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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 25, 2014
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it (please?)...
Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Veterans' Affairs ID can be used to vote under new GOP voting restrictions in TX. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(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...

After a year unplugged, the great climate blogger returns with a few words of wisdom that may be useful for all of us...
By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2014 12:09pm PT  

Just over one year ago, the great climate blogger David Roberts of Grist (we fondly call him "Dr. Grist" around here, as based on his Twitter name: @DRGrist) announced he was unplugging entirely from the Internet for a year.

"I am burnt the fuck out," he lamented at the time. "I spend each day responding to an incoming torrent of tweets and emails. I file, I bookmark, I link, I forward, I snark and snark and snark. All day long. Then, at night, after my family's gone to bed and the torrent has finally slowed to a trickle and I can think for more than 30 seconds at a stretch, I try to write longer, more considered pieces."

"It's doing things to my brain," he explained. "I've gotten to the point where I'm irritated and impatient with pretty much everything everybody says about anything. And I feel bad about that."

I know the feeling --- including the part about "tweeting in the bathroom".

And with that, a few other related thoughts and explanations of what he'd hoped --- or guessed --- he might do over the next year in his "Goodbye for Now" explanation piece, he promised he'd return a year later, after Labor Day 2014, with a hopefully healed brain and a re-invigorated sense of purpose.

"I'll let you know in a year how it went," he promised at the time. And then he was gone and on his well-deserved, if virtually unheard of, year-long unpaid sabbatical that I've been quietly envious of, on a very regular basis, ever since. If I could figure out how to afford the same, I'd do it. If I could figure out how to afford it for even a month --- hell, I'd take seven uninterrupted days in a row --- I'd do it. I need it.

The very technological innovations that were supposed to have made all of our lives better --- and, still, arguably do --- may also be slowly killing us all and rotting our souls at the same time.

In any event, today, as promised, David Roberts is back on the Internets. Just reading about what he's learned over his year of digital detox, as published today by Outside Magazine, helps calm my own brain and slow my own heart-rate...a bit. It may very well do the same for you.

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Having 'lost' the 'debate' on science, now he just doesn't care about global warming anymore and is taking his ball and going home...
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2014 3:05pm PT  

Wingnut Erick Erickson is on the verge of toppling the proverbial chess board entirely as, once again, he finds himself on the losing side of both the factual and political game when it comes to the "debate" about global warming.

In a rant this week headlined "I Simply Do Not Care About Global Warming", Erickson, who has a long petulantly violent history of not only being obnoxious and offensive, but of being wrong on just about everything, writes that even if climate change is killing us (which, he wants you to know, it couldn't possibly be) he just doesn't care. It's just too late or too difficult or too expensive to do anything about it.

Seth D. Michaels at TPM accurately describes the tantrum as "somewhere on the fine line between 'putting his foot down' and 'stomping his feet.'"

The reason for Erickson's latest embarrassing bluster is that the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is about to release yet another well-sourced, meticulously researched, stark assessment report on the deadly effects of global warming, warning once again that while it's still not too late to take action to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the window of opportunity to do so is quickly closing. The new report is described in this AP story about a leaked draft.

"It's easy to overstate Erickson's importance (he's perfectly capable of doing that on his own) but his climate tantrum shows a lot about the psychology of climate change denial," writes Michaels. True. And it's particularly useful as a barometer to help us understand where the bleeding edge of the mainstream, right-wing, dead-ender denialist movement finds itself now, as breathing room becomes harder and harder to gasp for, and mountains of science about the deadly effects of carbon pollution continue to suck the oxygen out of the fossil fuel-funded propaganda machine.

As a "thought leader" on the Right, Erickson is at the forefront of the clown show that has either bought into, or knowingly lies about, the ridiculous notion, put forth by a tiny handful of fossil fuel industry profiteers, that taking action to mitigate the man-made climate change crisis will lead to nothing less than total destruction of the global economy.

"If they are right and the world is warming, there is nothing we can do short of economic Armageddon to stop it," blathers Erickson, either deceptively or ignorantly (take your pick).

"We should not now tell [third world countries] they have to turn off their electricity and never improve their existence because of global warming," he responds to an argument that absolutely nobody is actually making. "Likewise, we should not need to shut off our power grids or stop harnessing the power of the natural world, including fossil fuels. Adapt. The amount of money we would have to spend, if they are right, to stop the inevitable is obscene and better spent adapting us to changing times."

In the meantime, actual grown-ups, even from the pinnacles of capitalism, such as UBS, the largest private bank in the world, are letting investors know that increasingly abundant renewable energy presents a fantastic economic growth opportunity. And academics, like those at MIT, are detailing how cutting deadly carbon emissions actually pays for itself, "in some cases, more than 10 times the cost of policy implementation." But, of course, Erickson is too willfully ignorant --- or just ignorant --- to bother educating himself about those things when he's got a long-held ideological policy position to protect and defend at all costs.

"I think many of those involved in the science of global warming oppose capitalism in general and the United States in particular," Erickson writes in the very same week the two reports cited above came out. "I think they are manufacturing a panic and their solutions are designed to hinder economic progress." Whadda jackass...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2014 11:44am PT  

This is heartbreaking. A 20-year old gay college student from Kennesaw, Georgia is confronted, assaulted and disowned by his own twisted, confused, cruel family, as captured on video...

The video went viral after it was published by Dan Savage on Wednesday.

Despite the incredibly disturbing video, in which Daniel Ashley Pierce's father, stepmother, mother and grandparents confront him --- at times violently --- to go get therapy so he'll stop being gay, or else move out of the house, there is a "happy" ending here, of a sort.

Pierce's boyfriend set up a Go Fund Me site for him yesterday to raise $2,000 for him to live on, after being kicked out of the house and trying to find a new place to live.

By this morning, the video has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times, and the Go Fund Me site, which Pierce said he didn't even know had been created, has raised some $66,500 for him. Thirty minutes ago he posted this updated note to supporters there:

WOW!! I am so blessed by all of this! I want to give everyone of y'all a hug! I am without words right now! THANK YOU THANK YOU! I will be using a portion of this money to help others in the same situation! I want to make a difference and if I can save one kid the hurt and abuse that I went through I will be happy!! Each and everyone of y'all have made a huge impact on my life and I am feeling the love!! The kind words are helping me move on :-)

As clueless, sad, twisted folks like Pierce's family members wanted Daniel to seek (cruel and discredited) "Pray the Gay Away" therapy, perhaps it's time someone sets up a "Pray the Hate Away" movement. We could really use one right about now.

[Hat-tip RAW STORY...]

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GUEST: Charlie Grapski of PhotographyIsNotACrime.com...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2014 9:22pm PT  

Earlier this week I wrote about Charlie Grapski's attempt to get at the Ferguson and St. Louis County Police Department's documentation on Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown via a long string of public records requests under the Missouri Sunshine Act law.

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I spoke with Grapski, who heads up PhotographyIsNotACrime.com's new Opens Records Project, concerning his tireless efforts to obtain the real Incident Report and other documentation of Brown's shooting from either department --- if such documentation actually exists, as is required by law.

Grapski explains that, based on some pretty solid evidence he's received in response to his open records requests to date, he believes "it's more likely than not" that an actual Incident Report of the event was created by the police, but that "they have withheld it." If so, that would amount to a criminal cover-up and a very serious violation of the law. Listen to my full conversation with him for much more.

Also this week, an update to our interview last week with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) regarding his legislation to demilitarize the police: The President has announced a task force to review the Pentagon's 1033 program that has transferred billions in surplus arms and other military equipment to local police around the nation. We also covered the latest maddening news in the story of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller --- who presided over the trial political prosecution of former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) --- as the George W. Bush lifetime appointee to the federal bench attempts to avoid his own prosecution all together after having been recently arrested on charges of beating his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room.

Plus: The latest on the GOP's Photo ID voting battle in WI; Rick Perry's latest "oops"; the newly published, secretly-recorded audio tapes revealing, once again, how the Republicans and the Koch Brothers now have a death-grip on democracy; and, as usual, the latest Green News Report with the lovely Desi Doyen, and a few other things.

Lots of news, muck-raking and trouble-making in just under 58 minutes. Please enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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If Officer Darren Wilson did nothing inappropriate in gunning down Michael Brown, why the after-the-fact cover-up of the details?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2014 12:28pm PT  

As noted previously, I am originally from (and embarrassed for) St. Louis County, MO. Recently, I spoke to a family member for the first time since the mess blew up in Ferguson, and she told me that, while troubled by it, she was willing to "wait until all the information came out" before passing judgment one way or another.

But, as I explained, there is no need to wait. Judgment may already be passed. No matter we may later learn, the police in Ferguson and St. Louis County broke the law and violated their own written policies by not detailing what happened in an Incident Report after Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson gunned down Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, in the middle of the street more than two weeks ago.

That, pretty much, tells you all you need to know in order to pass judgment. Whatever happened during that tragic afternoon, the local police immediately began either covering it up or lying about it. How else to explain the lack of an Incident Report, which must be filed after any such incident?

After the shooting, many wondered why the police hadn't released their Incident Report of the event to the public. After all, they released a full report, and surveillance video, from a convenience store incident where they allege Brown had shoplifted some cigars just minutes prior to his killing. So, where was the Incident Report describing the matter in which Wilson shot Brown dead just minutes later during an unrelated confrontation on the street? We now know there was no such report, at least according to the documents finally released by the police themselves. The laughably terse "Incident Report" eventually released by the St. Louis County Police (the Ferguson Police never released one of their own), includes little more than a date and an address where the shooting occurred, but no other information about what actually happened.

Moreover, dates on the few documents released make it fairly plain that the Incident Report released to the public, bereft of actual information about the, ya know, incident, was filed some two weeks after the actual killing.

In a long, detailed and meticulously-documented post at PhotographyIsNotACrime.com (PINAC) on Monday, Charlie Grapski outlines a string of public records requests he filed with Ferguson and St. Louis County police in an attempt to get at the Incident Report (and other documents) related to Brown's shooting.

The upshot: there were no contemporaneous reports of the incident at best, or, more nefariously, there was an Incident Report, but the local police have since destroyed it, or are otherwise covering the entire affair up by not releasing it to the public and lying about it...

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

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Unspecified 'treatment program' may allow U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller to skip prosecution, according to his attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2014 7:05am PT  

Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman is currently serving a 6.5 year sentence in a federal prison for something that he did not personally profit from, did not know was a crime, and that 113 bi-partisan former state Attorneys General agree had never been a crime before Siegelman was convicted of it.

That's all thanks to a political prosecution orchestrated by Karl Rove, a corrupt federal prosecutor, the corrupt federal prosecutor's husband (who happened to be the Campaign Manager of Siegelman's political opponent) and others, most of whom were close friends and/or clients of Rove.

One of them, Mark Fuller, the Republican federal U.S. District Court judge who sentenced Siegelman to those years in federal prison, refused to recuse himself from the case, despite having a very clear conflict of interest and very specific grudge against Siegelman.

Two weeks ago, Judge Fuller was arrested for beating his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel. (You can read all of the, literally, bloody details from the police report, as covered them at the time, at that link.)

This week, as it turns out, Fuller may have figured out how to not only avoid any prison time at all, but he may be able to even avoid prosecution entirely...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2014 7:17pm PT  

Toons continues below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2014 2:34pm PT  

In response to concerns about the militarization of local police, which America has seen on shameful display in Ferguson, MO following the police killing of Michael Brown, President Obama indicated during a presser last Monday that there could be some change coming.

"There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those line blurred," he said about the horses which long ago left the barn. "That would be contrary to our traditions."

He added: "I think that there will be some bi-partisan interest in re-examining some of those programs."

On Saturday, Obama announced an official review of the Pentagon's "1033 Program" which, since 1990, has transferred, for free, some $4 billion worth of surplus military equipment, such as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, armored Humvees, high-caliber weapons, aircraft, armed drones and silencers, to local law enforcement agencies around the country. As CNN has just reported:

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of programs allowing for state and local enforcement to buy military equipment, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The decision follows public criticism of the use of such assets recently in Ferguson, Missouri.

The review will touch on several points, including

-- Whether such programs and funding are appropriate;

-- Whether state and local enforcement agencies have the necessary training and guidance after getting such equipment;

-- Whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.

White House staff --- including members of the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget --- will lead the review in coordination with Congress, according to the official.

Reuters adds that "relevant U.S. agencies including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury," will also participate in the review.

Last week, we reported on the small, but seemingly growing bi-partisan support for re-thinking the federal militarization of local law enforcement agencies. The rightwing New American, citing some of our coverage, has more on the bi-partisan calls for reform, noting that the "SWAT Lobby" (yes, apparently there's a "SWAT Lobby") is now working to defend the program.

On this week's BradCast we interviewed Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a proponent of blocking the transfer of this kind of militarized equipment and for including accountability measures for the billions of dollars worth of equipment which has already been given to local agencies.

"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told us during the interview on KPFK/Pacifica Radio. "We've been flooding the streets with this surplus military weaponry, and I think the situation in Ferguson exemplifies what happens when you have too much powerful equipment in the hands of folks who don't have the judgment or the training to utilize it properly." (Full interview here.)

The latest version of Johnson's "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] is here. The Congressman had begun work on the legislation long before Ferguson erupted, but is finally receiving recognition for that effort. Now, it seems, he and other proponents may have some support from the White House. But, we'll see. These "reviews" have a way of disappearing into the ether. Legislation like Johnson's, on the other hand, is what is needed to really make a difference in this shameful practice, which has, in truth, become little more than a way around the long-standing Posse Comitatus Act (1878) which expressly limited the use of federal military personnel to enforce local and state laws.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2014 3:14pm PT  

Speaking of folks who think they are running for President, 2012 Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan is now on a book tour in Florida getting to know the voters there and how much they enjoy the repeated budgets he's written and passed in the U.S. House that would slash trillions from social safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Here's Ryan's thoughtful response, as seen in video captured today by the progressive advocacy group Americans United for Change, to one voter in Pensacola, who wanted to ask the GOP Congressman and 2016 hopeful about those cuts...

Helluva guy.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2014 2:47pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon, with a much better headline than mine...]

Speaking to business leaders in New Hampshire on Friday, where Texas' Republican Gov. Rick Perry believes he's running for President in 2016, he was asked about the two count felony indictment filed by a grand jury against him last week:

Perry was a little unclear when explaining what felony charges were issued against him.

"I've been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really understand the details here," Perry said of the grand jury that indicted him.

A grand jury indicted Perry last week on two felony counts - abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official - over a 2013 veto threat.

It's really not that complicated. The indictment was only two pages, and it's posted below. I'm not an attorney, and I couldn't tell you how strong the case against him is at this point. Some legal experts describe it as weak at best or otherwise questionably Constitutional, even as local TX reporters in paper after paper insist the charges are far more serious than how they are being portrayed by national media. But, without going into the specifics of the case, for now, even I can read a two-page indictment and see that it has nothing to do with "bribery".

Surely Perry knows that, even as he's pleaded "not guilty" to both counts, and has vehemently described the abuse of power charges filed by the grand jury under the auspices of a Republican judge and a special prosecutor who served under President George H.W. Bush, as a Democratic political hit job and an abuse of power in and of itself. (Apparently, he's going with the "I know you are, but what am I?!" defense there.)

So I wouldn't necessarily call Perry's comments in NH just another one of his "oops" moments, but it's certainly bizarre and, I guess, some kind of strategy to somehow belittle the serious charges against him in some way. 'They are so inconsequential and silly I couldn't even be bothered to tell all ya'll what they're about. Bribery? Assault? Murder? Who knows?! By the way, vote for me for President of the United States if ya'll don't mind!'

My prediction: Ricky Perry, if he stays out of jail, will be exactly as crappy of a GOP candidate for President in 2016 as he was in 2012 --- even though he now wears glasses most of the time.

The easy to read, two-page, two-count grand jury felony indictment filed against Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) on 8/15/2014 follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2014 11:09pm PT  

I was joined on this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), to discuss his "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] which he plans to introduce when the U.S. House returns from their endless recess in September.

He's been at work on the bill long before the local "RoboCops" hit the streets when Ferguson, Missouri blew up recently after the police killing of Michael Brown. As Johnson described the legislation in his March 2014 USA Today op-ed, presciently headlined "Small town American shouldn't resemble a war zone", the bill would "ban MRAPs, other armored personnel carriers, drones, assault weapons and aircraft" from being transferred to local police departments under the Pentagon's "1033 Program" and "ensure that the Department of Defense undertakes an annual accounting of what's been transferred, by whom and to whom to prevent military items from being auctioned on eBay or sold to friends."

"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told me during our interview today. "We've been flooding the streets with this surplus military weaponry, and I think the situation in Ferguson exemplifies what happens when you have too much powerful equipment in the hands of folks who don't have the judgment or the training to utilize it properly."

But has the horse already left the barn on this issue? And does the Congressman stand a chance of getting his bill through our broken U.S. Congress, even with some apparent bi-partisan support for curbing police militarization from folks like Republican 2016 Presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, who recently called for the same in a Time magazine op-ed? You'll have to listen below to hear Johnson's thoughts on those questions.

After the Congressman left, I discussed a few other related items, such as the voter registration drive now taking place in Ferguson, and took a bunch of calls on all of the above, including at least one amazing one, in which the caller named "Al" insisted that "minorities are in worse shape than they've ever been" in this country. He says that "since 1965 we have been going down hill as a nation." Hmm... I wonder what might have happened during that year to make him feel that way?

I hope you'll enjoy this week's program...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Of course they do...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2014 7:05am PT  

From Juliet Lapidos at NYTimes...

On Sunday the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and television host, mentioned that voter turnout in the Ferguson, Mo., area was a mere 12 percent in the last election, and pledged to help boost that number with a registration drive. Twelve percent, he said, was "an insult to your children." He wasn't the first to think of channeling the anger over Mike Brown's death in this particular direction. Twitter users on Saturday noted voter registration tables in front of the makeshift memorial where the unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer.

Encouraging more participation in the democratic process in a community that feels alienated from political power - hence the demonstrations - seems like an obviously good idea; and one that's particularly compelling because it's so simple. Voting is an alternative to protesting in the streets.

And yet, the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, Matt Wills, denounced the plan.

Mr. Wills told the right-wing website Breitbart: "If that's not fanning the political flames, I don't know what is. I think it's not only disgusting but completely inappropriate."

On another right-wing site, Red State, Dan McLaughlin also argued that there was something indecent about the registration drive. Ferguson presents an opportunity for "Right and Left" to find "common ground," he wrote. But "the minute you turn your energies into just another effort to register Democratic voters and fire up the Democratic base in advance of an election," he argued, "the harder you make it to keep the common ground from vanishing in the fog."

Who said anything about "register[ing] Democratic voters"?

"Voter registration for #Ferguson residents is at the QT & the crime scene. SIGN UP. Get on the juries, choose your leaders," tweeted attorney and activist @ReignOfApril. "Voter Registration is a brilliant way to honor #MichaelBrown's memory. It's a positive reaction to horrible situation," wrote @Koursey in reply.

While the city of Ferguson is two-thirds African-American, the vast majority of their police force and almost all local elected officials are not.

"Though whites make up just 29% of the city's residents," reports MSNBC's Zachary Roth, "five of Ferguson's six city council members are white, as is Mayor James Knowles. And six of the local school board's seven members are white."

"We warned people about these kinds of things," John Gaskin of the Missouri NAACP told Roth. "Who hires the police officers? The police chief. Who hires the police chief? The mayor. Who hires the mayor? Who elects the council folks?"

As the Times' Lapidos goes on to note, "Mr. Sharpton did not say that the residents of Ferguson should vote for Democrats; he said they should vote, full stop." She adds: "Isn't it telling that both Mr. Wills and Mr. McLaughlin make no distinction between voter registration and Democratic registration?"

For the record, Ferguson's local elections are nonpartisan.

* * *

(Separately, kudos to the Times' Lapidos for describing those two websites for what they are, "right-wing", rather than usual "conservative". It must not have been easy to get that past the Times' editors, even though it's completely accurate. Or maybe the paper has changed their previously unhelpful style rules under their new Executive Editor Dean Baquet, along with this one. Either way, truth in reporting there is accurate, a great change of pace and far more helpful to the electorate.)

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By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2014 11:36am PT  

The "streets" did not "flare up". The cops in Ferguson flared it up, perhaps, according to pretty much all of the live coverage we followed for hours last night on TV, on the web and, most crucially, on Twitter.

No clue what "problem" Fire Boy above thought he was trying to solve with his 9/11 Wars souvenir, but you can bet it hasn't been solved.

We recently wrote a "Tale of Two Protests" comparing the mostly peaceful protesters of Ferguson, MO following the police shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown, to the threatening armed protests by supporters of scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy in Bunkerville, NV earlier this year.

Where the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the police in Ferguson has resulted, largely, in making the cops look like clowns and idiots for their over-aggressive tactics and firepower (see the front page of today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch above for just the latest example of that buffoonery, here's more), the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the so-called "Tea Party" "patriot" protesters in Bunkerville and their semi-automatic rifles trained on the heads of law enforcement officials, succeeded in little more than making those protesters look like clowns and idiots. It also offered an apparently compelling reason as to why law enforcement "needs" to arm up in response to such deadly, direct threats.

Meanwhile, over at his own blog today, Patrick Blanchfield offers a related observation of the shameful differences between the nation's treatment of a rancher who stole more than a million dollars from the federal government in Bunkerville, versus the kid in Ferguson who was shot at least six times by a police officer after having, allegedly, taking a handful of cigars from a convenience store. And its additionally embarrassing.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2014 6:03pm PT  

But is there ever a good day for them? Back after I can figure out this mess...Which I hope will be soon!

Please chat amongst yourselves until then. Or go and read an updated version of my story on the Ferguson Protesters v. the Bundy Bunch over at Salon today here...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2014 12:09pm PT  

Just like the headline says, from my interview on Friday with David Pakman...

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