Just like the headline says, from my interview on Friday with David Pakman...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Just like the headline says, from my interview on Friday with David Pakman...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
[An updated version of this article has now been published by Salon. Updates to the version posted here, following the weekend's developments in Ferguson, are posted at the end of the article.]
On Wednesday night, I had snarked on Twitter about the lack of so-called "Tea Party" "patriots" --- like those brave boys and girls who, earlier this year, pointed their big assault-rifles at federal officials to protect the "right" of a scofflaw rancher in Nevada to illegally graze his cattle for free on land that he did not own --- failing to show up to protect the actual rights and freedoms of so many being denied them by actual Big Government Tyranny in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.
Some Rightwingers, like libertarian Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com shot back at me (figuratively) on Twitter, arguing that "The Bundy patriots didn't take BS from the cops. They stood and fought," adding that the Ferguson protesters were facing the "same fight" and, had those protesters only brought guns with them, the police would have backed down. Or something.
"Would the cops be murdering blacks in #Ferguson if the people were armed? No," Raimondo told me, as if he just arrived in the U.S. from some other planet. "Armed resistance tends to discourage aggression," he insisted, between some silly ad hominem bluster in which he charged me with "worship[ing]" the government, and "lov[ing] the state that murders blacks" (also of being a "loser" with a "fat ass" or some such, but that's even easier to laugh at).
And then something changed on the streets of Ferguson Thursday night, which made Raimondo's comments seem even more transparently silly.
After the fully-militarized police were pulled away, ordered by the Missouri Governor to be replaced by grown-ups who marched with the protesters, calm and even jubilance returned to the previously tear gas-filled streets of Ferguson, MO. The contrast on Thursday night from the days prior couldn't have been more stark, according to virtually everyone on the ground there. It was the police, not the protesters, who had exacerbated roiling racial tensions, arrested reporters and needlessly filled the streets with panic and tear gas in the days prior, just as assuredly as it was a Ferguson cop who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teen who was supposedly stopped for nothing more than alleged "Jay Walking".
It was peaceful citizens, with their empty hands in the air --- not pretend "patriots" aiming long guns at the buffoonish, intimidating, embarrassing, jungle-camouflaged-in-exurban-streets cops --- who may ultimately be seen as the ones who helped begin a national rollback of the absurd militarization, perhaps better described as "Hollywoodization," of our nation's law enforcement organizations.
It was not armed resistance, but peaceful resistance that may have brought about real, if tenuous, change in Ferguson, and maybe even the rest of the country...
Way to go Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R)! You caught another one!
When Hiller arrived at the polls, however, she was told that she could not exercise her right to vote after all. Hiller was turned away because she did not have a photo ID, and Kansas has a strict voter ID law that disenfranchises voters without identification...
See the full story from Ian Millhiser here. Hiller wasn't allowed to vote by provisional ballot, though it likely wouldn't have helped either her or the other elderly voters on the same bus who were turned away that day.
As the Topeka Capital-Journal reported the story of what happened to Hiller and the other senior citizens who lost their voting rights in Kansas during the recent primary, "Kobach spearheaded the ID law and a proof-of-citizenship requirement to register, saying the measures are necessary to prevent voter impersonation and protect the state from 'alien' voters."
Of course, despite his pretend claims and his 2010 SoS campaign promise to "STOP VOTER FRAUD", Kobach has been unable to find any of it. But, hey, at least he's keeping some of the oldest people in his state from being able to participate in their "representative democracy" at all! That's gotta count for something!
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I invited peace activist David Swanson to explain to me why it's wrong for the U.S. to take military action in Iraq amidst what the President describes as "genocide".
I pressed him and he offered a smart, persuasive, and well-reasoned case. Yet, I'm still not certain that I'm persuaded. Please give the short conversation a listen and let me know what you think.
We also took calls on the above, and covered a bunch of other stuff, including updates on the CA Supreme Court nixing the "corporate personhood" ballot initiative (Prop 49); the extraordinary North Carolina "voter suppression" law that a federal judge (W. Bush appointee) has allowed to move forward for now; and the remarkable story of federal judge Mark Fuller --- who helped railroad former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) into federal prison --- being arrested and charged for allegedly beating up his latest wife in an Atlanta hotel room over the weekend.
All of that, and a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, as the News Summer from Hell continues...
Download MP3 or listen online below...
It's not enough that the police are killing unarmed African-Americans in Ferguson, Missouri. Now they're arresting journalists like Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly and Washington Post's Wesley Lowery for sitting in a McDonald's to recharge their cell phones while writing up their coverage of the protests and militarized police riots in response to the police killing of Michael Brown.
Read Reilly's account of his arrest here ("They essentially acted as a military force), and Lowery's here ("'My hands are behind my back,' I said. 'I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.' At which point one officer said: 'You’re resisting. Stop resisting.'")
Here's a statement sent out tonight by HuffPo's Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim following the arrest, and subsequent release of Reilly and Lowery...
"Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted.
"Compared to some others who have come into contact with the police department, they came out relatively unscathed, but that in no way excuses the false arrest or the militant aggression toward these journalists. Ryan, who has reported multiple times from Guantanamo Bay, said that the police resembled soldiers more than officers, and treated those inside the McDonald's as 'enemy combatants.' Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time, and it is now beginning to affect press freedom."
With all due respect to Grim, and I have much, while "police militarization" has, indeed, been among the most consequential developments of our time, it has not gone "unnoticed" and it has been "affect[ing] press freedom" for quite some time. The BRAD BLOG burned quite a few late-night pixels in a whole bunch of stories back in 2011 during the hey-day of the Occupy Movement trying to make exactly that point loud and clear, and again in 2012 when journalists were being arrested for their coverage. (And, certainly, years earlier than that as well.)
At the time, we also noted that the pretend patriots of the "Tea Party" movement didn't seem to give a damn about any of it, which still rings true today, as we echoed tonight on Twitter while we catching up with the evening's ongoing madness in #Ferguson...
Just a quick thanks to all those Bundy Ranch "patriots" for coming down to #Ferguson and standing up to Big Govt Tyranny.
— Brad Friedman (@TheBradBlog) August 14, 2014
But I'm certain the "patriots" will be arriving anytime now to help restore liberty to the citizens of Ferguson, unless they're home polishing their big manly rifles so they can help "protect our American rights and freedoms"...
A very bizarre situation is occurring right now in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Hawaii, where last Saturday's Election Day was disrupted by a hurricane. While voting was successfully carried out in most of the state's precincts, 2 out of 247 were unable to open for voting due to the storm.
The result is that the contentious U.S. Senate primary race between incumbent, recently appointed, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and his challenger Colleen Hanabusa now stands with a little more than 1,600 votes between them out of about 225,000 cast, according to the "too close to call" reported results of those who voted on Saturday.
But the election is now being extended to allow those 2 precincts --- and only those two precincts --- to vote this Saturday.
The approximately 7,000 or so voters from those two precincts will determine the final results of the primary --- and probably the next U.S. Senator from Hawaii --- as Rachel Maddow explains below, while appropriately asking: "Is that fair? And if that isn't fair, what would be fair?...Is holding a new election for just those two precincts fair to either candidate? Does it advantage one or the other of them? Should we expect more voters to go vote now that they know just how important their votes are?"...
I don't pretend to have any answers to the question of "fairness" in this bizarre case, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. The current solution, as unfair as it seems to be, at least seems to be equally unfair to everybody, for whatever that may be worth.
One wonders, however, if Hawaii had a polling place Photo ID restriction, how many voters wouldn't be able to vote at all simply because all of their belongs were lost in the storm? That particular point, while a seemingly exceptional circumstance here, isn't actually all that exceptional. Remember when, for example, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy threatened the Presidential election in NJ, NY, CT, PA, VA and OH?
The "Overturn Citizens United Act", or Prop 49, will not appear on California's ballot this November after all.
As we reported in some detail last month, the unusual "advisory measure" was placed on the ballot very recently by the California state legislature. It called for Congress to "propose an amendment...to the United States Constitution" to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, and "to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."
But now, the state Supreme Court in California, dominated by 5 Republican appointees and 1 Democratic appointee, has intervened to remove the measure from this year's general election ballot, as the Sacramento Bee reports tonight...
The federal judge who oversaw the political prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was arrested over the weekend after allegedly beating his wife in a posh hotel room in Atlanta...
Fuller, 55, is a judge in the Middle District of Alabama and presided over the 2006 bribery trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
Police responded to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 181 Peachtree Street at 10:47 p.m. According to Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones, officers spoke to Fuller's wife, "who stated she was assaulted by her husband." Fuller's wife, who was not named by police, was treated by paramedics but refused treatment at a hospital.
According to Dan Whistenhunt of Decaturish.com, the Atlanta Police report says "The wife explained that she accused Fuller of having an affair with his law clerk. She said Fuller pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her. She told police that Fuller dragged her around the room and struck her in the mouth several times with his hands."
"Fuller said his wife threw a glass at him. Fuller said he grabbed his wife's hair 'to defend himself," Whistenhunt reports. "'When asked about the lacerations on her mouth, Mr. Fuller stated that he just threw her to the ground and that was it,' the report says."
"Police later discovered blood in the bathroom on the tub. Fuller did not have any marks or bruises, the officer noted. After medical personnel arrived, they noted additional bruises on his wife's legs."
"Fuller has faced allegations of domestic abuse before," Whistenhunt goes on to report. "The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press reported in 2012 that a Montgomery circuit judge sealed Fuller's divorce records. The divorce file is, 'wrought with accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse and the judge's alleged affair with his court bailiff,' according to the Reporters Committee."
When asked for comment this afternoon, Siegelman's daughter Dana described the news as "shocking" and "disturbing", but said the matter "seems to fall in line with the Buddhist philosophy of karma."
The BRAD BLOG has covered the Siegelman case in great detail over the years. The former governor, who is now serving time in a federal correctional institution in Louisiana for what 113 bi-partisan former Attorneys General agree had never been a crime before his promising political career was derailed by it, has long alleged that Fuller, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, had deep conflicts of interest on the case, and should have recused himself. Siegelman was found guilty on charges of bribery, though he insists, and the evidence shows, he never received any personal enrichment. (See 60 Minutes' 2008 coverage of the outrageous Siegelman prosecution right here.)
There has been a great deal of criticism of Fuller's refusal to recuse himself from the case against Siegelman, who has been described by supporters as "America's political prisoner". His work on the trial has been characterized as a "grudge match" by an extremely partisan judge with deep ties to GOP strategist Karl Rove against a very popular Democrat whose appointee had once investigated him.
Yet, even as efforts to free her father continue, and as Fuller was released from jail late today after posting a $5,000 bond, Dana Siegelman went on to offer a note of sympathy to Fuller's wife, family, and even Fuller himself...
We're on the road this week, so can't get into great detail. But not much is needed, as Justin Levitt's piece at Washington Post's "Wonk Blog" does all the heavy lifting.
We've previously reported on the exhaustive study by the non-partisan News21 consortium which found just 10 incidents of possible voter fraud that might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions in all 50 states from 2000 to 2012. That report was based on all of the official actions filed in each state during that time period, of all forms of potential voter fraud or voter registration fraud or, more broadly, election fraud in general.
But now Levitt --- a constitutional and democracy law professor at Loyola University Law School, who also works on related issues with NYU's Brennan Center for Justice and frequently testifies as an expert in various law suits and hearings regarding voting rights --- offers an update to those numbers. The results are remarkable, though unsurprising to those who have followed the creation of this Republican stalking horse for the past decade.
Levitt's offers an even more expansive investigation than News21's, and includes all known incidents and allegations, even those which haven't been filed formally with election or law enforcement officials.
"To be clear," he writes, "I'm not just talking about prosecutions. I track any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix."
His explanation of what he has found --- from every known allegation of this type of voter fraud between 2000 and 2014 in all 50 states --- is staggering, to say the least...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
Washington Posts' "The Fix" blog describes Rep. Justin Amash's (R-MI) victory speech after his primary election on Tuesday as "absolutely amazing", noting that "Politicians who win campaigns, no matter how dirty, will almost always kiss and make up with their political opponents in their election-night speeches."
Amash did no such thing, as his remarks highlighted, once again, the growing, deep and bitter divide running straight through the Republican Party.
The libertarian-leaning ally of former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) and co-sponsor, with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) of last year's narrowly defeated bi-partisan attempt in the U.S. House to end blanket, warrantless NSA spying on Americans following the initial Edward Snowden disclosures, unloaded last night on the failed U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed campaign to unseat him with an "establishment-approved" candidate.
In particular, Amash targeted Michigan's former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, a long-time Chamber-backed candidate himself, now a Chamber-funded political lobbyist and supporter of Amash's Republican opponent Brian Ellis. "I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra," Amash told the crowd, underscoring the L-word to much applause, "you are a disgrace. And I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance."
Ouch. As "The Fix" notes, "Hoekstra lost the state's 2012 Senate race --- and in the 2010 gubernatorial primary."
And then Amash zeroed in on his direct opponent, businessman Ellis: "You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you. To stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what's best for their district."
The Ellis campaign ran an ad earlier this summer, citing Amash's support for shutting down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay (just as both George W. Bush and John McCain once supported) and his attempt to stop warrantless spying on Americans (a bill that narrowly failed with a bi-partisan 205 to 217 vote, which included 94 votes from fellow Republicans).
The Ellis ad referred to Amash, who is an Arab-American, as "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress."
His blistering remarks about Hoekstra and Ellisn come just after the 3 minute mark in the video below...
NBC and Brian Williams on just how bad this drought, the worst one on historical record, is getting out here...
But all ya'll pretenders that "Global Warming is a hoax" (talking to you, crazy lady running for Congress from Louisiana and all your scammed friends!) can keep pretending this isn't gonna end up costing you and this nation and this planet a fortune, just so you can continue helping a few fossil fuel corporation owners fleece you...and your grandchildren's future.
Michele Bachmann may be on her way out. And Sarah Palin cut and run long ago. But make way for Republican state Rep. Lenar Whitney, who is now running for an open Congressional seat from Louisiana.
She cites Bachmann "as a political role model" and proudly accepts the monicker of "Palin of the South", according to Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, who wrote about her at Washington Post this week.
"I've personally interviewed over 300 congressional candidates over the course of seven years, both to get to know them and evaluate their chances of winning" he writes. "But never have I met any candidate quite as frightening or fact-averse as Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney, 55, who visited my office last Wednesday."
Wasserman describes how she eventually "fled the room", after he'd asked her "repeatedly for the source of her claim that the earth is getting colder", as seen --- along with much more --- in the remarkable video below. He says "she froze and was unable to cite a single scientist, journal or news source to back up her beliefs."
Not surprising, given that her claims are all bullshit, until you see the confidence with which she presents that bullshit in the campaign video below. Get a load --- and I do mean load --- of this...
We're getting ready to hit the road, so no time at the moment to debunk each of her ridiculous --- and long ago debunked everywhere else --- assertions. Even the frequently absurd PolitiFact judged the claims in her otherwise hilarious video to be "Pants on Fire".
But the video seems worth highlighting here, nonetheless, if only so that folks can know who may become the next Congressmember from Louisiana's 6th district, and so we all might further appreciate just how far off the rails of reality the Republican Party has now gone, that a) this woman is even a viable candidate for U.S. Congress from any party and b) she's actually already been elected to something beyond Dog Catcher by voters in the state of Louisiana!
With each passing day it becomes more and more clear --- as if it wasn't from the get-go, when Republicans initially began objecting to Obama's advocacy for a Republican-created health insurance reform plan --- that the GOP's objections to "ObamaCare" have nothing to do with the plan itself and everything to do with the fact that they didn't pass it.
No matter that we'd prefer to see a single-payer plan, where every American enjoys a right to receive good health care, the Affordable Care Act's success in seeing millions of previously-uninsured Americans become insured is no longer debatable by serious people.
And now we begin seeing the upside for corporations like private hospitals as well...
LifePoint Hospitals reported that the percentage of its patients paying for their own care declined from 7.1 percent to 4.8 percent over the last year, according to Bloomberg.
Those trends have led to a brightening financial outlook for the companies, according to Bloomberg. Both HCA and LifePoint increased their fiscal forecast recently as the increase in paying customers became clear. LifePoint specifically estimated that Obamacare added $13 million to its total earnings in the second quarter, 40 percent above its expectations.
Sounds terrible. No wonder Republicans are "furious" about it.
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