Baer and I erred in assuming these strikes are not aimed at civilians?...

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Congress cowers as White House expands secret wars, abandons all pretense of compliance with War Powers Resolution...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/3/2010 2:46pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"One of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from its own population...[The WikiLeaks cables reveal a] profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership." -Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now, 11/30/2010

There is no issue of greater import to the aspirations of a democratic people than matters of war and peace. There can be no greater display of contempt for democracy on the part of an American President than that reflected by a covert decision to engage in a secret war without the knowledge or consent of Congress or the American people.

As late as 2002, George W. Bush felt compelled to seek some semblance of compliance with the War Powers Resolution of 1973, albeit via deceit in which false claims of Iraqi WMD and links to al Qaeda were presented in order to secure Congressional approval of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution.

According to Jeremy Scahill (video below), "in '03/'04 the Bush administration issued an Executive order that authorized U.S. forces to go anywhere in the world where al Qaeda was to fight them; essentially declared the whole world a battlefield..."

The WikiLeaks Pakistan/Yemen cables confirm that President Barack Obama, possibly relying upon the Bush/Cheney cabal's extremist position that the Sept. 14, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists ("AUMF") is tantamount to a blanket license to initiate wars anywhere and everywhere there is a "suspected" presence of al Qaeda, has both perpetuated and expanded these dangerous claims of lawless Executive power...

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