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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 26, 2018
Dems' AZ Election Loss, NY Victories Suggest Big GOP Trouble: 'BradCast' 4/25/18
Also: Mulvaney's stunning admission and Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber on Pruitt's new 'secret science' scam at EPA...
Legal Lightning Round!:
GOP Gerrymandering, Trump Travel Ban, Kobach 'Fraud', More!: 'BradCast' 4/24/18
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: FCC appointee arrested, Trump VA nom in trouble...
'Green News Report' 4/24/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Despite denials, Pruitt lobbyist met w/ EPA; Bloomberg donates to cover for Trump's Paris pact failure; Court reinstates automaker fines; PLUS: Hockey Stick graph's 20th anniversary...
Previous GNRs: 4/19/18 - 4/17/18 - Archives...
White Privileged Election Fraud, Mass Shootings, More: 'BradCast' 4/23/18
White Waffle House mass shooter peacefully apprehended, White GOP Judge in TX gets slap on the wrist for election fraud, and other recent tales of gentle accountability...
Sunday 'Consensual Collusion' Toons
Documenting the not-so-strange bedfellows of the week and much more, in PDiddie's latest weekly Sunday toon collection...
Senate GOP Twists Law to Gut Decades-Old Regs (Forever): 'BradCast' 4/20/18
Guest: James Goodwin of CPR: Also: DNC files Trump/Russia suit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
Senate Confirms Climate Science Denier as NASA Chief: 'BradCast' 4/19/18
...and many more otherworldly reminders of the importance of elections...
'Green News Report' 4/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Puerto Rico power knocked out again; Studies find Gulf Stream slowing down; New climate lawsuits for oil industry, Florida; PLUS: Earth Day 2018 focused on ending plastic pollution...
Previous GNRs: 4/17/18 - 4/12/18 - Archives...
'Dark Lord of Coal Country' Rising, GOP Panicking Before WV U.S. Senate Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/18
Guest: Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no, Mattis got Trumped, Kobach in contempt...
'Corrupt Intent': 'BradCast' 4/17/18
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller, indicting a sitting Prez; Also: Tax cut support falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
Federal watchdogs say EPA violated law for Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Hannity revealed as secret Cohen client; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons: 'One Raid Begets Another'
It didn't take long after Donald Trump's friend, business associate and personal lawyer was raided by the FBI for Trump to unleashes the missiles, as the cartoonists observe in PDiddie's latest collection...
As Trump Goes Ugly, How Dems Can 'Fight Dirty' to Win for the Country: 'BradCast' 4/13/18
Guest: Author David Faris on radically reform-ing 'long-term barriers to progressive power'...
Mattis: U.S. Lacks 'Actual Evidence' of Syrian Chemical Attack: 'BradCast' 4/12/18
Also: Clueless Trump to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair's abuse of public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell knew about warming since 1950s; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs under-mine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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...

Dan Eggen Continues His Series of Reports on Adminstration Political Appointees Overruling the Opinions of Career Voting Rights Attorneys...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2006 1:01am PT  

Last month, we reported how the George W. Bush administration has effectively gutted the beloved, 40-year old Voting Rights Act. He has done so by allowing political appointees in the Department of Justice to override the recommendations of career attorneys in the Voting Rights division who had recommended against the Georgia Photo ID Requirement Law and Tom Delay's Texas Congressional Redistricting Scheme.

In both cases, the career attorneys at DoJ had written lengthy memos opposing the new laws --- 4 out of 5 of them in the GA case, 8 out of 8 in the TX case --- only to be overruled by Bush's political cronies. Dan Eggen of The Washington Post broke both of those stories, with some exemplary reporting, after obtaining the leaked memos.

Later, the DoJ mandated that no such written opinions would be allowed in the future.

Eggen, on Page A1 of Monday's WaPo, now has more on the fallout and allegations of politics being played with the VRA within DoJ, as Bush continues to dismantle as many American Values as he can before leaving office...Here's some highlights (or lowlights, as the case may be)...

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




Reports Story of Last Month's Leon County, FL Election Results Flip and Even October's GAO Report on Lack of Security, Accuracy in Electronic Voting Machines!
Better Late Than Never!
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2006 8:39pm PT  

We're torn between complaining about Washington Post's delinquency in covering anything to do with our crumbling electoral system and jumping for joy that they've actually filed a credible report on the problems we (and many other "conspiracy theorists", "sore-losers", "tinfoil hat wearers", "anarchists" and "insurgents") have been yelling and screaming about for months --- if not years!

Given our endlessly optimistic nature, however, and the dearth of honest-to-God reporting by the Mainstream Corporate Media on these matters since...well, forever...we'll go ahead, slap a siren on this item, and focus on the "victory" side of things!

In tomorrow's paper, page A6, in a "Special to The Washington Post", Zachary Goldfarb covers the matter of last month's hack of Diebold optical scan machines in Leon County, Florida which completely flipped the results of a mock election test without a trace being left behind.

As well, for the first time, WaPo even discusses some of the findings of the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) 107-page report on the failures of electronic voting machines which was released last October!

The story cannot be good news to Diebold and the other voting machine vendors, however. They've all had it pretty easy up until now as the Mainstream Corporate Media has played into their "company line" that such concerns were the stuff of "conspiracy theorists" and "sore-losers". Goldfarb even recognizes the fact, even if he doesn't call WaPo on being one of the media outlets who have contributed to Diebold and Friends' appalling ability to marginalize Election Integrity advocates with such insultingly dismissive and democracy-loathing remarks:

Questions about the security of electronic voting machines have been circulating widely in recent years. But many of the concerns have been dismissed as the fantasies of Internet conspiracy theorists or sore-loser partisans who could not accept that their candidates simply got fewer votes. Critics have not demonstrated that any real elections have had returns altered by the manipulation of electronic voting systems.

But the questions raised by [Ion] Sancho [Election Director of Leon County, where the hack demo occured], who has held his post since 1989, show how the concerns are being taken more seriously among elections professionals.

"While electronic voting systems hold promise for improving the election process," the Government Accountability Office said in a report to Congress last year, there are still pressing concerns about "security and reliability . . . design flaws" and other issues.

Well, there it is. In plain black and white WaPo ink! Go figure!

Goldfarb goes on to make the case quite clearly concerning the Diebold hack as pulled off by Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti, including Diebold's pathetic response to it:

Using a device bought for about $200, he was able to easily alter the final vote by changing the program stored on the memory card.

"You have to admit these systems are vulnerable and act accordingly," Hursti said.
...
"More troubling than the test itself was the manner in which Diebold simply failed to respond to my concerns or the concerns of citizens who believe in American elections," he said. "I really think they're not engaged in this discussion of how to make elections safer."

He is also critical of state officials who he believes should have caught the vulnerabilities earlier. He said that vendors such as Diebold have too much influence in the administration of elections, a view that resonated with Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, the founder of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition. Sancho is "truly an advocate for voters," she said. "What he is doing in Leon County goes completely against the grain of county election commissioners elsewhere, who are allowing vendors to dictate how to run their own elections."

Well, God Bless America...Perhaps the Mainstream Corporate Media is finally paying attention! Go read the whole thing with your own eyes!

We've heard tell of another major news organization that may soon roll out legitimate coverage of these matters as well.

Can it be that we are finally not alone? Stay tuned...




As Revealed by California State Senate Hearings on Transparency in Elections
'Warts on Parade' as Voting Registrars Discuss Problems with Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and Many Other Electronic Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2006 4:40pm PT  
"Turn around and look at all the people behind you," Bowen said gesturing at a gallery full of voting activists. "These are all people who care about transparency in the elections process. It's not about me knowing or you knowing, it's about anybody else in the state of California who cares about elections to assess for themselves what's going on."
-- "Officials assess e-voting glitches: Confidence in electronic systems may be wavering" Oakland Tribune, 1/19/06

Such was the sometimes contentious, sometimes exasperating atmosphere, apparently, in Sacramento this week when State Senator Debra Bowen, transparent election champion and Democratic candidate for Secretary of State convened a hearing on the current electoral mess in the Golden State. The hearing was held by the Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee which she chairs.

County Election Registrars from all over the state were called to give a report on how things are going (not well, apparently) and Election Integrity advocates filled the gallery to witness the goings on.

There was actually quite a bit of coverage by the media, some better than others, but overall, it's nice to see an open forum for oversight and discussion of the state of democracy in this state. All the while, so much that is involved with the most fundamental element of democracy --- the vote --- has been done in secret corridors of power, darkened Boards of Election back rooms, Private Corporation board rooms, and of course, inside the uninspected, none-of-your-business software of completely untrustworthy, unaccountable electronic voting machines.

Articles hit late this week on Wednesday's hearings in the LA Times, Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Vallejo Times Herald and elsewhere. While the "facts" offered by some of the reports were at times less than accurate, we note that it's remarkable how many Journalists deign to cover such issues when they are granted "legitimacy" by an officially sanctioned Government Inquiry. (Just a thought to those of you who actually get paid for this sort of thing, from someone who doesn't...but we've long advocated Journalists cover what is newsworthy. Not only what politicians have instructed them to be newsworthy.)

Let's take a look then at some of the coverage, including our own on-the-air conversation on Friday evening with Bowen...

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




Democratic Senate Whip Says Things Seem to be Changing After Discussion With Colleagues...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2006 4:09pm PT  

Regarding my previous very strong suggestion that Democtrats fillibuster the Supreme Court confirmation of Samuel Alito, it looks like things may be changing from the conventional wisdom that he definitely would not be filibustered.

This from the Chicago Sun-Times today:

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Thursday he will vote against Judge Sam Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court. And he said so many other senators intensely oppose Alito that they may have enough votes to sustain a filibuster against the conservative jurist.
...
He didn't like what he considered Alito's vague, noncommittal answers --- during Senate hearings --- about abortion and presidential power "to eavesdrop on our phone conversations" and "to seize American citizens and to imprison them indefinitely without charge."
...
As the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, it's Durbin's job to count votes for and against Alito. He said he won't know until Tuesday if there are enough strong opponents to filibuster Alito's nomination.

"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen," Durbin said. "As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 senators ... are willing to stand and fight.

And just to short-circuited the Wingnuts when they (inevitably) trot out their misinformation concerning the Republicans approval of Ruth Bader Ginsberg during the Clinton Era...Unlike that case, Bush did not bother to get Democratic approval for Alito, the way Clinton did with Ginsberg:

Durbin took questions from law students --- many of them members of the conservative Federalist Society who support Alito and who noted his high ratings from the American Bar Association.

"What's the difference between the current situation and the [Ruth Bader] Ginsberg nomination, where, as you know, the Republicans overwhelmingly voted to confirm her, even though they didn't agree with her politically, because they knew she had the qualifications necessary?" second-year law student Jonathan Steitz asked.

"When Bill Clinton was looking to fill that vacancy, he was in dialogue with Orrin Hatch, the Republican leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee," Durbin said. "He brought him several names that Hatch rejected. He said, 'Don't send those to me --- I can't get 'em through.' And then Bill Clinton came up with the name of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And Hatch said, 'I can support her. The Republicans can support her.' A dramatic difference from where we are today."

Keep those calls, emails and faxes going folks! See comments in the previous item on this for a few phone numbers and website addresses!

Chris Bowers of MyDD.com adds these thoughts:

When I was down in DC, I heard some people optimistically argue that Republicans would not try and use the nuclear option if Democrats filibustered Alito, simply because going down that path would be extremely poor timing around the SOTU, the start of the legislative session, and the start of an election year. I have no idea if that is a likely scenario, as I also do not know if Democrats will actually be able to round up the votes on a filibuster. Clearly, however, the situation is extremely close, and the next reporter who writes or says that Alito is "likely" to be confirmed is either not paying attention, or needs to come clean about their connections to the Republican Noise Machine.

UPDATE: Here are some toll-free numbers to get through to the Senate: 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. Also, be sure to read comments in this item, for several other phone numbers and links to petition efforts, etc!

UPDATE 1/22/06: Guest Blogger Pokey Anderson builds the case for filibuster...




439 Ballots Appear Out of Nowhere during 2004 Republican Primary State Senate Recount; Incident Explodes into Bizarre Public Spectacle of Alleged Election Fraud, Failed Electronic Voting Machines and Elected State Officials All Twisting in the Wind...
What are Election Officials in Maricopa County, AZ Hiding and Why Will They Not Allow the Inspection of Ballots Stored (illegally and mysteriously) in an Unguarded, Non-Air Conditioned Cement Blockhouse Near the Airport?
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2006 10:35am PT  

Election Reform advocates have been turning out in droves at several recent public hearings in State Senates around the country. This week, official hearings were held in both California and Arizona concerning the unparralleled mess in which each state now finds itself in regards to Elections and Electronic Voting.

We'll cover the hearings in California shortly, where, as in Arizona, Election Reform advocates (read: citizens who have little to gain other than hope for the ultimate restoration of integrity to this nation's democracy) filled the galleries to capacity in order to witness the astonishing spectacle of public election officials sputtering, spewing and admitting to all in attendance that they haven't a clue how to manage the mess that is referred to as "democracy" in America.

On a side note: One can't help but wonder if we'd even be in the predicament today were it not for the complete abdication of duty by the mainstream media, who has ignored every facet of this issue beyond cursory and insulting smears dismissing such fundamental questions as little more than "conspiracy theory". There is no longer any doubt that those of us who understood the issues at stake here, long ago, were 100% right about it. As well, those who marginalized and dismissed us and the matter were 100% wrong. In the bargain, their delinquency in reporting on these matters in any substantial way has resulted in an unprecedented crisis of confidence in our democracy by the electorate. Such a crisis threatens our way of governance in ways that Osama bin Laden could never have conceived, much less found a way to cause himself.

Anyway, on to the most recent revealing and remarkable chapter in Arizona's Shameful Republican vs. Republican Primary Electoral Fraud Circus, in Maricopa County's Legislative District 20...

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




Conyers: 'There can be no doubt that today we are in a constitutional crisis'
Constitutional Attorney Jonathon Turley: 'What the President committed was a crime'; Admission to Re-Authorizing Illegal NSA taps 30 times was 'most extraordinary thing I've ever ever heard'
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2006 8:40am PT  

The Democratic led hearings on the illegal, warrantless spying of Americans on U.S. soil by the Bush Administration's NSA is currently being aired LIVE on C-SPAN 1!

Despite the House of Representatives being currently in recess, once again the Republicans have refused to give Chairman John Conyers, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and his distinguished panel, a formal hearing room. So, as with their hearings on the "Downing Street Documents" last year, they're back in the basement this morning.

RAW STORY has Conyers' opening statement.

C-SPAN's online streaming seems to be down, however, the live audio of the hearings is available via Pacifica radio.

(We'll try to update this item if possible, despite a very busy schedule this morning! Those who are listening/watching, feel free to "Live Blog" anything you like in Comments!)




Paul Craig Roberts Discusses Election 2004, 'Power-Mad Republicans' and the Dangers of their Electronic Voting Machines
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2006 8:49pm PT  

Republican and true Conservative (as opposed to today's majority of phony "conservatives"), Paul Craig Roberts, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and National Review, as well Ronald Reagan's one-time Assistant Sec. of the U.S. Treasury, discusses "Evidence of a Stolen Election" in his latest column out today.

Unlike the bulk of his media and political brethren, clearly Roberts "gets it" as he writes, in review of Mark Crispin Miller's landmark election theft tome, FOOLED AGAIN, "now that Republicans have learned that they can use the electronic machines to control election outcomes, the disenfranchisement of Democrats is likely to be a permanent feature of American 'democracy.'"

Along with an appropriate indictment of the media's overall failure to adequately investigate and report on the crumbling of the most essential, very core of our democracy, ("a free press has proven to be inconsistent with the recently permitted highly concentrated corporate ownership of the US media," says Roberts) he pens the obvious point which the rest of the media, and America along with them, just can't bring themselves to admit outloud:

The outcome of the 2004 presidential election has always struck me as strange. Although Kerry was a poor candidate and evaded the issue most on the public's mind, by November of 2004 a majority of Americans were aware that Bush had led the country into a gratuitous war on the basis either of incompetence or deception. By November 2004 it was completely clear that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and that Bush had rushed to war. People were concerned by the changing rationales that Bush was offering for going to war. Moreover, the needless war was going badly and the results bore no relationship to the rosy scenario painted at the time of the invasion. It seems contrary to American common sense for voters to have reelected a president who had failed in such a dramatic way.

It does, indeed.

And, in closing, he hits the ball way over the fence:

If electronic voting machines programmed by private Republican firms remain in our future, dissent will become pointless unless it boils over into revolution. Power-mad Republicans need to consider the result when democracy loses its legitimacy and only the rich have anything to lose.

Homerun, Mr. Roberts.




Grow a Spine Dems, The Time for Playing it Safe is Over!
(And, by the way, it's been over for a very long time!)
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2006 5:26pm PT  

Arianna is right. If the Dems tap someone like Virginia's newly elected Gov. Kaine to respond to Bush's State of the Union Address --- simply because he was able to win in a supposed "Red State" and sounds a helluva like Bush on the Iraq War --- instead of someone who represents the mainstream views of America like Rep. John Murtha, then they deserve every just dessert that will come to them.

The same is true in regard to any Senate Dem who refuses to filibuster Alito. They will have lost his/her right to be supported by anybody in this country. An illegitmate Presidency only lasts eight years (maximum). The Supreme Court is for a life time.

If Alito is worth voting against for confirmation (and he is), then he is worth doing everything in ones power to keep off of the Supreme Court. To that end, anything short of a filibuster to keep someone like Alito, nominated by a criminal like Bush --- who has lost all credibility, every "benefit of the doubt", along with a supposed "right" to appoint anybody to the Highest Court in our land --- is spineless, pathetic, fruitlessly pandering, and ultimately providing of a perfectly justifiable reason for any voter to refuse to support any such Dem ever again.

If Dems would begin Impeachment Hearings on George W. Bush immediately, if only they had the numbers in Congress to do so, then why, in the wildest stretches of anyone's imagination, would they defer to him the singular power to shift the balance of the court for decades beyond his shameful, criminal, and illegitimate reign?

There are many reasons to filibuster Alito. No matter what the Conservative Media tells you repeatedly. Those are the same folks, after all, who also told you that "John Kerry would be much tougher than Dean to defeat as a Presidential Nominee." And you believed them. While there are few reasons not to fillibuster Alito, aside from what those very same Wingnuts have hypnotized you Dems (again) into believing.

For the moment, however, I'll point to just one reason, as described in this study of Alito's prevarications about and claims of "Unitary Powers of the Executive" as compiled by the good folks of the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition. They, correctly, conclude thusly:

Further, many clouds currently surround President Bush and the Executive Branch relating to the legal and constitutional authority by which they claim to have for several questionable actions and policies. The Oregon VRC therefore questions the wisdom of the U.S. Senate considering any candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court nominated by President Bush at this time. We insist, as the Senate Judiciary Committee's (Republican) Chair originally suggested, that the confirmation process of a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court be deferred until a criminal investigation is completed on President Bush. Only if and when the President is cleared of any and all criminal actions can the people feel confident in his choice(s) for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Amen.

I've been out of town for a bit, and on and off line in the bargain, so haven't compiled an authoritative list of actions for folks to take if they agree that Dems should filibuster Alito. Come what may. So I'll leave it to folks in comments here to offer links to email petitions, phone numbers, and other such campaigns to help get the message to Senate Dems that the time for "playing it safe" is over. The time for stepping up courageously to do the right thing for this country...for our country --- fallaciously perceived political costs be damned --- is now here.

Do it Dems, and you will deserve every kudos. Do not, and you deserve every bit of disdain that will come your way from those who might have otherwise supported you to the ends of the earth. Either way, I promise, you will receive very same the slings and arrows from the Right. That's what they do for a living. But if you attempt to pander to the non-existant "middle" yet again --- as the Wingnuts have tricked you into believing actually exists --- I hope you'll not wonder why your base may justifiably turn their backs on you when you may need them most.

Fool you a dozen or so times...shame on you.

UPDATE 1/20/06: Dick Durbin says 'Filibuster now possible'! Details here...

UPDATE 1/22/06: Guest Blogger Pokey Anderson builds the case for filibuster...




May He Finally Rest in Peace.
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2006 11:22am PT  

Yesterday, I wrote about the suicide of Specialist Douglas Barber, an Iraq War vet who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon returning home from fighting on behalf of this country. A man who put his life on the line for this country, but who was unable to receive adequate help from the Veteran's Administration as run (and facing deep cutbacks) by George W. "Support the Troops" Bush.

Here is an email posted on SCOOP, from Barber, as written in January of 2005.

He had a difficult time getting people to listen to him while he was alive. Perhaps some of us can try to listen to him now that he's dead, so that perhaps his death will not be in vain.

In his email, Barber describes what many families go through when they witness their sons and daughters coming home in flag-draped coffins, hidden from view by the Bush Administration. And, even more telling in this case, some of the horrors veterans suffering from PTSD face once back on the homefront. Here's a few grafs...

All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.

We come home from war trying to put our lives back together but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.
...
Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt, dependence, loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

See his full post for some of the specific personal issues that Barber faced as he wrestled with his PTSD demons.

But then, he goes on to finish with some words for all of the Wingnuts out there who make this sort of disaster possible. Those who, from the comfort of their million dollar homes and multi-million media contracts, distort the cost of this war to sell it as "a noble cause," as if it's a Made-in-America product we can all be proud of and ought to promote to every corner of the earth. Those who bang on a political drum to give the death and destruction of others a "positive" spin for their own personal benefit. Those who gain from the nameless, faceless deaths of real heroes who --- unlike the media-politico scoundrels --- will never benefit by having their contracts renewed, their books promoted to the Best-Seller lists, or see offers for multi-thousand dollar speaking fees. Those who haven't the first clue of what heroes like Barber faced in order to make the lives of such Chickenhawks so cozy and swell. Those like Rush and Sean and O'Reilly who, in Barber's own words are "nothing but dirt under every soldier's boots!"

All of that, even as Barber's death, along with countless others, won't even rate to make the Pentagon's ever-growing list of U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even seem themselves added to the scores of thousands listed on the Injured Lists.

I'll let Barber finish out this post...

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any credence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.

I ask every American who reads this e-mail to stand up for the soldier who has given their everything for this country to stand up to these guys in the media; ask them why they don't pick up a weapon and follow in the steps of a soldier. Send this e-mail to as many people on your e-mail lists and ask them to do the same.

There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.

THIS IS A PERSONAL CHALLENGE TO BILL,SEAN AND RUSH TO HAVE ME ON YOUR PROGRAM TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. Otherwise you are nothing but dirt under every soldier's boots!

SPC. Douglas Barber

(Please consider supporting Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), formerly OpTruth.org --- Unlike Rush and Sean and O'Reilly, these guys were actually there...and they actually give a damn.)




Says Bush AG's Reply to Speech Underscores Need for Special Counsel, Rather Than 'Political Response' by DoJ
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2006 3:21pm PT  

RAW STORY has an early release of Gore's full statement replying to the attempted obfuscation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in reply to Gore's speech yesterday.

Letting you know here, since the Mainstream Media will likely ignore it --- as they did with Gore's speech yesterday. Or misrepresent it and twist its facts. As they did with Gore's speech yesterday.

I'll leave others to embarass the Trolls when they try to retread the Gorelick "Blackbag" physical search nonsense (not covered by FISA!) here in comments. I'm taking a few hours off...




May America 'Never Forget' What Has Gone on Here...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2006 2:34pm PT  

I'm on the road for a few days, currently near Palm Springs (or, as I like to call it, the Hollywood Old Folks Home), so unable to blog as around-the-clock as normal. But a couple of points today have really got me upset.

One is the spin-meister Bill O'Reilly's unpardonable apologies for the criminal George W. Bush administration. His remarkable rationalizations and attempts to excuse what noted constitutional attorney Jonathon Turley just called "an open and shut criminal case" against Bush (at the bottom of the first hour of O'Reilly's radio show today), are simply appalling.

O'Reilly's reasons why none of these broken rules of law or corruption of the U.S. Constitution rises to impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors? Because the American people don't support the impeachment of Bush. (Never mind the new Zogby poll showing that 52% of Americans would support such action for illegal, warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens. And never mind that no more than 30% of Americans ever supported the impeachment of Clinton!). But more on that, hopefully, later or tomorrow as my stomach, and time-away allows it.

For the moment however, a very disturbing story...just another one of far too many similar ones, I'm afraid...pointing up why this son-of-a-bitch who sits in the White House needs to be held accountable for the horrific actions of which I don't believe he actually has a clue. Or, at least, has insulated and lied to himself so much, that he can't even conceive anymore of the pain he has caused the citizenry of this country which he once swore to protect and defend. That, on top of the cynical claims of looking after the armed forces which he (fallaciously) claims at every opportunity to support.

I received some very disturbing email messages this morning, which have, by now, become all too familiar...

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




FBI Whistleblower on Necessity of Protections for Government 'Truth-Tellers'
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2006 12:11pm PT  

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a statement from "Gag Ordered" FBI Whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds, Founder and Director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coaltion, in response to Al Gore's just completed speech earlier today in Washington D.C.

Gore's address, sponsored by a bi-partisan coalition, warned that our "constitution is in grave danger" and called for, amongst many other things (highlights of speech here), the creation of new Whistleblower Protections for members of the Executive Branch and others.

Edmonds, due to a rarely invoked "State Secrets" privilege by the Dept. of Justice, is legally barred from discussing remarkable and troubling findings she made as an FBI translator after 9/11, in regard to a number of explosive matters of national security.

She emailed the following statement to The BRAD BLOG moments ago:

The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition applauds Mr. Gore for his nonpartisan speech which very eloquently and sincerely expresses our core American values based on the notions of liberty and justice.

As stated by Mr. Gore, without whistleblowers the public would never know of the many abuses of constitutional rights by the government. Whistleblowers, Truth-Tellers, are responsible for the disclosure that President George W. Bush ordered unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. These constitutional lifeguards take their patriotic oaths to heart and soul: Rather than complying with classification and secrecy orders designed to protect officials engaging in criminal conduct, whistleblowers choose to risk their livelihoods and the wrath of their agencies to get the truth out.

We applaud the call by Liberty Coalition & Al Gore for congress to enact new legislation that would provide meaningful whistleblower protections, especially for those patriots who report abuses of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security. Hundreds of national security whistleblowers, patriotic government employees, have brought to the public's attention cases of agency wrongdoing only to find themselves fired, stripped of their security clearance, and/or deprived of meaningful work, simply because they were courageous and patriotic enough to place the security of our nation above their own career security and interests.

Why should government employees have to choose between their livelihood and career, and fulfilling their highest duty of all: protecting the public's interest?

The answer is very simple, because our legislative branch has failed to provide these patriots with any protection.

Whistleblowers have served as a constant and valuable check on the federal government. Considering the fact that to perform its legislative & oversight functions, congress must depend on information from the executive branch, why is it that the congress refuses to provide a safe & protected channel to those who can provide the congress with information, thus enable it to exercise its oversight responsibility?

In a Guest Blog of her own here at BRAD BLOG in late December, Edmonds called for whistleblowers from within various national security agencies to step forward and reveal illegal activities by the agencies, as a "patriotic duty" to the country.

Several days later, NSA whistleblower, Russell Tice, revealed to ABC News that he was one of the New York Times' sources who had provided the paper with information concerning the alleged illegal, warrantless wire-tapping of U.S. citizens in apparent violation of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act of 1978. Tice is also a member of Edmonds' National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.




And Other Hightlights from an Extraordinary Speech to a Bi-Partisan Audience...
Calls for Special Counsel, Exec Branch Whistleblower Protection, Comprehensive Congressional Hearings to Immediately Investigate Constitutional Crimes by the Executive Branch...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2006 9:52am PT  

Al Gore's speech, to a bi-partisan audience, on our "Constitutional Crisis" has just concluded. UPDATE: We've posted extended video highlights from the speech here...

Gore was to have been introduced by former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA), but Barr's live video feed broke down at the last moment. We are told by the Liberty Coalition's Michael Ostrolenk (who jumped up to introduce Gore in an improvised statement), that Barr will be appearing on CNN's Situation Room later this afternoon.

An early highlight from Gore's address: "The President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently."

MORE HIGHLIGHTS...

A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law.
...
The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real...Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable.
...
It is this same disrespect for America's Constitution which has now brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution. And the disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the Constitution that is deeply troubling to millions of Americans in both political parties.
...
This shameful exercise of power overturns a set of principles that our nation has observed since General Washington first enunciated them during our Revolutionary War and has been observed by every president since then - until now.
...
But the most serious damage has been done to the legislative branch. The sharp decline of congressional power and autonomy in recent years has been almost as shocking as the efforts by the Executive Branch to attain a massive expansion of its power.
...
The Congress we have today is unrecognizable compared to the one in which my father served. There are many distinguished Senators and Congressmen serving today. I am honored that some of them are here in this hall. But the legislative branch of government under its current leadership now operates as if it is entirely subservient to the Executive Branch.
...
In the 70's and 80's, the oversight hearings in which my colleagues and I participated held the feet of the Executive Branch to the fire - no matter which party was in power. Yet oversight is almost unknown in the Congress today.
...
It is the pitiful state of our legislative branch which primarily explains the failure of our vaunted checks and balances to prevent the dangerous overreach by our Executive Branch which now threatens a radical transformation of the American system.

I call upon Democratic and Republican members of Congress today to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution. Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you're supposed to be. [standing ovation received after this section]
...
Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women."

The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law.

I endorse the words of Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will."

A special counsel should immediately be appointed by the Attorney General to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the President.
...
new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing --- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.

Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive-and not just superficial-hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.
...
As I stand here today, I am filled with optimism that America is on the eve of a golden age in which the vitality of our democracy will be re-established and will flourish more vibrantly than ever. Indeed I can feel it in this hall.

As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

Much more in the extraordinary full speech, for which RAW STORY now has the complete prepared text.

UPDATE: FBI Whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds issues an exclusive statement to BRAD BLOG in reply to Gore's speech...

Crooks and Liars has video highlights.




52% Agree Congress Should Consider Holding Bush Accountable
Support to Impeachment Bush FAR Stronger than Support for Impeaching Clinton, Poll Finds!
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2006 12:42pm PT  

A new Zogby Poll, just announced, to be officially release tomorrow shows that a majority of Americans would support Congressional consideration of the impeachment of George W. Bush if, in fact, he wiretapped U.S. citizens without obtaining a legal warrant to do so!

By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge's approval, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,216 U.S. adults from January 9-12.

The poll found that 52% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."
...
Impeachment Supported by Majorities of Many Groups

Responses to the Zogby poll varied by political party affiliation: 66% of Democrats favored impeachment, as did 59% of Independents, and even 23% of Republicans. By ideology, impeachment was supported by Progressives (90%), Libertarians (71%), Liberals (65%), and Moderates (58%), but not by Conservatives (33%) or Very Conservatives (28%).
...
Support for Clinton Impeachment Was Much Lower

In August and September of 1998, 16 major polls asked about impeaching President Clinton (http://democrats.com/clinton-impeachment-polls). Only 36% supported hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26% supported actual impeachment and removal. Even so, the impeachment debate dominated the news for months, and the Republican Congress impeached Clinton despite overwhelming public opposition.

Earlier today, we posted a video of Arlen Specter, of the Senate Judiciary Committee, admitting on ABC's This Week that "impeachment" was one of the first remedies for the illegal wiretapping by a President of U.S. Citizens.




Ultra-Conservative Bob Barr to Introduce at DC Event Co-Sponsored by Conservative Organization
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2006 2:36pm PT  

John Nichols over at The Nation seems to have what appears to be some good inside skinny on Al Gore's speech in DC on Monday. Here's a small taste...

In a major address slated for delivery Monday in Washington, the former Vice President is expected to argue that the Bush administration has created a "Constitutional crisis" by acting without the authorization of the Congress and the courts to spy on Americans and otherwise abuse basic liberties.

Aides who are familiar with the preparations for the address say that Gore will frame his remarks in Constitutional language.
...
Indeed, his aides and allies are framing it as a "call to arms" in defense of the Bill of Rights and the rule of law in a time of executive excess.

The vice president will, according to the groups that have arranged for his appearance --- the bipartisan Liberty Coalition and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy --- address "the threat posed by policies of the Bush Administration to the Constitution and the checks and balances it created.
...
Former U.S. Representative Bob Barr, the Georgia Republican who served as one of the most conservative members of the House, plans to introduce Gore. Barr, an outspoken critic of the abuses of civil liberties contained in the USA Patriot Act critic who has devoted his post-Congressional years to defending the Bill of Rights, refers to the president's secret authorization of domestic wiretapping as "an egregious violation of the electronic surveillance laws."

With Barr on board, and the event being co-sponsored by the Liberty Coalition, it's gonna be a helluva lot harder for the wingnuts to try and discredit Gore here. Though, no doubt, they're busy this weekend plotting exactly how they hope to do so.




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