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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, February 27, 2015
Can the FCC's 'Net Neutrality' Ruling Survive Legal, Congressional Challenges?
While the American public won a huge victory with the FCC's decision, will the ruling hold up to inevitable challenges coming its way?...
'Green News Report' 2/26/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate change and our extreme winter; Geo-engineering is madness, but... (CUE THE CHEMTRAILS!); Shell nixes Canadian tar sands; PLUS: Sucker born every minute...
Previous GNRs: 2/24/15 - 2/19/15 - Archives...
'U.S. Electoral Integrity Worst Among Long-Established Democracies': New Report
Worse than Mexico, better than Barbados: Harvard, Univ. of Sydney study finds U.S. elections ranked 45th among 107 nations...
'Green News Report' 2/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR's 6th Anniversary! VETOED: Obama nixes KXL; EXPOSED: Top denier outed; BUSTED: Feds clip Duke Energy; PLUS: Sorry, deniers, don't blame the sun...
Previous GNRs: 2/19/15 - 2/17/15 - Archives...
Top Climate 'Skeptic' Hid Fossil Fuel Payments
Docs reveal oft-cited Dr. Wei-Hock 'Willie' Soon failed to disclose funding from the Kochs, ExxonMobil, others when publishing 'scientific' papers disputing global warming...
Democrats Call for 'Right-to-Vote' Amendment
DNC adopts resolution calling for explicit individual right to vote to be added to the U.S. Constitution and for 2016 state ballot referendums in support...
Not Very Funny
"You don't have to 'Approve' or 'Disapprove' of Obama in some simplistic overall sense. There is no requirement in life or politics to be as stupid as a pollster's questions" - David Swanson
When Presidential Selfies Were Hilarious [VIDEO]
A sitting U.S. President joking about signing up for health care insurance isn't funny or dignified! But you know what's hilarious?...
'Green News Report' 2/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Another day, another oil explosion, this time in CA; 'Anti-petroleum' activists a security threat, says Canada; Jan. 2015 is 2nd hottest on record; PLUS: Obama on 'our best idea'...
Previous GNRs: 2/17/15 - 2/12/15 - Archives...
Photo ID Restriction Bill Killed by Nebraska Legislature
A solid, bipartisan defeat of a polling place Photo ID law the Nebraska's 'non-partisan' legislature is very good news for voters...for a change...
Fox 'News' Exposes 'Biggest Science Scandal Ever Known!'
Except, you'll be shocked to learn, it isn't a scandal at all...and they are absolutely wrong. Again...
'Green News Report' 2/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Another day, another TWO oil train explosions; Schizophrenic extreme weather pounds U.S.; Southwest about to get a lot drier; PLUS: Ohio bans local fracking bans....
Previous GNRs: 2/12/15 - 2/5/15 - Archives...
House Judiciary Comm. Preps for Possible Impeachment of Wife-Beating Federal Judge
Goodlatte, Conyers appear to be taking job of accountability for Judge Mark Fuller seriously; Request budget for experts, hearings, etc...
Shell Shocked: Big Oil Boss Seeks 'Balance' on Climate
After decades of fossil fuel industry lies about global warming, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is suddenly desparate to stave off the inevitable...
'No Homosexuals Doing Homosexual Things'
Jeremy Todd Addaway of 'Redneck News' offers a remarkable report from Alabama, on the front lines of the gay marriage epidemic...
'Green News Report' 2/12/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP passes Keystone XL bill - again; Apple invests big in solar; Oil cos dump toxic waste into CA aquifers; PLUS: Uncle Sam wants YOU to save the monarch butterfly...
Previous GNRs: 2/5/15 - 2/3/15 - Archives...
#JeSuisChapelHill
Three Muslim students were shot in the head execution style by a neighbor in NC. Police say it was a 'parking dispute'. The victim's families are calling it a 'hate crime'. Shouldn't Fox 'News' call it 'terrorism'?...
MSNBC's Credibility Problem
When it comes to the greatest existential threat facing the planet, the cable news channel that should cover it best ends up pulling its punches...
What?! MSM Lied About the Iraq War?!
NBC's Brian Williams appears to have made up his own war stories. And if there's anything the MSM can't stand, it's lying about the Iaq War...
Climate Denying PM Hangs On in Australia
Right-wing Tony Abbott survives the heat of an attempted ouster by his own party, but world may not be as lucky...
Did Late Vote-by-Mail Ballots Flip Results of CA's First Election of 2015?
A new state law has some election watchdogs concerned -- and you'll never guess who authored it...
Walker Attempts to Cut $300M, 'Truth', 'Wisconsin Idea' from UW System
And the GOP's latest 2016 front-runner gets caught in a lie while doing it...
'Green News Report' 2/5/15
Aussie's climate denying PM takes a drubbing; Baby sea lions wash ashore in CA; BP's missing oil found; PLUS: LBJ issued warning about global warming 50 years ago...
The Biggest Winners of 'Citizens United'
Money is now blatantly corrupting US politics, but don't forget who ultimately receives the vast majority of those campaign billions...
'Green News Report' 2/3/15
EPA gives Obama room to reject Keystone XL; Feds must account for sea level; Scarborough says liberals deny science; PLUS: GOP's 2016 climate prob...
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...
-- NOTE: This item set to 'Stay-on-Top'. Scroll down for latest items! --
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2015 2:45pm PT  

Desi Doyen of The BRAD BLOG's Green News Report is guest hosting on The Young Turks tonight.

LIVE FEED HERE (6-8p ET / 3-5p PT)...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2015 10:35am PT  

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, offered the following persuasive argument on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday to underscore his case that "global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"...

Pretty rock solid evidence. Nonetheless, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was somehow able to muster up a response...

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New Harvard, Univ. of Sydney survey finds elections in U.S. rank just below Mexico, just above Barbados...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2015 6:35am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Electoral integrity has not improved in the U.S. over the past year, according to a new study. In fact, elections in Mexico now have more integrity than ours, the new survey, based on the observations of some 1,400 international election experts, finds.

Last year we reported: "A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with 'Moderate' election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries."

Well, bad news --- of a sort. This year's new Electoral Integrity Project report [PDF] is now out. It takes into account the 2014 mid-term elections in the U.S. and more elections in a number of additional countries. It appears the U.S. has fallen a few pegs from it's 26th place ranking in last year's report [emphasis in the original]...

[C]ontests in the United States scored the worst performance among any long-established democracy. Hence the 2012 Presidential elections was ranked 42nd worldwide, while the 2014 mid-term Congressional races was ranked 45th, similar to Colombia and Bulgaria. One reason is that experts expressed growing concern over US electoral laws and processes of voter registration, both areas of heated partisan debate.

To make matters worse, the survey fails to examine the effects of vote-casting and counting technology on the integrity of elections. But, while the new report highlights what appears to be a huge drop in U.S. election integrity since last year's study, with our most recent national elections now ranked just worse than Mexico's and slightly better than those in Barbados, it's not all as bad as the plummeting ranking would seem to suggest...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Dr. Wei-Hock 'Willie' Soon took payments from Kochs, Southern Co., ExxonMobil; Peddled discredited scientific global warming theory...
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2015 7:39pm PT  

Uh oh. Shall we call it "DenierGate"?

For years, top climate science deniers, such as Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), have been citing a handful of folks like Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon for their willingness to dispute the central thesis of global warming, as shared by the overwhelming consensus of world climatologists.

Now, however, according to documents published over the weekend by the New York Times, it appears that Soon has been accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars (out of some $1.2 million he's received, in fact) from the fossil fuel industry --- including at least $409,000 from coal giant Southern Company and $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Soon was also paid hundreds of thousands by ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute, the Kochs' Donors Trust and others for his reports and appearances.

While some of those payments were previously known, it appears that Soon failed to disclose many of these extraordinary conflicts of interest when publishing his scientific papers concerning discredited global warming theories and when serving as an "expert" witness at Congressional hearings.

"At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure," the Times reports, "and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work."

Soon is often incorrectly identified as a "Harvard astrophysicist" when appearing on right-wing news outlets, even though he is an aerospace engineer with "little formal training in climatology," according to the paper. His part-time employers at The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are, to say the least, not at all happy about Soon's very serious apparent ethical breaches...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2015 2:43pm PT  

[UPDATED to reflect the successful adoption of the resolution.]

While Republican state legislatures around the nation have been working to limit access to the polls over recent years, Democrats moved a non-partisan initiative forward over the weekend to help expand --- or, at least, to help protect --- the franchise for all Americans.

At their Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, the Democratic National Committee unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for a "Right-to-Vote" Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution.

According to the resolution, posted in full below, the Democrats are calling for "amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."

The resolution also calls on "state parties to work with state lawmakers and others to access the need to petition for a statewide referendum on the November 2016 general election ballot (and all states where this is possible), advocating to amend the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."

As the document stresses, there is currently no such explicit right stated in our nation's founding document, although several amendments bar the restriction of access to the polls based on race, sex and age. It also notes that while, in the past, the U.S. Supreme Court "has called the right to vote a fundamental right," the court's 2013 decision striking down a key element of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has served to "undermine" that right.

"Of the 119 nations that elect their public officials using some form of democratic elections," the resolution notes, "108 have the right to vote in their constitution, but the United States is one of the 11 nations --- including Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, India, Indonesia, Nauru, Samoa, and the United Kingdom --- that does not explicitly contain a citizen's right to vote in its constitution."

"A 'right to vote' constitutional amendment applies to and should be supported by all Americans because it is (a) nonpartisan - not Democratic, Republican or independent; (b) non-ideological - not liberal or conservative; (c) non-programmatic - it does not require you to support or oppose any particular legislative program(s); and (d) non-special interest - its application is not limited to minorities, women, labor, business, seniors, lesbians and gays or any other special interest groups."

The full resolution, adopted on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at the DNC Winter Meeting, follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2015 2:28pm PT  

Recently, the Republicans were "outraged" by this not funny, undignified Presidential video released by BuzzFeed to help encourage Americans to sign up for health care insurance...

By way of reminder for you liberal, Obama-loving leftists out there, this is what an hilarious and dignified Presidential video looks like...

In his defense, by the time of that knee-slapping video in 2004, only about 1,300 U.S. troops had been killed by the joke. Eventually, some 4,500 of our troops would be killed by it.

If that's not hilarious and dignified, I don't know what is.

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By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2015 1:19pm PT  

A bit of good voting news, for a change, via Zach Roth at MSNBC today...

Opponents of a voter ID bill in the Nebraska legislature say they've succeeded in killing the measure.

Eleven Republicans joined all 14 Democrats Wednesday in voting to shelve for the year an ID bill that just last month was seen as having a good shot at passing.

"It is victory. It's done," state Sen. Adam Morfeld, who led the opposition, told msnbc moments after coming off the floor. "The bill is dead."

The utter lack of documented voter fraud in the state made the bill a tough sell even with many Republicans. The measure's backers were unable to cite even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law.

While that may be true, that same fact --- the lack of "even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law" --- hasn't stopped Republicans from passing similar restrictions on voting in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, over the last several years (even as many of those restrictions have been found unconstitutional by courts thereafter.)

In 2012, a Photo ID restriction bill in Nebraska was defeated by a fillibuster, when, as AP reported at the time, critics "blasted the proposal as an attempt to keep poor,
elderly, disabled and college-aged voters from casting a ballot." This time, Roth reports, the bill was killed outright.

"We found out half-way through the filibuster that we actually had a majority of folks that wanted to kill the bill," Morfeld told MSNBC, which reports that "Voting rights advocates had said at least 112,000 Nebraskans, likely significantly more, lack the ID that would have been required" to vote under the proposed restriction.

But Roth also notes that the key to killing the bill outright was likely found in the non-partisan nature of the state's unicameral legislature which "isn't organized by party, though individual members have party affiliations. That makes it easier for lawmakers to vote their consciences."

"It's much less partisan in our body, and people are able to be more independent," Morfeld told MSNBC. "People aren't punished for not following the party lines on certain issues, because our leadership is non-partisan."

Also, it seems, thanks to the body's unique structure, the voters of the state will not be punished either, by purposely discriminatory partisan voting restrictions --- at least not this year.

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Fox 'News' helps expose 'Biggest Science Scandal Ever Known!'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2015 6:20am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Every few months, when climate change deniers decide they've come up with an all-new reason to convince themselves that global warming is all a big hoax, we like to take a look at whatever the latest scam is that they are propagating, either because they are part of the effort to help out the fossil fuel industry, or simply because they enjoy being their brainwashed and/or incurious little tools.

Back in 2013 these stooges were promoting the phony notion that "Arctic ice has grown to a record level!" It hadn't. After that debacle, they claimed UN scientists had found their predictions of warming were off by 50 percent or more. They weren't. More recently, they were pushing the false claim that the globe has been cooling ever since 1998. It hasn't been. And, of course, when all else failed, they could always fall back on their old standby: weaning ourselves from dangerous fossil fuels won't make any difference anyway because China would never do the same. But, of course, China is now doing so at a rate that should embarrass these jackasses. But it won't. Because they are never embarrassed about being wrong.

So, with 2014 recently clocking in as the hottest year for the planet on record, according to every major world agency that measures such things, and with 13 of the hottest years on record all falling within the past 15 years, these clowns are getting pretty desperate for something --- anything --- to use to keep the denialist scam going on behalf of the most profitable industry in the history of civilization.

The latest such scam, helpfully propagated on several Fox "News" shows last week, is that the so-called "scientists" have been caught red-handed in the act of "lying" about raw temperature data! That's right! They have been manipulating the data to exaggerate the extent of global warming!

Except, of course, they haven't, and they aren't...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'One step closer', says Congresswoman calling for accountability of federal judge arrested on wife-beating charges last year...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2015 2:30pm PT  

In case you thought the clamor, such that it is, for accountability for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller has waned, it hasn't. At least according to some behind-the-scenes, bi-partisan budgeting measures in the GOP-controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which is now quietly preparing for the possibility of impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush's 2002 lifetime-appointee to the Alabama federal bench.

Fuller was arrested last August on charges related to physically abusing his wife in an Atlanta hotel room after she called 911 asking for help and an ambulance as the dispatcher heard what sounded like the Judge beating her. Here's a portion of Kelli Fuller's chilling phone call...

As Ken Hare of Montgomery's NBC affiliate WSFA summarized last week, when police responded to the 911 call at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, Fuller's wife had "visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead," according to the police report. She told police the Judge "threw her to the ground and kicked her" in response to confronting him about an alleged affair with his court clerk. (Her own affair with Judge Fuller, ironically, began during his previous marriage, while she served as his court bailiff.) The police report says Kelli Fuller "stated she was dragged around the room and Mr. Fuller hit her in the mouth several times with his hands."

Despite the startling claims, supported by both evidence found by police in the hotel room, the audio of the 911 call excerpted above and eerily similar assertions made in court documents by Fuller's previous wife during their 2012 divorce, the state court in Atlanta allowed Fuller to enter a minimal pretrial diversion program which, once successfully completed, will completely expunge his criminal record --- as if his arrest on domestic battery charges never even happened.

While Fuller may get off the hook for criminal charges, his $200,000/year lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary is another matter. Unless he resigns or retires, the only way that a federal judge can be forced off the federal bench is through an act of Congress. And it is that act, the rare impeachment of a sitting federal judge, which the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has now budgeted for in its new session...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2015 2:55pm PT  

Encouraging news out of the embattled Deep South...

[Hat-tip TPM...]

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By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2015 11:59am PT  

Via the The News & Observer...

CHAPEL HILL --- The father of two of three students shot to death in Chapel Hill on Tuesday says the shooting was a "hate crime" based on the Muslim identity of the victims.

Chapel Hill police said Wednesday morning that a dispute about parking in the neighborhood of rented condominiums near Meadowmont may have led Craig Stephen Hicks to shoot his neighbors, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and Abu-Salha's sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh.

But the women's father, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, who has a psychiatry practice in Clayton, said regardless of the precise trigger Tuesday night, Hicks' underlying animosity toward Barakat and Abu-Salha was based on their religion and culture. Abu-Salha said police told him Hicks shot the three inside their apartment.

"It was execution style, a bullet in every head," Abu-Salha said Wednesday morning. "This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far."

Abu-Salha said his daughter who lived next door to Hicks wore a Muslim head scarf and told her family a week ago that she had "a hateful neighbor."

"Honest to God, she said, 'He hates us for what we are and how we look,'" he said.
...
Police charged Hicks with three counts of first-degree murder.

"Our preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking," said police spokesman Lt. Joshua Mecimore. "Hicks is cooperating with investigators."

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By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2015 1:01pm PT  

I'm on the road this week, but was able to carve out a minute or two upon learning that some in our trusted news media seem to have lied about the Iraq War! Can you believe it?!

As Jon Stewart declared on The Daily Show last night: "The media is on it! Now this may seem like overkill. But for me, no, it's not overkill. Because I am happy. Finally, someone is being held to account for misleading America about the Iraq War!"...

By the way, when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow produced her excellent Hubris: Selling the Iraq War documentary in 2013, to mark the tenth anniversary of our invasion, she cited the blatant and knowing lies that resulted in the war. While congratulating her on the fine work, we also took the time to document just some of the many lies told and/or facilitated by NBC and MSNBC themselves which helped lead us into that disaster in the first place...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Wherein the GOP's latest 2016 front-runner gets caught in a lie...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2015 6:24pm PT  

With Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, incredibly enough, having vaulted to the front of the GOP pack of 2016 Presidential hopefuls in Iowa and a number of other states, he'll undoubtedly (or, at least, hopefully) come under much more scrutiny on a national level for the kind of policies he's been carrying out back home. (And, additionally, as Brendan Fischer explains, "Rumors of the Walker [John Doe] Probe's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated")

One aspect of those policies was noticed by Jonas Persson and Mary Bottari at the Center for Media and Democracy's PRWatch this week. It seems Walker, without publicly mentioning it during a recent speech on his newly proposed state budget, included $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin (UW) System along with some other troubling changes.

"The unprecedented cut, which amounts to 13 percent of the state funding for the university system and 2.5 percent of the total budget, accompanied by a tuition freeze will result in the defunding of scores of departments and jeopardize the livelihood of faculty and graduate students," PRWatch reports. The cuts come on the heels of Walker's tax breaks for the wealthy and cuts to social services which have left Wisconsin "32nd in the nation in new job growth," while "the state faces a $2.2 billion dollar deficit." Not helpful numbers when running for President (at least in a general, versus primary, election.)

"In a grim irony, the cut also comes amid reports that other states in the Midwest, such as Minnesota (which recently reported a $1.04 billion budget surplus), Indiana, Iowa and Ohio, are ramping up funding for its state universities, the Wisconsin State Journal reports."

PRWatch adds that, under Walker's proposed new structure for the UW System, "The Board of Regents appointed by the governor would be the governing body and the legislature and the public would have less of a role in protecting academic freedom and other statutory rights."

As much as some are alarmed by the restructuring and massive budget cuts to state education, a rather striking change to the UW System's written mission statement in the budget proposal has left some "nearly speechless", setting off arguably more controversy about what Walker, after being called on it, initially described as little more than "a drafting error"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Statute's vague language concerns some election watchdogs...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2015 11:26am PT  

When California state Sen. Lou Correa (D) authored SB 29 last year, allowing Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballots to be accepted and counted even if they arrive at county election headquarters up to three days after Election Day, some state Election Integrity advocates were concerned.

Somewhat vague language in part of the bill might allow for a case where, in the event of a very close margin announced on Election Night, unvoted absentee ballots could be quickly filled out after the fact and delivered to election officials inside the new three day post-election window.

If a race was close enough, late arriving ballots --- either legitimately voted on or before Election Day, or, depending on how local election officials choose to interpret the statute, illegitimately voted and delivered after Election Day --- could actually reverse the results of such a contest.

Little could Correa have known, however, as he was successfully moving his bill through the California state legislature last year, to take effect in January 2015, that the very first election of the year --- and the very first to be decided by a small enough margin that it could be directly affected by late ballots now allowed under SB 29 --- would be...Lou Correa's...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Money is now blatantly corrupting U.S. politics, but don't forget who ultimately receives the vast majority of those campaign billions...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2015 1:24pm PT  

In flagging Eliza Newlin Carney's piece at CQ Roll Call [subscription req'd], election law professor Rick Hasen notes that "Democracy has become a Cash Cow".

Ya think? As Carney writes:

The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that blew the lid off campaign spending five years ago has also ushered in a Gilded Age for the booming political consulting industry.

The paychecks earned by the professionals who create and place ads, raise money, take polls, manage communications and direct strategy draw less scrutiny than the billionaire donors who now drive the increasingly deregulated political marketplace. But political consultants have cashed in handsomely, and are earning more money with less oversight than ever before.

In the three federal elections since the Supreme Court threw out limits on independent political spending, consultants have pocketed a healthy cut of the $13.6 billion spent on campaigns. In the recent midterms, which cost $3.7 billion, $275 million of it was spent by outside groups whose activities are partly or completely undisclosed. Such groups are exempt from FEC rules that bar candidates and parties from misusing campaign money. That leaves consultants who work for those groups unfettered by gatekeepers or regulators.

But while consultants may be getting a larger slice of the pie than ever, you know who else is unfettered to receive even more of that money, as the single largest bulk recipient of all that cash?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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