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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 22, 2014
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
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
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'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 5/3/2010 6:21pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

In a May 3 New York Times editorial, "Drilling, Disaster, Denial," Paul Krugman points to a Gallup poll which found: "Americans are now less worried about a series of environmental problems than at any time in the past 20 years" --- a finding mirrored by surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center which revealed that the percentage of Americans who believe "there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades," had dropped from 71% in April 2008 to 57% in September/October 2009.

After pointing to the catastrophic events --- the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and the fire atop a polluted Cuyahoga River --- which gave rise to the first Earth Day in 1970, the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, Krugman suggested that the success alleviating "visible pollution" that was involved in these "photogenic crises" led to reduction in public concern for the less visible impact "of pollution that's invisible, and whose effects unfold over decades rather than days" --- an invisibility which opened the way for hard-right, denialist, anti-environmental propagandists like Rush Limbaugh to succeed.

While there is empirical data supporting Krugman's suggestion of an adverse impact of anti-environmental propaganda, often funded by the likes of Exxon-Mobil and others in or connected to the fossil fuel industry, Krugman's analysis falls short because he fails to examine the role of the mainstream corporate media, especially television, in fostering the invisibility he decries...

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Failure of mainstream corporate media may help to further pillage CA in this year's Gubernatorial election...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/27/2010 6:54am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

“We now have the entitlement generation as CEOs. They just plain feel entitled to being wealthy as Croesus with no responsibility, no accountability. They have become literal sociopaths.” - William K. Black on Bill Moyers’ Journal

"When you're rich, they think you really know!" - "If I Were a Rich Man," from Fiddler on the Roof

Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/16/2010 2:07pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 --- a date which will live in infamy."
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Amidst exploding bombs, smoke billowing from sinking battleships and dead bodies floating atop the oil slicked waters of Pearl Harbor, it was not all that difficult to appreciate the damage wrought by a surprise attack launched by the Empire of Japan. The same was true when we watched in horror as the smoldering twin towers of the World Trade Center precipitously collapsed on September 11, 2001.

Like these two earlier pivotal events, January 21, 2010 is, "a date which will live in infamy." Yet, unlike Pearl Harbor and 9/11, most Americans do not recognize it as such. This attack came not by way of planes or bombs delivered by some foreign menace. It came from within courtesy of what Professor Cass Sunstein aptly described as "radicals in robes" --- four directly connected to the Robert-Bork founded, billionaire-funded Federalist Society; all five as appointees of the Reagan and two Bush administrations. Men bent on unraveling the very constitution they had all solemnly sworn to uphold.

Their assault, though subtle, wrought far greater devastation than either Pearl Harbor or 9/11. They did not merely attack planes, ships and buildings. They assaulted the very foundations of our constitutional democracy...

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U.S. Intelligence treats whistleblowing website as security threat, seeks ways to marginalize them...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/6/2010 2:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Appearing on Democracy Now (video posted below) today, constitutional law attorney and Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald observed:

WikiLeaks has done an extraordinary valuable service because it has exposed what it is that war actually is; what we are actually doing in Afghanistan and Iraq on a day-to-day basis. My concern with the discussions that have been triggered, though, is that there seems to be the suggestion in many circles ... that this is some sort of extreme event, or this is some sort of aberration ... In fact it’s anything but rare. The only thing that’s rare about this ... is that we happen to be seeing it take place on video.

This is something that takes place on a virtually daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places where we invade, bomb and occupy, and the reason why there are hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq and thousands of dead in Afghanistan is because this is what happens, constantly when we are engaged in warfare ... This is what war is. This is what the United States does in these countries and that is the crucial point to note along with the point that the military fought tooth and nail to prevent this video from surfacing precisely because it would shed light on what their actual behavior is during war.

During the same remarkable Democracy Now broadcast, Julian Assange, a WikiLeaks co-founder, revealed that even before it exposed this horrific video yesterday, Wikileaks had been targeted in a counterintelligence report [PDF], which describes WikiLeaks as an "information security threat to the U.S. Army." The report discusses outing the identify of the whistleblowers in hopes of destroying them and to deter others from leaking to the website:

The report states:

Web sites such as Wikileaks.org use trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers. The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.

But, as revealed by The BRAD BLOG's extensive coverage of the Sibel Edmonds story --- and as discussed by "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg in his 2008 BRAD BLOG guest editorial --- the real threat to U.S. national security more often lies not with those who expose government lies, but with those who hope to keep them.

Greenwald wrote more about the leaked video yesterday, and later sent out this noteworthy tweet commenting on both that news and word yesterday of a massacre by NATO forces in Afghanistan which U.S. Special Forces attempted to cover up as well:

The key thing to remember when watching the WikiLeaks/Iraq video and reading about the Afghan massacre: THEY HATE US FOR OUR FREEDOMS!!!

UPDATE 04/07/10: Democracy Now reported today that the "Obama administration is refusing to call for a new probe into the US military’s killing of twelve Iraqis despite the public release of video footage capturing the attack on tape."

UPDATE 04/08/10 Rick Rowley, an independent journalist with Big Noise films, who interviewed witnesses one day after this massacre, told Amy Goodman that there was "no reason at all to believe...any of the people in that picture [were] armed insurgents:"

you can see two men with Kalashnikovs, but this is 2007 in Baghdad. This is the height of the civil war, when dozens of bodies a day were being picked up from the street, when sectarian militias filled the Iraqi security forces, the police and the army. Every neighborhood in Baghdad organized its own protection force. And it was legal at the time for every household to own a Kalashnikov in Iraq, and every household I ever went to did.

* * *

The April 6, 2010 segment of Democracy Now's coverage of the WikiLeaks video follows below...

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The corporate threat to both our health and our liberties...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/4/2010 10:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"You've got a small number of multinational corporations that control the entire food system from seed to the supermarket. This isn't just about what we're allowed to eat. This is about what we're allowed to say; what we're allowed to know. It's not just our health at risk...They have managed to make it against the law to criticize their products. There is an effort to make it illegal to publish a photo of any industrial food operation." - Food, Inc. narration.

We hear it constantly from Republicans; an ideological mantra to the effect that government, especially government programs that would place the interests of public health, safety, and equality above the profits and power of those who already have too much of both, threatens our liberties.

Perhaps in a manner even more successful than Michael Moore's very powerful presentations in Sicko! and in Capitalism: A Love Story, Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, in their Academy Award nominated documentary feature Food, Inc. (trailer posted at end of article), expose the lie behind the myth that so-called "free markets" make us free....

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The fight for a real public option continues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2010 5:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Substantively, not much has changed since we analyzed the Senate version of the health care bill in "'Reform' or Legislative Obscenity?"

We noted then:

The Baucus bill is a "legislative obscenity that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and a former vice president of WellPoint spent months preparing --- an insurance carrier wish-list that contains no public option, no means for controlling costs or abuse; a measure that does not merely protect but expands the already obscene wealth of the few by mandating that every citizen purchase insurance, with massive subsidies flowing into carrier coffers."

Yet Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 676 "Medicare for All," and a consistent critic of the pending obscenity masquerading as "reform" because it would serve to institutionalize the privatization of our health care, has now publicly declared that he will vote for the bill as presently drafted while continuing the fight for a rational, public health care system.

Meanwhile, Alan Grayson (D-FL), with 50 co-sponsors, has introduced "The Public Option Act," a bill which would provide all citizens with the option to buy into Medicare, though he, too, will vote for the Senate version of the health care bill...

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From misreporting to no reporting at all, questions keep mounting for the 'paper of record' about their bizarre record of failure on the ACORN story
UPDATED: AP article on decision appears on NYTimes.com website...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2010 9:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 The BRAD BLOG posted breaking coverage about U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon’s finding that day, that the Congressional funding ban on ACORN was an unconstitutional bill of attainder. Her finding included an order to resume federal funding to the community group which has been targeted by a years-long GOP smear campaign.

A March 10 AP story covering Judge Gershon's finding appeared in the March 11 edition of the Washington Post.

It's now Wednesday, March 17 --- a full week since the historic ruling was issued by a federal judge (in New York, of all places) yet, not one word about the ruling has appeared in the New York Times, America's so-called "paper of record."

What's wrong with this picture?

[Update 3/19/2010: See "Correction/Clarification" at end of article. The Times appears to have run something on this, at least a version of the AP's coverage, at least on their website, if not in their print editions, after all. See below for more details and one encouraging point to go with it. - BF]

As we now know, the NYTimes has misreported the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax story time and again since last fall, yet both their Senior Editor for Standards, Greg Brock, as seen in emails published by The BRAD BLOG, and their Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt, as seen in emails also published by The BRAD BLOG, have both refused to issue or recommend corrections despite being shown the gross, factual inaccuracies in the paper's coverage.

Furthermore, Gershon's decision last week heavily referenced a report [PDF] by the former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, released on December 7 of last year, finding no criminality by ACORN workers as seen in the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped videos released last year by James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart. The publication of those videos led to the unconstitutional legislation undone last week by Gershon. Yet the New York Times has never so much as mentioned the Harshbarger report in its pages either.

So, again, I ask: what's wrong with this picture?

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Judgment Grants ACORN Declaratory, Permanent Injunctive Relief
Slams Congress for acting without administrative process or trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2010 9:30pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The government has offered no...unique reason to treat ACORN differently from other contractors accused of serious misconduct or to bar ACORN from federal funding without either a judicial trial or an administrative process applicable to all government contractors."

That was the finding in the judgment [PDF] issued late today by U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon, granting both declaratory relief and a permanent injunction to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

The court declared that the provisions of the "FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act," an amalgam of six separate bills which President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 16, 2009, which sought to strip ACORN of their right to enter future contracts with the U.S. government and to deprive them of all federal funding, save what had already been earned on existing contracts, amounted to an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution.

Gershon's decision comes on the heels of a recent string of legal and public relations exhonerations for the community group which has long been targeted by the GOP, in large part, for their successful work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income voters who tend to favor Democratic candidates...

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The truth behind the hoax was 'hiding' in plain sight, if only the media and Congress had bothered to seek it out...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2010 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” - Mark Twain

"All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke

In a society increasingly dominated by dictatorial and corrupt corporate wealth and power, a collection of community organizations, The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), steps forward to become the voice of the most vulnerable of our citizens --- the poor and lower-middle class. It is a national coalition which not only strives to insure that these otherwise atomized and powerless masses retain and exercise their equal right to vote, but a caring organization which seeks a living wage for all citizens; that tries to protect them from predatory lenders and phony foreclosure assistance scams.

At a time when the heartless and uncaring Bush/Cheney cabal left thousands of our fellow citizens to sink or swim in a toxic soup of petrochemicals, flood waters and decaying bodies, ACORN, according to the Congressional Research Service [PDF], stepped forward to assist "in the clean-up of 1,850 homes and" organized "10,000 hurricane survivors into the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association."

So it comes as no surprise that ACORN has become the target of a years-long relentless right-wing assault, most recently spearheaded by the likes of accused federal felon James O'Keefe and his serial dissembling employer and publisher, Andrew Breitbart. Neither is it a surprise that the phony pimp's video hit pieces emerged on Rupert Murdoch's own Fox "News" Channel, which Robert Greenwald so forcefully demonstrated was but the propaganda arm of the GOP in Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism.

It is, however, slightly more surprising, and certainly most noteworthy, that now that they've been exposed as hoaxes, even Murdoch's own New York Post was forced to describe the doctored tapes as a "'heavily edited' splice job that only made it appear as though the organization's workers were advising a pimp and prostitute on how to get a mortgage...[with] many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers...taken out of context so as to appear more sinister."

What is truly disturbing, however, is that this concocted tale would be unquestioningly accepted as legitimate by the corporate media and by Congress, which, in their rush to mollify the noisy hard-right, displayed a profound ignorance of basic concepts of fundamental fairness and due process of law.

ACORN was prematurely and inappropriately tried and convicted in the press and in Congress, without so much as a single hearing, vis a vis a grotesque and shameful word-of-mouth propaganda lynch job unseen since the days of Joseph McCarthy, the disgraced, right-wing demagogue who misused his powerful perch in the U.S. Senate to smear "loyal Americans as disloyal" and who falsely "charged that the government was being undermined from within"...

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Spate of Anti-Choice Laws Put Pregnant Women in Legal Jeopardy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/8/2010 1:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The March 3, 2010 segment of Democracy Now is so shocking that it is best seen. In Utah, lawmakers have approved a measure that could potentially expose a pregnant woman to murder charges if she is stuck in an abusive relationship, is beaten and miscarries. When one of two twins is a still birth, the mother is charged with murder because she refused a C-section. In Iowa, a woman is arrested when she miscarries after a fall down the stairs.

All this amongst efforts by the health insurance cartel to treat spousal abuse as a pre-existing condition.

Perhaps we should post signs: Warning: Pregnancy will place you in legal jeopardy.

UPDATE, 3/10/10: Democracy Now reported that Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed the anti-choice measure into law. "The...bill would allow women to be charged with murder if they commit 'an intentional or knowing act' that causes a miscarriage. The bill initially included language that would have also punished women for 'reckless' acts. But despite the revision, critics still say the measure could target women for all kinds of actions, including staying with an abusive partner."

* * *

The 01/04/10 Democracy Now! segment, Utah Abortion Bill Could Punish Women for Miscarriages, Domestic Violence follows below...

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The latest chapter of a 40-year assault on Constitutional Democracy
And the long overdue effort by the People to reclaim their democratic heritage...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/19/2010 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The American people already believe that corporate special interests and their lobbyists run the show around here. I mean, the halls are crawling with them. But that’s not enough. Now the Court says to the big banks, to the drug companies, to the insurance companies, ‘Hey, all bets are off, and it’s open season. Our elections are for sale.’ A law won’t fix this; we have to fix it in the Constitution. So today I’ll introduce a constitutional amendment so that we, the people, can take back our elections and our democracy."
-- Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1/28/10

In "Activist U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Official, We're Now 'The Corporate States of America'", Brad Friedman, along with so many others, expressed alarm over the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission [PDF], as well he should have.

Notwithstanding the sophistries offered by Jan Witold Baran, who neglected to mention in his Jan. 26, 2010 New York Times editorial that he is a former general counsel for the Republican National Committee, it is clear from the broad language applied by the five-member majority of the Supreme Court that Citizens United calls into question the validity of all laws which seek to prohibit or even limit the ability of corporate bought-and-paid-for candidates to flood the airwaves with the corporate message, either directly or through corporate-purchased propaganda time slots; an ability that can drown out the right of citizens to see and hear those who do not tow the corporate line.

As I will explain in this first of a series of articles, this ruling perverts the very reason why the framers included "freedom of the press" in the First Amendment to the Constitutional amendments.

Unfortunately, as I will also explain in this series, the ruling in Citizens United was not unexpected. To the contrary, it is but the latest salvo in a 40 year, billionaire-funded assault on the very foundations of our constitutional republic and the rule of law.

A belated effort to reclaim our basic heritage has emerged via a move to amend the Constitution to overcome the devastating impact of Citizens United. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig argues that a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United will not be enough; that we have to overcome what he describes as "the economy of influence" which now controls Congress. Lessig has called for a new Constitutional Convention. Another activist group, The Peace Team, has denounced the decision in Citizens United as an "act of treason." The Peace Team features an on-line petition calling for the impeachment of the five members of the Supreme Court who signed onto the majority opinion.

Regardless of where one stands on these efforts, a full appreciation of the big picture may be required before an effective movement can counter the well-funded and well organized assault on liberty...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2010 6:16am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

While I've always had the utmost respect for Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger, I must admit that the first time I watched his video, "Obama is a corporate marketing creation," I thought that, in implying that the President was some type of CIA-connected Manchurian Candidate, Pilger was a bit over the top.

In 1983 Obama went to work for "Business International Corporation," which, according to Pilger, had "a long history of providing cover for the CIA and infiltrating unions on the left." Though Pilger conceded that there "might be nothing sinister" in that, he cited Obama's failure to identify Business International by name or what he did there in Dreams of My Father. The President simply said he worked at “a consulting house to multinational corporations.” Coupling this with a litany of examples which place Obama on the wrong side of Empire and the corporate divide, Pilger implied the connection was not coincidental, then concluded his remarks by quoting Chris Hedges:

President Obama does one thing and brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they make you feel.

Perhaps it's an accumulation of all that has transpired this past year; perhaps it's the striking revelations that emerged during an extraordinary Feb. 2, 2010, broadcast of Democracy Now, especially as it pertains to torture (video below), but I now can't help feeling like Claire Kubik, the sharp attorney played by Ashley Judd in High Crimes who starts out vigorously defending her husband Tom (Jim Cazviel) against charges he murdered innocent civilians in a covert military operation. She's convinced the man she married has been wrongfully accused; convinced of his innocence until, almost when it's too late, she learns the man she thought she knew so well was a murderous sociopath.

Who is this guy whose election so many so happily celebrated on a brisk November evening that now seems so long ago?...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/27/2010 8:16am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As the community group ACORN, which is accused of no federal felonies, awaits a decision on the release of federal funds that they were unconstitutionally barred from receiving, according to a federal judge, the man who apparently videotaped some of their employees illegally and then released highly edited and misleading versions of those illegally obtained tapes now faces federal felony charges related to wiretapping a U.S. Senator....

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Winograd v. Harman race turns white hot over Winograd's call for peace through an Israel/Palestine 'one-state' solution...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2010 8:52am PT  

Guest essay by Ernest A. Canning

Had Marcy Winograd simply chosen to denounce violence, both individual and state-based; had she objected to the oppressive nature of Iran's theocratic regime, or, during the 1980s, denounced a South African regime mired in racist apartheid, few would so much as raise an eyebrow.

Winograd's Feb. 15, 2008, speech, "Call For One State," delivered at the Friends of Sabeel Conference on behalf of L.A. Jews for Peace, however, was not merely directed against violence per se or against nations that permit a disparity in the rights of their citizens on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion. She denounced all forms of violence, including "Israeli state terrorism"; asserted that Israel had rendered a two-state solution all but impossible, and said she favored a "one state solution" because you "cannot establish a democracy in a state founded on the institutionalized superiority or exclusivity of one of religion, ethnicity, or culture."

In doing so, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)-endorsed Winograd, now seeking to unseat a wealthy seven-term 'Blue Dog' Democrat, Jane Harman (D-CA36), touched what many see as a third rail in American politics.

The real question is whether American criticism of Israel should continue to be a political third rail or whether the courage to challenge "the bipartisan mainstream" consensus is long overdue...

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More heat emerges from Winograd vs. Harman primary contest...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/9/2010 9:16am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and board member of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), has confounded progressives by joining forces to support notorious "Blue Dog" Democratic Rep. Jane Harman in her upcoming primary re-match against PDA-backed Marcy Winograd, long time leader in the grassroots progressive organization.

Several weeks ago, in "Winograd, Harman Race Heats Up Again," we noted that the looming 2010 primary contest between Harman, California's powerful eight-term Democratic U.S. Congresswoman and the progressive Winograd "presents a classic David and Goliath match up. With a net worth ranging between $236 million to $558 million, Harman, is said to be one of the richest members of Congress. Winograd, by contrast, is running a bottom-up progressive campaign of the type I advocated for recently in 'Progressives of America - Unite!'."

We noted:

In addition to Progressive Democrats for America, Winograd's notable progressive supporters include Daniel Ellsberg, Gore Vidal, Ron Kovic, Jodie Evans, Co-Founder, Code Pink, Norman Solomon, Lila Garrett of KPFK, David Swanson and Jim Hightower.

Harman's campaign web site, contains a long list of people and organizations who have endorsed her candidacy, which includes numerous elected officials...

An endorsement for Harman, from Lynn Woolsey of all people, has engendered some predictably strong reactions from progressive circles...

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