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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, September 1, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
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 8/19/2010 8:31am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."- Heinrich Heine (1823)

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

Heine's ominous warning came more than a century before the infamous May 10, 1933 Nazi book burning where Joseph Goebbels told the Berlin student book burners, "The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end."

It was the beginning of the end for millions who would be gassed and then shoved into the death camp ovens over the next twelve years.

Today, we find a group of whack right-wing Christians operating under the Orwellian-labeled Dove Outreach Center. The group, which openly proclaims "Islam is the Devil," announced that they planned "to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 by burning Korans."

Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gainesville officials denied the group "a bonfire permit."

I'm reminded of Pete Seeger's Where have all the flowers gone?: "When will they ever learn?"

* * *

Update: Despite the denial of the permit, the Dove Outreach Center has vowed to proceed with its plan to burn Korans. I suppose one could call it an act of uncivil disobedience.

Update 08/20/10: There have been a number of comments, here, and elsewhere, raising First Amendment concerns about the City of Gainesville's decision to deny a bonfire permit. Deputy Chief Tim Hayes of the Gainesville Fire Dept., however, said that his department's denial was not related to the content of the books but on a city ordinance which prohibits the burning of "newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board or office paper, which are akin to books."

No doubt, attendees from the Sarah Palin/Dr. Laura School of Law would regard it as an infringement of the Dove Outreach Center's First Amendment rights, should a group of concerned citizens peacefully surround these book burners, whom Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe describes as a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community," holding up signs which quote Heine's "Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."

Update 09/07/10: General David Petraeus has expressed his concern that the proposed Quran-burning "could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan."

What Petraeus fails to mention is that the swiftest way in which he and his boss, President Barack Obama, could insure the safety of American troops and ratchet down tensions between the people of the Middle East and those residing in the U.S. would be to immediately end our imperial occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan by way of a orderly but complete and total withdrawal of all U.S. military forces as well as all private mercenaries.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/18/2010 4:59pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Dr. Laura's radio career ended in disgrace tonight because of the bigoted, ugly and hateful remarks made on her show. Americans have had enough. Listeners are now holding hosts, affiliates, and sponsors accountable for the offensive and inexcusable content on the airwaves." Media Matters 08/17/2010.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Ph.D. in physiology), whose brief television career ended after she referred to homosexuality as a "biological error" and compared LGBT parenting to pedophilia, announced that she was ending her worldwide syndicated radio broadcast in December.

Previously, Media Matters covered "Doctor" Laura's Aug. 10 broadcast in which she castigated an African American woman (“Jade”) who had called in to complain about her white husband’s silence in the face of racist remarks made by his white friends and family. During the contentious colloquy, "Doctor" Laura dropped the N-bomb 11 times. (Audio and transcript below).

While the same content was appropriately addressed by Media Matters, some additional observations are in order…

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2010 5:05pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On Sunday, Brad Friedman posted a "Toon of the moment" in which a hypnotist sits dangling a watch in front of two stupified voters as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) look on. The hypnotist tells the voters:

You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back...

Replace the hypnotist and watch with "illegal immigrants" or a "Ground Zero Mosque" (what the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten refers to as a "rising tide of Nativism") and the cartoon would be equally spot on, though this form of hypnosis is utilized by the billionaire-funded hard-right not only to "forget" the disaster that was the Bush/Cheney cabal but to avoid a debate on the Republicans' cold and heartless, class-based decisions to oppose an extension of unemployment benefits, to block funds for state governments intended to prevent a layoff of thousands of teachers, to block vital environmental legislation, to engage in never-ending privatization schemes, which by design are intended to destroy government's ability to provide vital public services (police, fire, health care, education), and to repeatedly level false charges of insolvency as part of their scheme to permit the thieves of Wall Street to raid the Social Security trust fund.

Those who are rational and see the mosque as an issue of First Amendment religious freedoms (and common sense) fail to appreciate the visceral appeal of Republican race-baiting, which, in the case of the mosque, seeks to tap into a deep-seated, cultural anxiety that has been created not only by 9/11 but --- as I explained in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization" here at The BRAD BLOG, and in its follow-up --- by the vilification of Arabs and Muslims in books, films and on television over a span of decades. It was this same deep-seated and subconscious loathing which permitted the Bush/Cheney cabal to conflate Saddam Hussein --- just another swarthy, mid-Eastern bad guy --- with al Qaeda for the purpose of invading Iraq.

The politics of Republican fear-mongering and race-baiting exploits cultural dehumanization so as to conflate all Muslims with 9/11. The result is a perversion of that seminal event --- which, even under the Bush/Cheney Administration's own "official theory," entailed only al Qaeda --- into an unprovoked assault by the Muslim world on "Christian America."

"You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back..."

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9th Circuit panel stays District Court ruling, pending appeal, determination of standing...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/16/2010 4:56pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Proponents of equality for all will have to wait a bit longer --- again --- before seeing marriage equality return to the Golden State.

A three judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued an order [PDF] granting a motion to stay the Aug. 4, 2010 decision by a U.S. District Judge which had found California's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling would have allowed marriage equality to resume as of Wednesday, but that is now on hold pending appeal by proponents of the constitutional amendment put into law by Proposition 8 in November of 2008.

The 9th Circuit panel, on its own motion, expedited both briefing and a hearing on the appeal, which will be scheduled for the week of December 6. The stay essentially means that California officials could not sanction new same-sex marriages until either a decision is rendered on the appeal or the panel lifts the stay.

* * *

Addendum In my haste to report on this breaking story, I neglected to include the following statement from the 9th Circuit decision...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2010 8:45pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Sorry, Mr. Gibbs, but your description of a "professional left" whose critiques of your boss, President Barack Obama, should be disregarded as the "crazy" musings of "people who ought to be drug tested" reflects that you are both authoritarian and out-of-touch.

The vast majority of citizens who supported the President in 2008 favor positions on policies that are far more progressive than anything which has emerged from either the corporate-controlled Democratic "leadership" in Congress or the Obama White House. The majority of Americans are by no means obligated to ignore the "democracy deficit" or the betrayal of the President's promise to bring "change we can believe in."

While one can readily agree that many of the Obama administration's policies are an improvement over those which are advanced by the reactionary fascist billionaires, and their mindless "Tea Party" followers, there are many instances in which the policies of the current administration threaten more harm than those of its predecessor. E.g,, those documented by a recent ACLU report (see Democracy Now video below) in which the current administration has created policies that may "enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration."

Perhaps most disturbing is that the President's zeal to please his true constituency --- corporate America, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex --- comes from the same Presidential candidate whose soaring and lofty, yet deceptive campaign rhetoric gave rise to hope in so many that Election Day 2008 would mark a return to economic fairness, transparency, a restoration of the rule of law, an end to the fear-driven perpetual "war on terror," and a restoration of nature's ecological balance.

The title of Studs Turkel's powerful book is Hope Dies Last.

Even during the darkest days of the Bush/Cheney cabal, there was the hope that the foundering American ship of state could be righted by way of the electoral process. By raising the hopes of the American people during the course of the 2008 campaign, only to dash those hopes by betraying his own rhetoric, President Obama has, in some measure, caused more harm than the Bush/Cheney regime...

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'Targeted Assassinations' Threaten Very Foundation of Our Republic...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/6/2010 8:06am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"There's no difference between one's killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It's exactly the same thing, or even worse." - Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir

In a March 25, 2009 article, "Prosecute or Perish," in which I urged that "the survival of our Constitutional Democracy may hinge on factually justified criminal prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal," and again in "Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy," I took dead aim at the sophistry employed by President Barack Obama to evade his constitutionally mandated obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed. The same Harvard Law School-educated President who said that, in torture, America had lost its "moral bearings," suggested we must only look forward --- an "illogical formulation [that] was incompatible with the very essence of the rule of law."

I was naive. I thought the President was merely evading his constitutional obligation out of political expediency; that he actually intended to restore the rule of law and salvage what was left of our nation's honor.

A growing body of evidence, including confirmation contained in the recently exposed Afghan "Pentagon Papers," suggests the President did not look back at his predecessor's war crimes because he saw, in the failure to prosecute, the ground work for his own round of "Unitary Executive" lawlessness --- an expanded, illegal and increasingly covert "war on terror" in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of paramilitary assassins, operating in secret and beyond the rule of law, carry out targeted killings of "suspected" terrorists on a global scale --- a program that has already produced massive collateral casualties amongst innocent civilians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Worse, as revealed by a newly filed lawsuit, the Obama administration has moved beyond the Bush/Cheney cabal's assertion of unchecked Executive lawlessness in the form of extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and torture. The Obama administration has now not only asserted a right to assassinate anyone that the Executive branch labels a terrorist, including U.S. citizens, but has gone so far as to place lawyers in legal jeopardy should they seek a court order to block an extrajudicial execution unless the executive branch grants the lawyer permission to do so...

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Our military and political leaders are still deceiving us after all these years...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/26/2010 6:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Somehow this madness must cease."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967.

In Beyond Afghanistan, I utilized Dr King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech to deconstruct the empty words used by our Harvard-educated President during a December 1, 2009, address in which he sought to justify an escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

I noted then that President Barack Obama deliberately conflated the Taliban with al Qaeda just as "President" George W. Bush conflated Saddam with al Qaeda to exploit the fear and anger engendered by 9/11. Robert Scheer revealed, in War of Absurdity that there were, at that time, less than 100 members of al Qaeda still inside Afghanistan, who, per General James Jones, did not retain the "ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies." I added:

To defeat the ignoble 100, the U.S. is rapidly building toward an in-country presence of 100,000 American troops at a cost of $100 billion per year. NATO will also add 7,000 more troops, bringing a combined total to 140,000 foreign occupiers to that impoverished nation. To this, add some 104,000 "private contractors" aka armed mercenaries, who are paid more than three times the amount received by American troops.

Earlier, I posted a five part series on the more than 50-year history of CIA torture. In Part III, citing Victor Marchetti's heavily redacted The CIA & The Cult of Intelligence, I reported on how the CIA's William Colby constructed interrogation centers whose [emphasis added] “operations…consisted of torture tactics against suspected Vietcong…usually carried out by Vietnamese nationals”; that this morphed into the infamous Phoenix torture, then kill and dump program, in which an estimated 46,000 Vietnamese lost their lives; that General Petreus suggested that the Phoenix Program be reinstated on a “global scale.”

A powerful, must-see Democracy Now segment, The New Pentagon Papers: WikiLeaks Releases 90,000+ Secret Military Documents Painting Devastating Picture of Afghanistan War (video below) potently establishes that nothing has really changed.

Our current crop of military and political leaders inside the Bush and Obama administrations have erected an elaborate deception as they carry out wars of imperial conquest and war crimes, including targeted killings of suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, just as our past military and political leaders in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations erected an elaborate deception to justify the quagmire in Southeast Asia a generation ago...

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The madness in AZ provides ample warning, but is anyone paying attention?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/22/2010 3:05pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The radical-right agenda, hidden from so many of the uninformed, working class useful idiots (aka post-2008 "Tea Party" followers) was aptly described by Chalmers Johnson on the cover of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine as "a conspiracy to privatize war and disaster and grab public property for the rich few...[as part of] our headlong flight back to feudalism..."

In Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit', we cited a Pew Research Center study on how the campaign by America's political elites to ravage the middle class has, for "wide layers of the population," destroyed "faith in the US government to secure their most basic social needs." As we observed at the time:

What has become painfully obvious is that many within these "wide layers of the population" simply do not realize that the source of the middle class demise lies not in government per se but in the carefully thought out, decades-long effort of the hard-right to "starve the beast" by massive tax cuts for those who already have too much in order to, in the words of Grover Norquist, reduce government to the point it could be "drown in a bathtub" and in order to privatize the commons so that the privileged few can be enriched beyond the wildest imagination of ordinary citizens.

An American Political Science Association study, cited by Bill Moyers in Moyers on America (2004) referred to a "radical political elite who have...inequality as its mission and has organized 'a fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory cannons, and the intellectual and cultural framework that have shaped public responsibility from social harms arising from the excesses of private powers.'"

Into this mix comes "Tea Party in Sonora": Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Says Arizona is Laboratory for Radical GOP Policies, a powerful, must-see segment of Democracy Now (video below) which exposes the bleak future, indeed the madness, in store for all of us if we permit the radical right to assert the same control at the national level that they have already secured in Arizona.

An eerily prescient 1944 New York Times op-ed written by Franklin D. Roosevelt's then-Vice President may have best described the ultimate goal of the hard-right agenda of those who now drive the so-called "Tea Party" in 2010...

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Prior injunction, pending appeal may be moot; Status of court's apparent conflicts-of-interest remain an open question...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/13/2010 2:50pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As noted in today's Green News Report, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has ordered a new moratorium on exploratory deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere off the continental shelf of the U.S.. The new suspension may make prior court battles over the previous moratorium moot, even as questions linger concerning apparent conflicts-of-interest by the judge who originally heard the case.

Stating that he was basing his decision on "an extensive record of existing and new information indicating that allowing new deepwater drilling to commence would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal, and human environment," Salazar sent a memo yesterday to Michael R. Bromwich, the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), directing him to issue new suspensions of deepwater drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The new suspensions, presuming they withstand another inevitable court challenge from the oil industry, will run through November 30 and apply to both the Pacific and Gulf Coast regions.

In revealing the new suspensions, Salazar announced...

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Government 'irreparable harm' argument fails to gain traction before majority Republican-appointed appellate court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/9/2010 3:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A three judge panel of the heavily-Republican 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans rejected the Department of Interior's request for an emergency stay of Judge Martin Feldman's June 22, 2010 preliminary injunction [PDF], which prevents enforcement of the Department of Interior's six month moratorium on exploratory drilling on only 33 "of the approximately 3,600 structures in the Gulf dedicated to offshore oil exploration and production."

The panel's two Reagan appointees, Judge Jerry E. Smith, joined by Judge W.Eugene Davis, ruled that the government had failed to demonstrate that it would be irreparably harmed if a decision on whether to vacate Judge Feldman's injunction was deferred until after the appeal was heard sometime around the end of August or early September. Judge James L. Dennis, a Clinton appointee, dissented, noting that he did not believe Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar had abused his discretion in ordering a moratorium, which, per the government's motion is limited to those drilling operations that apply "the same technologies employed by Transocean's Deepwater Horizon...only to waters over 500 feet deep..." Since, under the Administrative Procedures Act, a court cannot overturn an agency decision absent an abuse of discretion, Judge Dennis appears to have concluded that Judge Feldman erred in issuing the preliminary injunction.

Judge Dennis did have a question, however, about the six month length of the moratorium.

While yesterday's ruling does not mean that the panel will ultimately rule against the moratorium, the Justice Department and the attorneys representing a number of environmental organizations in the appeal face a daunting climb given Judge Smith's expression of the usual appellate court deference to the findings of the district court judge --- a climb up an oil slicked slope given the ties between the oil industry and the judges who will decide the moratorium's fate...

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Avoiding conflicts-of-interest charges, feds argue irreparable harm in Judge Martin Feldman's injunction
Hearing before three-judge panel set for July 8...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/7/2010 1:53pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

[Ed Note: Ernie Canning appeared as my guest on last night's Mike Malloy Show to discuss Feldman's conflicts-of-interest and the government's appeal described below. The audio archive of that interview can be heard here. - BF]

In a powerful and carefully-crafted 5th Circuit Court of Appeal motion [PDF] filed in Hornbeck Offshore Services vs. Salazar --- a motion which did not touch upon the question of whether U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman's substantial investments in the oil industry mandated a recusal --- the government argued that, in enjoining the Department of Interior's six month suspension of offshore drilling on just 33 "of the approximately 3,600 structures in the Gulf dedicated to offshore oil exploration and production," following the BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon disaster, Judge Feldman abused his discretion by substituting his own personal judgment over matters that, by statute and federal regulations, are the province of federal officials.

The Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement ("BOEMRE") have the legally mandated duty and authority to regulate such matters, the government is arguing.

"While Plaintiffs’ concerns appear limited to the next financial quarter," the motion explains, "[the Department of] Interior must ensure not only that OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] drilling operations are safe and secure but also that the Nation’s fisheries, coastal ecosystems, and other public lands continue to provide jobs, recreation opportunities, habitat for wildlife, healthy ecosystems, and economic resources for all of the public."

The appellate motion by federal officials calling for a stay of Judge Feldman's recent preliminary injunction on the exploratory drilling moratorium will be argued before a three-judge panel on Thursday...

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In condemning G-20 Summit, Canada's Maude Barlow draws powerful links between growing economic, ecological disasters...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/2/2010 1:17pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Fact, the world has divided into rich and poor as at no time in our history," warns Maude Barlowe, head of the Council of Canadians and a founder of the Blue Planet Project.

"Fact, global climate change is rapidly advancing, claiming at least 300,000 lives and $125 billion in damages every year," she says. "Called the silent crisis, climate change is melting glaciers, eroding soil, causing freak and increasingly wild storms, displacing untold millions from rural communities to live in desperate poverty in peri-urban centers. Almost every victim lives in the Global South in communities not responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and not represented here at the summit."

Speaking out as a counterpoint to last week's billion dollar, G-20 Summit, whose leaders she referred to as a "global royalty, who have more in common with one another than they do with their own citizens," and as leaders who came to Toronto with an agenda which offers "more of the bad medicine that made the world sick in the first place—environmental deregulation, unbridled financial speculation, unlimited growth, unregulated free trade, relentless resource exploitation, tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts to Social Security and a war on working people," Barlowe delivered a must-see, fact-filled condemnation of a bleak economic and ecological future that is at the heart of what she described as "savage capitalism."

* * *

The video and text transcript of excerpts from Barlowe's powerful "Savage Capitalism" speech, courtesy of the July 2nd, 2010 Democracy Now!, follow below...

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New evidence reveals willful failure to recuse from oil drilling moratorium case despite full knowledge of conflicts-of-interest...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/26/2010 4:06pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Thursday The BRAD BLOG posted an article in which I offered the legal underpinnings supporting the case for the impeachment of U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman in light of his failure to recuse himself due to conflicts-of-interest in Hornbeck Offshore Services vs. Salazar [PDF].

The case for unseating the federal judge has grown still stronger at week's end, with new disclosures of his investments in the off shore oil drilling industry and what appears to be a very conscious decision to remain on the case despite them.

New evidence now suggests that the actions of Judge Feldman, at the very outset of the moratorium case, are particularly damning. Those new revelations support not only a case for impeachment against the Reagan-appointee who, as has also come to light, is reportedly a very close friend of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but they also reveal a lifetime appointee to the federal bench who is simply unfit to remain in office...

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Controversial decision to block deep water drilling moratorium marred by conflict-of-interest...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/24/2010 2:22pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, a 1983 Reagan appointee to the federal bench, issued what, on its face, would have to be regarded as an astounding decision [PDF] in which he blocked a six month moratorium on deep water off shore drilling, ruling that the Department of the Interior had erroneously assumed that because one rig failed, there was an imminent danger of others failing as well.

A perplexed Justice Department promptly announced that it intends to seek an immediate stay of Judge Feldman's preliminary injunction pending an appeal.

Setting aside what appears to be an inappropriate judicial intrusion by a Federalist Society-connected jurist into the prerogatives of the Executive branch in protecting public health, safety and the environment, setting aside the misguided notion that the burden rests with the government rather than the oil companies when it comes to demonstrating whether deep water drilling procedures are safe, Judge Feldman's decision --- and his failure to recuse himself despite conflict-of-interest concerns --- raises a significant question as to whether he should be impeached...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/7/2010 1:34pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

"The problem with making excuses for and giving explanations for a child's misbehavior(s) is that it doesn't 'help' the child. It doesn't HELP anybody. In fact, it does nothing but cloud one's judgment preventing any form of objective observation from being made thereby eliminating any real assistance being implemented."
- Randa Williamson-McCoy, "Making Excuses for Your Child's Actions and Behavior," 05/19/2010

Beginning with Israel's unprovoked attack on the U.S.S. Liberty during the 1967 Six Day War, continuing throughout the next 43 year illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, right up to the June 2, 2010 Obama administration decision to block a U.N. Human Rights Council proposal to establish an independent international inquiry into Israel's heavily armed assault and capture of the six vessel, unarmed civilian humanitarian aid convoy in international waters, the relationship between the U.S. and Israel has resembled that of a parent whose love, devotion and inability to say "no" to their incorrigible teenager in the face of increasing levels of anti-social behavior only serves to harm parent, child and society...

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