I grew up in St. Louis County. This is not the town I grew up in...
I am embarrassed for St. Louis. For all of Missouri, in fact.
w/ Brad & Desi
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...|
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.
While Congressional Republicans are busy filing a lawsuit against President Obama, in a purported attempt to bring accountability for...failing to enforce the law...or something, Republican Commissioners on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid enforcing the law.
In the bargain, its GOP Commissioners are railing against their fellow Democratic Commissioners for attempting to bring accountability for actual violations of federal campaign finance law, turning the facts of the case on its head, and publicly attacking their colleagues as "strident" obstructionists, eschewing the rule of law.
Yes, it's another breathtakingly twisted chapter from the unending Partisan Wars of 2014, although a rather important one with potentially far reaching consequences for the nation, as those paying attention might notice --- though few seem to be...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
Please. NBC. Please put David Gregory and Meet the Press out of our misery. Pretty please? Would it help if I released a wholly unverified video claiming that Hamas was firing rockets towards Israel out of 30 Rock?
Last Thursday, as we noted at the time, Israel had reportedly bombed a U.N. shelter at a U.N. school compound, "designated as a haven for the displaced", according to AP. The attack on the shelter in northern Gaza was said to have killed at least 15 and injured scores more, many of them children. Israel had claimed, at the time, that they had sent a warning the night before so, presumably, it's all cool and totally the Red Cross' or Hamas' or the children's own fault for having been killed or injured in Israel's mortar attack. Had they only re-located to a safer place --- like, say, a U.N. shelter?! --- none of it would have happened.
Israel claimed at the time that the school compound in question had been used by Hamas as a base for firing rockets at Israel.
On Sunday, Israel released a grainy video purporting to show rockets being fired from the compound. Minutes after they had posted it to YouTube --- and just after his interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu --- David Gregory of NBC's Meet the Press confronted U.N. Relief & Works Agency spokesperson Chris Gunness about the video --- which the U.N. spokesman could not see from his satellite location in Tel Aviv.
"The Israeli government has released videotape within the past hour, it was posted on YouTube, NBC News hasn't independently verified," Gregory explained to Gunness. "The Israelis say --- and I realize that you cannot see this video, our audience can, and I'm going to describe it to you --- that purports to show rockets being fired from a UN school."
"Is this accurate?" Gregory asked. "Could this be happening without the UN's knowledge, that would only bolster the Prime Minister's point that, in fact, Hamas is using civilians, using the United Nations even in a kind of propaganda war?"...
Well, this should bring peace to the region:
At least 15 people were killed and scores hurt when a school compound in Beit Hanoun, designated as a haven for the displaced, was bombarded by Israeli forces amid heavy fighting with Palestinian militants, a Gaza health official said.
Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N. Refugee and Works Agency, or UNRWA, tweeted that the precise coordinates of the shelter had been relayed to Israeli forces.
Israel's Defense Forces issued a statement Thursday saying that they had ordered the Red Cross to evacuate civilians from the shelter in Belt Hanoun late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
"Evacuate" them to where exactly? A U.N. shelter or something?
The L.A. Times goes on to report that, "According to the IDF, Hamas militants prevented civilians from evacuating and continued firing rockets from the area around the shelter."
Who knows if that's true or not. Either way, of course, as "the Palestinian death toll in Gaza surpassed 720 in overnight and early-morning bombardment," it's clear that Israel's strategy of bombing children in U.N. shelters, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the Israeli people. What could possibly go wrong?
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