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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown. But who said anything about 'Democratic voters'?...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become, as does yet another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Oregon nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel fuel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
Previous GNRs: 8/14/14 - 8/12/14 - Archives...
Yes, Elections Still Matter: Brad on 'David Pakman Show'
With so many corrupt, corporatist politicians, even on the Democratic side, does voting and fighting voter suppression still even matter?...
Tale of Two Protests
The armed Bundy Bunch and the unarmed peaceful protesters of Ferguson -- one group was courageous enough to have possibly brought substantive, positive change to the nation...
97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
Kansas Sec. of State and long-time Republican 'voter fraud' fraudster Kris Kobach wins another one, as senior citizens turned away without voting on Primary Election Day...
'Green News Report' 8/14/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic storms, floods from NE to MI to NY, as CA breaks more heat records; China dumping coal, breaking solar records; PLUS: Jimmy Carter slams climate-denying 'nutcases'...
Previous GNRs: 8/12/14 - 8/5/14 - Archives...
News Summer from Hell Continues:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Peace activist and author David Swanson joins Brad to explain why using military force in Iraq, even to stop a genocide, is a terrible idea. PLUS: Much more...
Journalists Now Being Arrested in Ferguson
Reporters pulled out of a McDonald's by militarized police while covering protests of police killing of Michael Brown. Freedom-fighting 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still AWOL...
'Green News Report' 8/12/14
Is weather now more extreme?; ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising; PLUS: U.S. underestimated Keystone XL emissions...
CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
Prop 49, a CA ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution, will not be allowed on this year's ballot after all...
SIEGELMAN JUDGE ARRESTED FOR BATTERY
Controversial Republican federal judge Mark Fuller charged with beating wife; Daughter of AL's former, now-jailed Governor calls news 'shocking', 'karma'...
Keystone XL Emissions Vastly Underestimated by State Dept.: New Report
Independent study finds carbon pollution may increase four times the amount previously predicted by U.S....
1 BILLION Votes, 31 POSSIBLE Cases of Fraud
Law professor and voting rights expert reveals startling new numbers underscoring the massive, years long GOP polling place Photo ID restriction scam...
GOP Rep Decries 'Disgusting, Despicable Smear Campaign' After Primary Election
In his victory speech, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) lashed out at his U.S. Chamber-backed Republican opponents...
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...


UPDATE: Assailant arrested; Also, two others arrested for spitting on recall workers in separate incident...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2011 7:45am PT  

Thanks to the Rightwing's unshakable lock on our national media, had the Governor of Wisconsin now up for a potential recall been a Democrat, the photo above might have been among the most familiar photos in the nation this week.

However, since WI's governor Scott Walker is a Republican, this is likely the first time you've seen the photograph, or even heard that there has been yet another violent assault on a citizen petitioner seeking signatures for his recall.

Add this one to the Rightwingers found openly discussing collecting signatures for the "Recall Walker" campaign, only so they could then burn and shred them, and to the death threats received in the middle of the night and to the 30-year old West Bend man, Jeffery Karnitz, who's been charged with two counts of election fraud for defacing petitions.

The story of what happened to the camera above begins this way:

This camera was three weeks old. It was stripped off of my wrist, and thrown full force into the street by a crazy rightwing bastard. The card and battery are missing, which I learned when I tried to retrieve the day's photos and video.

It includes this:

My winter coat was ripped. My camera was destroyed. My hand is badly bruised and hurts like hell. The police left after taking all of our stories, and the three of us went back to the intersection to retrieve our signs so as not to leave litter. As we walked back, a wizened old man came up his front walk and let us know how happy he was we were hurt, and how much he hated us. He drooled positively fecal invective. Another car whizzed by and gave us the finger. Earlier, a man in a passing car slowed down and pantomimed shooting at Angela with an imaginary rifle. This is life in Walker's Wisconsin. I don't see it getting any better real soon.

The story ends with the police finding the man who did it and promising criminal charges, before this thought from the person whose camera was destroyed by a political supporter of Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin:

We don't want trouble. We don't want debates. We don't want to convince anyone of anything. We merely want to give people the opportunity to sign a legally prescribed petition derived from constitutionally defined laws whose intention is to allow redress of an aggrieved population if an elected official is off the rails.

Read the full story of what happened from "noise of rain" at dKos here. And then remind yourself how everyone in the nation would likely have heard about this incident, over and over again, days ago, had the violence in this story been carried out by a Democrat against a Republican. And keep all of that in mind next time you hear one of Andrew Breitbart and Rush Limbaugh's pathetic brainwashed zombies complaining, once again, about that dastardly biased "Liberal Media."

* * *

UPDATE 12/20/11, 11:52pm PT: The local NBC affiliate, TMJ-4 in Mequon, reveals the identity of dKos blogger "noise of rain" as Dave Hakman and reports that the man who destroyed his camera has now been arrested. Details from TMJ-4's coverage follow below...

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

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Oligarchic perversion of our legal system continues apace...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/18/2011 7:49am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In light of GOP Presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich's recently revitalized attacks on the judiciary as, apparently, not yet extreme or activist enough for his tastes --- though he finds, like most of the other GOP candidates, Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito to be "pretty darn good" --- it's worth taking note of just some of the recent behavior, judicial temperament and fundamental principles of those far-Right extremist Supreme Court Justices he apparently does approve of.

To that end, the opening paragraph of a Nov. 14 Los Angeles Times article was disturbing but not surprising:

The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

While basic canons of judicial ethics suggest that judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety, it remains exceedingly doubtful that the gathering of signatures on a Credo Action Petition will prompt either of these two "radicals in robes" to recuse themselves...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/15/2011 6:29am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Election laws in Wisconsin are not covered by Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, which would otherwise require the Dept. of Justice or a federal panel of judges to "preclear" such laws to assure they are not discriminatory. Thus, it falls to non-governmental organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), to take legal action in hopes of protecting Constitutional voting rights for citizens of the Badger State.

That's exactly what the organization did this week, in filing a 54-page federal complaint on behalf of some 17 named plaintiffs --- including elderly, student, minority and even veteran voters --- who may well be unable to cast their once-legal vote under the state's new voter suppression bill passed earlier this year by its GOP legislature and signed into law by its Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The lead plaintiff in Frank vs. Walker [PDF], the ACLU's class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, seeking to halt enforcement of the state's new photo ID voting restrictions, is 84-year old Ruthelle Frank.

As we previously reported, Frank has been a lawful resident of Brokaw, WI since her home birth in 1927. Although she has voted in every election since 1948 and is an elected member of the Brokaw Village Board, she learned that she may be barred from voting come February 2012 because she lacks one of the official photo IDs mandated by that state's new vote-suppressing photo ID law.

She was born at home, without a birth certificate, and will be forced to pay $20 to get one in order to get her supposedly "free" ID to vote. But even that may not be enough. Frank recently learned she may not be able to comply with the state GOP's Photo ID restriction unless she coughs up upwards of $200 to amend the Register of Deeds record of her home, which had misspelled her maiden name.

The feisty octogenarian, however, was not about to quietly accept this assault on a right she had exercised without interference for the past 63 years (see a video interview with her below), and so she agreed to lead the ACLU suit.

The ACLU complaint, however, may serve to be larger than just the 17 voters (and thousands of others included as part of 6 different classes) in the state of Wisconsin. If it succeeds, the lawsuit could have national implications that would go well beyond the question of who gets to vote in Wisconsin in the 2012 Presidential election. The case could serve to reverse the bevy of voter-suppression laws being enacted by Republicans in state after state in the wake of their take-over of statehouses across the nation in November of 2010...

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

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First confirmed use of unmanned 'terror tool' spy plane in U.S. against U.S. citizenry...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2011 9:33am PT  

Golly. All those pinko, commie, terrorist-loving Leftists who have long been warning about the dangers of Big Government overreach and the dangerously increasing use of terror tools against U.S. citizens --- the same thing that "Tea Party" RWers pretended, only after Obama's election, to be concerned about --- were nothing but America-hating alarmists, weren't they?

From KTLA::

Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front
Unmanned aircraft from an Air Force base in North Dakota help local police with surveillance, raising questions that trouble privacy advocates.

Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.

Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.

He also called in a Predator B drone.

As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.

But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said.

It's a shame the Predator B Drone didn't just unload some heat-seeking missiles on the three suspected cow rustlers, eh? Think of all the gas money they could have saved the Sheriff's office from having to drive in and arrest them in person.

What was it that you "Tea Partiers" were saying about Big Government and Big Brother again, even as you were then, and are still now, supporting the unfettered, unConstitutional use of terror tools in the "War on Terrorism U.S. Cow Rustlers"?

And what will you use an excuse to rationalize it all this time? Our comment section is open for your hypocritical justifications, as usual.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2011 2:58pm PT  

Congrats to all voters of Ohio for successfully pushing back against the GOP's efforts to keep you from voting in next year's Presidential election! It's another win for democracy, and another loss for the Buckeye State's Republican Gov. John Kasich (following on the recent landslide loss of his anti-union bill at the polls last month.)

Today, Secretary of State John Husted (R), officially certified that opponents of HB194 --- the anti-voting bill that would have shortened early voting hours and imposed other big government restrictions on the exercise of the franchise in Ohio --- were successful in their effort to place the law on the ballot for a voter referendum in 2012. Thus, the act, passed by the GOP legislature and signed by Kasich earlier this year, is officially suspended for now.

As we noted in September, after opponents of the bill had turned in more than 300,000 for certification to the Sec. of State, ThinkProgress' Tonya Somander summarized the bill's restrictions on voting this way:

Doing his part in the GOP’s voter suppression campaign, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping elections reform bill into law on July 1. Along with allowing poll workers to refuse telling voters where they can vote, the new law shortens the state’s early voting period, bans in-person early voting on Sundays, and prohibits boards of election from mailing absentee ballot requests to voters. These regressive restrictions mean that four in 10 voters in Columbus, Ohio alone will have to find a new the time, place, or way to cast their ballots. In fact, according to the Columbus Dispatch, the ballots that nearly a quarter million Columbus voters cast in 2008 would be banned under the new law

According to Fair Elections Ohio's announcement of the official signature certifications this afternoon, opponents of the voter suppression law gathered "307,358 valid signatures, over 75,000 more than were needed."

"The voters are sending a message to the Ohio politicians and legislatures across the country, says FEO's Greg Moore, "voting rights restrictions will not be tolerated by the people."

The group's press release, issued this afternoon, follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2011 12:06pm PT  

I don't have time today to thoroughly debunk all the reprehensible, anti-democratic, anti-American horseshit hurled by this FL State Rep. Dennis Baxley --- the original sponsor of Florida's new voter suppression laws, limiting early voting hours and imposing new big government regulations and huge fines against voter registration workers --- as seen in the following interview on Al Sharpton's Politics Nation show on MSNBC this week.

Fortunately, most readers of The BRAD BLOG will be able to smell the bullshit of the smirking, democracy-hating Baxley a mile away even without my point-by-point rebuttal. So I'll just run the video here for now without much comment, as it needs to be seen to be believed.

Near the front of the interview, Baxley admits that there's been no voter fraud problem in FL, and by the end he's charging (without a stitch of evidence, naturally) that the non-partisan League of Women Voters, who have been registering voters in the Sunshine State for some 72 years --- but who have now canceled their registration program for 2012 thanks to the onerous new GOP restrictions and fines on registration workers --- is actually a partisan Democratic organization! Who knew?

My loathing towards those who knowingly undermine American democracy is difficult to contain. So consider my restraint today an undeserved favor to you this afternoon, Mr. Baxley.


Oh, and for good measure, here's some info on some Florida school teachers recently arrested and/or charged for registering students to vote in apparent violation of Baxley's new anti-voting laws!

One thing I'm happy to see this year at least: MSNBC has been covering the GOP War on Voting --- at least the front-end war, the part in which Republicans are trying to keep millions of legal voters from being able to cast their legal vote at all --- very well this cycle, on many of their shows. Hopefully they'll soon begin covering concerns about the accuracy and transparency of the vote count itself, at least the vote counts of those who find themselves able to cast a vote in 2012, in any case.

* * *

If you'd like more details on the above...Earlier on the same show, Deirdre Macnab, President of the non-partisan LWV Florida, explained to Sharpton why they've been forced to stop their registration program in Florida after 72 years. As they note on their web page where the interview is posted...

Under new laws, third parties who want to help register voters could face $5,000 fines, a third degree felony and up to 5 years in prison if they violate any of the broad provisions noted in the legal paperwork.

That much shorter interview follows below...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/8/2011 5:12pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Many of the individuals who were swept up by last week's LAPD raid on the Occupy LA encampment at Los Angeles City Hall were arrested even as they attempted to disperse in accordance with police directives, according to testimonials from some who were detained in the early morning hours of November 30th and held on misdemeanor charges for days after.

Their videotaped testimonials [some of which are posted below] both corroborate and reinforce the excessive force and post-arrest abuse charges detailed in our previous article on the Occupy LA raid, in which detainees charged that they were hand-cuffed behind their backs and left to languish inside L.A. County Sheriff's Department (LASD) buses for eight to nine hours without access to food, water, medicine, or toilets as they were left to urinate on themselves in their seats.

The details also suggest that these conditions were imposed upon innocent demonstrators who were the victims of indiscriminate, false arrests by law enforcement officials. Worse, one written account suggests the LAPD's misconduct included not only pillaging the encampment and police brutality, but even torture...

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

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Why OWS Must Become the Egalitarian Democracy it Seeks - PART II
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/7/2011 12:25pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world," former British MP Tony Benn said when interviewed by Michael Moore in Sicko! --- "more revolutionary than socialist ideas…because...you have the power to use it to meet the needs of your community."

"If the poor in the U.S. and Britain turned out to vote for people who represent their interests," Ben continued, "it would be a real democratic revolution."

There is a fundamental difference between guarding against being co-opted by the corporate interests which presently control the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic Parties and refusing to vote altogether as an infantile form of protest...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2011 5:34pm PT  

We've long been warning --- beginning with Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel's initial arrests of 175 peaceful Occupy demonstrators in late October, and again following the subsequent brutally violent crackdown by the Oakland PD on peaceful Occupiers there on the orders of Democratic Mayor Jean Quan --- of the growing likelihood of an "#OccupyDNC2012" at next year's convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, unless Dems wise up (and quickly) and figure out that it'll be far smarter to work with demonstrators on their legitimate grievances, rather than fool-heartedly try and crush the Occupations in hopes that they will simply go away.

Given that, shamefully, we've seen a series of (theoretically) left-leaning Mayors continuing the use of this ill-considered technique --- even upping the violent ante in many of the "crackdowns" since --- one must wonder if all of these Democrats have simply forgotten about 1968, are too young to know about what actually happened there, or simply don't give a damn for some unknown reason.

The BRAD BLOG's legal contributor Ernest Canning --- who was deployed to Vietnam at the time, so was unaware of what had actually happened outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968 in Grant Park (the very location where, ironically, Barack Obama would give his moving Presidential victory speech in 2008) until learning about it upon his return home the following year --- flagged these poignant reminders for us all...

Look familiar? Ignore those videos, and history, at your own peril, Democrats.

* * *

Oh, and look, the official website for the 2012 Democratic Convention offers this helpful advice at the very top of its home page!:

BE HEARD

The 2012 Democratic National Convention is about you. And the success of this convention will be determined by your participation.

So get involved, raise your voice and be heard!

Do you suppose they really mean that? If so, do you suppose they'll still really mean that by the opening day of the DNC on September 3rd next year?

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Arrestees kept on buses for hours, forced to urinate self, deprived of water, medical aid or legal assistance...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/2/2011 1:39pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning with Brad Friedman

[Article now UPDATED at bottom with new information on the LAPD release of detainees.]

Much of the good will and plaudits earned by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck for their "minimal use of force" tactics employed to clear OccupyLA demonstrators from City Hall Park earlier this week has been quickly squandered in the hours and days since. The BRAD BLOG has learned that hundreds of peaceful arrestees were kept in often deplorable conditions in the hours following their apprehension.

According to new interviews with some of the arrestees following their release, men and women alike were held without charges for hours on end, forced to urinate in their seats on a holding bus while handcuffed, cut off from attorneys, medical supplies, and drinking water, and locked away with punitively high bails while being deprived of both humane and Constitutional rights.

At this hour, almost three full days after their arrest at the OccupyLA encampment in front of Los Angeles City Hall, more than 200 of the peaceful demonstrators detained by LAPD in the evening on Tuesday and early morning hours on Wednesday --- many of them who were not even participating in the Occupation --- are still being held in jail pending $5,000 bail for their misdemeanor detentions, as detailed by radio station KPCC. Approximately fifty people have been released, some after posting bail, others for medical reasons.

KPCC went on to report that on Thursday, only 19 of those people had yet to be charged. The City Attorney's office said that, depending on the charge, some would face bail as high as $20,000.

This morning, Los Angeles Times reported that most of the 19 who were allowed to appear in L.A. County Superior Court Thursday were released without bail, but on the "condition that they not return to the City Hall area, where the protesters had camped." The Times went on to note that most of those still held without being charged have no criminal record...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2011 8:01pm PT  

I was honored to have both the infamous "OccupyFreedomLA" (aka Freedom) and the notorious "OakFoSho" (aka Spencer Mills), citizen journalists both, join me live in-studio today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show after they spent the entire night live video-streaming the LAPD's de-occupation of OccupyLA at City Hall for the entire world.

I was right there with them, last night, and this morning --- at least on the Internets --- following their invaluable reporting and video feeds (OakFoShow's Ustream page here, OccupyLAFreedom's Ustream page here) until just about 5:30am.

So it was awesome to meet them in person to discuss the art of live-stream citizen journalism, get the scoop on how they do it, how you too can also be the media as a live-streamer with little more than a smartphone, and to get some inside skinny on what happened last night as they tried to help counter the spin by corporate media and the 1,400 strong LAPD contingent, to ensure that "the whole world was watching."

It was a fun and, hopefully, informative interview/discussion. Give it a listen!

Download MP3 or listen online here...

P.S. Naturally, both of 'em live streamed the interview from the studio as it happened! So, while the sound quality isn't nearly as good, and you won't get to hear the sound clips or music from their inside-the-studio cameras, the archived video versions of each of their live streams follow below, if you prefer...

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

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Federal complaint charges NYPD making indiscriminate mass arrests on behalf of Wall Street banks...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/30/2011 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The City of New York and the NYPD are engaging in a deliberate campaign of "mass arrests, illegally arresting protesters, including bank customers, and needlessly detaining them for excessively long periods...in order to facilitate and promote the CITY OF NEW YORK's desired reputation as corporate friendly and pro-bank."

So says a federal complaint filed by a woman and her fiancée who allege that they were inappropriately detained by New York City police last month inside a branch of Citibank in downtown Manhattan. [Video of the extraordinary arrest is posted at the end of this article.]

The civil rights suit, Carpenter vs. City of New York, has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Heather Carpenter, a 23 year old student and direct care counselor for the mentally disabled, and her fiancé, Julio Jimenez-Artunga.

The complaint arises out of an Oct. 15 mass arrest at a Greenwich Village branch of Citibank during which Carpenter closed her account, quietly exited the bank and even offered a receipt to prove she was a customer, only to be physically accosted by the NYPD, dragged back inside the bank, arrested and charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest. According to the complaint, the DA subsequently has said that the charges would be dismissed for lack of evidence...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2011 9:01pm PT  

3:31am PT: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck give a very brief statement to media. Villaraigosa lauds Beck, saying that he's never seen such a well handled resolution. "This is a man who understands that Constitutional policing is the only way to go," said the Mayor.

For his part, Beck explained that "60 days ago we started a relationship with Occupy LA demonstrators," which allowed some 1400 officers tonight to use "an absolute minimal use of force" to clear the park.

Commander Andy Smith answers questions after the Mayor and the Chief leave, says that while dogs are still going through things, he is aware of no weapons or drugs found in the park. He lauds the demonstrators for "A fantastic job as far as the folks in there being non-violent." He said no pepper spray, tear gas or batons had to be used as hundreds of demonstrators were cleared from the park.

And yes, there are reportedly still four more demonstrators --- and one dog --- up in the trees...holding the Occupation... :-)

Here is the full audio of the brief, 2 minute statement by Villaraigosa and Beck, as taken from OakFoSho's live video stream --- apologies for the very poor sound quality, thanks to the helicopters above the park...

Hopefully, here endeth our report for tonight. Read below from the bottom up --- as well as see our twitter feed --- if you'd like to relive it all as we did all night tonight...

3:21am PT: Not done after all. Citizen journalist Spencer Mills, better known as live streamer "OakFoSho," has been given permission to cover Mayor Villaraigo and Chief Beck's statement in front of city hall. Minutes away. See OakFoSho's stream below.

By the way, OakFoSho and OccupyFreedomLA are both scheduled to be our guests tomorrow on KPFK at 3:30pm PT on 90.7FM in Los Angeles and streaming live on KPFK.org. [UPDATE: That interview --- both audio and live video stream(s), naturally --- now here.]

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

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'Stay peaceful, because that's what this is about,' advises the now-wounded, but still-optimistic warrior...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2011 5:35am PT  

Returning for the first time to Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, where the eviction of peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators on October 25th eventually resulted in his critical injury at the hands of a member of the Oakland Police Department's multi-agency task force, Scott Olsen gave his first interview this week since his recent release from the hospital. [Video posted at bottom of article.]

The 24-year old, two-tour Iraq vet and former U.S. Marine was struck by a projectile, believed to have been a CS gas canister fired by a law enforcement official, as he stood with other peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators just before police opened fire on them.

Contrary to a statement given by the OPD's Interim Chief Howard Jordan on the night of the confrontation with demonstrators in Oakland, so far no evidence has emerged to support Jordan's claim that police "had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks." In fact, a November 2nd analysis by The BRAD BLOG of video tape and eye-witness statements from that night suggests quite the opposite, that the police planned to fire on demonstrators before there was any sign of violence by protesters.

The action which resulted in Olsen's injury, as we reported, would be in apparent violation of both state law and a federal consent decree signed by the OPD after similar violence against anti-war protesters in 2003. Following our report, the OPD somewhat walked back Jordan's so far evidence-free remarks to the media following the assault.

In the video interview, Olsen displays a remarkable memory of the events of the night --- particularly given the bloodied, apparent state of shock he was seen in as he was carried off by fellow demonstrators shouting "Medic! Medic!" in video tapes of the incident.

As seen in the interview, he also now has trouble with his speech, thanks to the damage sustained to the left frontal lobe of his brain, according to David Id, who posted the interview on Monday at the East Bay Indy Media website.

Olsen tells Id that his condition has been improving. We'd say remarkably so, given the injury he sustained just over one month ago, which sent him to the hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull and a swelling brain in the early morning hours of October 26th.

His indomitable spirit, evidenced throughout the short interview in which he offers a message to police, politicians, and demonstrators alike, is remarkable as well, as he is seen smiling while responding to each of Id's questions, explaining what he recalls of that night in the moments both before and after he was shot...

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Demonstrators, officials make it through night as encampment continues beyond Mayor's 'deadline' to shut City Hall Park...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2011 3:14pm PT  

It was a long night at the OccupyLA encampment outside of City Hall. The celebratory mood during the day had turned to tension at night, as the 12:01am Monday deadline loomed for what Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa had announced on Friday as the "date certain" when peaceful demonstrators would no longer be able to peacefully demonstrate in the overnight encampment on the lawn at City Hall.

57 days of free speech and peaceable assembly were fine, apparently, but 58 days would simply be a bridge too far. Or so Villaraigosa had made it sound during his presser that night, with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck by his side. They each took the opportunity then to praise the "Occupy LA movement for its peaceful efforts to change the national political and economic conversation."

But, as LAPD cops and the Mayor had been telling (often skeptical) demonstrators for the last several days: "We are not Oakland. We are not New York City." They had promised that there would not be a repeat of the horrific scenes which had gone viral on YouTube in other cities, where peaceful demonstrators were shot, beaten, "nudged," pepper sprayed, threatened and tear gassed during violent confrontations created by the police themselves, as they attempted to evict OWS encampments elsewhere.

One long-time demonstrator told us hours prior to the expected shut down last night, the LAPD had taken great pains to work with the L.A. protesters from the beginning of their encampment nearly two months ago. There has been a cooperative spirit with them from the beginning, she explained, noting that it seemed the LAPD was "still haunted" by the 2007 May Day Riots (which The BRAD BLOG covered live as it happened, and again when they finally reached a $13 million settlement in 2009 with the victims of their outrageous, inappropriate and unnecessary violence which included rubber bullet attacks on peaceful demonstrators and attacks against journalists attempting to cover it).

Last night's eviction never came, as protesters, media --- both corporate and citizen --- all took to the streets (and skies) around City Hall all night long. There was little show of force by the police, as they were mostly missing altogether through the night, with a few hundred, at best, appearing in the very early hours with helmets (but not full riot gear as seen elsewhere) largely to patrol intersections in an attempt to keep folks out of the street. Ironically, at about 3:30am, they spread the word that protesters should go back to City Hall Park, that they'd only be arrested if they were in the streets. There were just three such arrests total last night and the camp is still standing as of this morning.

The mixed messages from officials led one citizen journalist --- an OccupySF live video streamer who had come down from the Bay Area to cover the deadline here in L.A. --- to mention wryly as his camera rolled in the early hours: "The LAPD seem to want something from us, but it's unclear what their demands are"...

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