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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
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'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
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Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
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'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
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Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
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Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
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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...
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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
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RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
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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
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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...


By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2011 7:47pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Perhaps the only positive thing one can say about GOP voter suppression is that it is relentless.

In 2008 the ME Legislature killed a Republican-backed bill designed to prohibit out-of-state college students from voting in the communities in which their schools were located. The state's Democratic Attorney General Steven Rowe said at the time, that the proposal was unconstitutional under the 1979 ruling in Symm vs. United States, establishing the right of college students to treat their dorms as their residence for voting purposes.

This year, on July 25th, the clueless ME GOP Chairman Charlie Webster asked Maine's Republican Sec. of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. to investigate 206 out-of-state college students whom he believed committed "voter fraud" because they registered and voted in the Pine Tree State.

Summers, after a two month investigation, was forced to admit that every one of the students was lawfully registered to vote in ME; that there was no evidence that any one of them committed voter fraud.

But why let a little thing like the absence of evidence of any crime get in the way of dissuading college students from exercising their right to vote? That's exactly what Summers decided to do...

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

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With cameo appearance by Kirsten Powers of Fox 'News'
UPDATED: Previously 'amusing' conversation, now just pathetic as Jared Roberts sends us a terrorist threat...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2011 7:35am PT  

It started with a Tweet yesterday morning from Kirsten Powers, Democratic contributor to Fox "News", in response to President Barack Obama having killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki after targeting him for assassination with no due process whatsoever --- not even a court order, as would have been needed to wiretap someone.

It seems like that's something Rightwingers pretending to be concerned about abuse of U.S. citizens by "Big Government" would have some objections to. But they don't. It's also seems like something that those who had been critical of George W. Bush's outrageously illegal and unconstitutional excesses and war crimes would similarly decry. But too many don't.

Nonetheless, soon, our hero in this story --- @ShortGo, otherwise known as Jared Roberts, self-identified "OUTLAW Cowboy" --- rode in to the conversation between Kirsten and me, to save the nation...

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

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PLUS: Local media outlet reports story accurately!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2011 3:40pm PT  

The civil trial against Republican propagandist and con-artist Andrew Breitbart's salaried employee James O'Keefe --- a convicted federal criminal as well as propagandist and con-artist in his own right --- continues in San Diego where a former ACORN employee has sued both O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles for violations of California's privacy act.

The case arises from the secret video taping by O'Keefe and Giles of then ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera, as part of the deceptively edited hit videos the pair would later release on Breitbart's several propaganda websites. Vera was terminated after the release of the videos, despite having committed no wrongdoing --- he had even notified local police about the pair, after he suspected they were up to no good --- as confirmed in a detailed report by the California Attorney General last year. O'Keefe and Giles, on the other hand, as the CA AG found, most likely "violated state privacy laws." While they were given criminal immunity by the AG in exchange for the raw, unedited video tapes, they remain liable for civil violations of the that law.

Now it appears Breitbart himself may be pulled into the case, and we're likely to soon learn how much he paid O'Keefe and Giles for their hit tapes.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin has adjudicated a discovery dispute by ordering both O'Keefe and Giles to disclose payments Breitbart made to them, as well as email communications and other relevant documents concerning the illicit video taping of Vera.

While that is likely to offer an interesting expansion of this story soon (and we'll offer a few more details from the court's ruling below), more than anything what caught our eye in this story for the moment, was the reporting by local journalist Heather Johnson of Courthouse News. She broke the story this week, and managed to actually report accurately on the details of O'Keefe and Giles' ACORN hoax.

On the other hand, the "paper of record" New York Times is still unable to do similarly. Even though we'd already forced a number of other corrections to their repeated misreporting on this, they've still managed to misreport the facts of O'Keefe's ACORN "pimp" hoax as recently as late last June and then again in late July.

So, to offer you (and, actually, the New York Times) an idea of what accurate reporting on O'Keefe --- a man who has, since his ACORN con, also pled guilty to a scheme involving an attempted wire-tap plot of a sitting U.S. Senator --- looks like, just read the first three grafs of Johnson's coverage this week...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2011 12:02pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Since taking power in statehouses across the nation in 2010, Republicans have been feverishly implementing new restrictions on democracy in advance of the 2012 Presidential election. A number of those laws, clearly --- and often deceptively --- designed to carve out blatant partisan advantage for the GOP next year, were examined during a recent hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The video of the hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot" can be viewed here.

This is the second of our two-part analysis of the hearing.

In Part 1, we covered the subcommittee's examination of new polling place photo ID restrictions designed to make it more difficult for lawfully registered (and disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters to cast their ballots at the precincts on Election Day. That issue --- which included some devastating cross-examination of long-time GOP "voter fraud" front-man Hans Von Spakovsky by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) --- was the first of three categories, as defined by committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) of new state voting laws covered in the hearings. All of the new voter suppression laws have been recently rammed through Republican-majority statehouses across the country.

In this concluding piece, we will cover the two additional categories examined: laws erecting barriers to the ability of individuals and non-partisan, non-governmental organizations to offer convenient registration for new voters and laws imposing significant reductions on early voting periods. Both are likely to restrict the number of voters able to cast their lawful vote in 2012 and, again, each is likely to disproportionately affect Democratic-leaning voters.

Finally, We'll also touch upon the status of legal challenges to these new laws by democracy proponents and challenges to the Voting Rights Act itself by operatives on the Right. Moreover, it's impossible to look at any of these issues without drawing inferences about what the combination of new laws in all three categories means, particularly in light of the fact that the models for these new laws were drafted by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 5:41pm PT  

There are two important late Friday announcements from the newly revived, post-Bush Voting Unit at U.S. Dept. of Justice's Civil Rights Division this afternoon. In both cases, they've raised serious concerns about discrimination by Republican Presidential front-runner Rick Perry's Texas against Hispanic and African-American voters.

Given the Lone Star State's history of discrimination against racial minorities, new laws and regulations which relate to elections and voting must be pre-cleared by the Dept. of Justice before they can be put into effect, as per Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act.

In one finding, the DoJ sees purposeful discrimination against minorities in the state's redistricting plans [PDF] for apportioning both new statehouse districts, as well as four new U.S. House seats being added in the wake of the 2010 census. The new seats are being added due to an increase in the TX population, thanks in no small part, ironically enough, to huge growth in the state's Hispanic population. The DoJ finds the proposed statehouse plan violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stating that it "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."

The TX plan for the U.S. House didn't fare much better (see below), with similar findings that minorities are likely to see a "retrogressive effect" in their ability "to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the United States House of Representatives" under Perry's approved scheme.

Moreover, in a letter that echoes questions recently sent by the DoJ to the state of South Carolina about their new polling place Photo ID restrictions, as The BRAD BLOG detailed earlier this month, the DoJ has a series of questions concerning Texas' new, very similar restrictions. As the law mirrors the one in South Carolina --- and in many of the other states where the GOP has been able to ram through similar voter suppression bills over the past year --- many of the questions from the DoJ to TX also ask about the their plans for notification about the law, and issuance of free IDs to the more than 600,000 otherwise-legally qualified voters who don't currently own state-issued ID that would meet the strict new requirements to cast a vote at the polls on Election Day.

In TX, the DoJ voting unit is curious about how many of those residents who don't have such IDs also happen to have Spanish surnames...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/23/2011 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.

The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, and a witness in the second three-member panel, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.

Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.

In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2011 3:08pm PT  

Reuters in 2008:

The parole board in the state of Georgia spared a convicted killer from execution hours before he was due to die by lethal injection on Thursday and commuted his sentence to life in prison.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles made its decision less than three hours before Samuel David Crowe, 47, was to be executed, according to a spokeswoman for the state's prisons.

"After careful and exhaustive consideration of the requests, the board voted to grant clemency. The board voted to commute the sentence to life without parole," the parole board said.
...
In March 1988, Crowe killed store manager Joseph Pala during a robbery at the lumber company in Douglas County, west of Atlanta. Crowe, who had previously worked at the store, shot Pala three times with a pistol, beat him with a crowbar and a pot of paint.

Crowe pleaded guilty to armed robbery and murder and was sentenced to death the following year.

"David (Crowe) takes full responsibility for his crime and experiences profound remorse," according to Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, an advocacy group, who welcomed the board's decision.

The BRAD BLOG last night, after the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had denied clemency to a different prisoner:

Despite 20 years asserting his own innocence; 7 of 9 witnesses having recanted their testimony, claiming police coercion; 3 jurors in the death penalty case having filed affidavits retracting their votes for "guilty" verdict; the murder weapon used in the killing of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail never having been found; no physical evidence tying Davis to the murder; hosts of luminaries from Republicans Bob Barr and Michael Steele to Democrats like President Jimmy Carter to a former GA Supreme Court Justice to a former FBI Director and many more calling for him to be spared; and after 3.5 hours of secret deliberation by the U.S. Supreme Court who temporarily reprieved his execution at the last moment before denying a stay without explanation, Davis was killed tonight by the big government state of Georgia at 11:08pm ET.

In his last words, according to witnesses to the execution, Davis spoke to the family of Officer MacPhail in the front row, and told them again he was sorry for their loss, but that he was innocent, did not have a gun, and did not kill their "son, father, brother."

Other than the confessed murderer being spared, and the man who maintained his innocence for 20 years being killed, I wonder if the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles saw any other significant differences between the cases of Samuel David Crowe and Troy Anthony Davis.

[Hat-tip @AngryBlackLady on Twitter.]

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By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2011 8:26pm PT  


Troy Anthony Davis, 1968 - 2011

Despite 20 years asserting his own innocence; 7 of 9 witnesses having recanted their testimony, claiming police coercion; 3 jurors in the death penalty case having filed affidavits retracting their votes for "guilty" verdict; the murder weapon used in the killing of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail never having been found; no physical evidence tying Davis to the murder; hosts of luminaries from Republicans Bob Barr and Michael Steele to Democrats like President Jimmy Carter to a former GA Supreme Court Justice to a former FBI Director and many more calling for him to be spared; and after 3.5 hours of secret deliberation by the U.S. Supreme Court who temporarily reprieved his execution at the last moment before denying a stay without explanation, Davis was killed tonight by the big government state of Georgia at 11:08pm ET.

In his last words, according to witnesses to the execution, Davis spoke to the family of Officer MacPhail in the front row, and told them again he was sorry for their loss, but that he was innocent, did not have a gun, and did not kill their "son, father, brother."

Finally, he said to the prison officials: "May God have mercy on your souls and may God bless your souls."

* * *

Davis' letter today to supporters...

I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.

As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can’t even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.

* * *

Our previous coverage of the Troy Davis case, including our 2007 interview with the "forgotten victim", Larry Young, is here.

Some of our coverage via Twitter, of the last minute drama as it unfolded live over the last 5 hours in Georgia tonight, can be perused here.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2011 7:05pm PT  

UPDATE 9/20/11, 9:48am PT: Despite all that we have detailed below --- including witnesses who've recanted their testimony, jurors who've retracted their 'guilty' verdicts, scores of luminaries, former Presidents, current Popes, prosecutors, elected officials (both Republican and Democratic), judges, and law-enforcement officials who've called for Troy Anthony Davis to be spared, along with Amnesty International's description of the state's decision today as "unconscionable" --- the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied Davis' final appeal for clemency this morning.

Barring a last minute intervention from someone, somehow, somewhere (please see and sign this), the Big Government lethal injection killing of Georgia's citizen Davis will proceed at 7pm local time Wednesday night.

The "Tea Party" protests over the outrage are scheduled to begin never.

* * *

In August of 2007, Troy Anthony Davis was just weeks away from his then scheduled execution in the state of Georgia when The BRAD BLOG ran the following article, including an exclusive interview with Larry Young, the "forgotten victim" in the Davis case who now, like 7 of the 9 witnesses in the case, has recanted his testimony. Young says, as you'll read, that he was left to bleed while the police coerced him into identifying Davis as the assailant, even though he had never seen him before.

One of the only witnesses to not retract his testimony is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who was with Davis before the 1989 murder of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, whom Davis has been convicted of killing. During a party in June of 2009, Coles reportedly claimed to have been the actual assailant.

Davis' execution was delayed in 2007 as new evidence was presented, but he is now, once again, scheduled to be killed at 7pm local time on Wednesday, pending a grant of clemency by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP), the sole authority able to commute his death sentence to life in prison with or without the possibility of parole.

Since Emily Levy's exclusive article below ran on August 3rd, 2007, citing both the Indigo Girls and the Pope in calling for Davis to be spared, a host of dignitaries, such as President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions, former far-right Republican U.S. Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, and former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher, have all asked the BPP to grant clemency to Davis.

Moreover, among witnesses heard during today's impassioned hearing before the board was Brenda Forrest, a juror who voted to sentence Davis to death at his 1991 trial. According to to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tonight, Forrest "now says she has doubt about her verdict and is asking the board to grant clemency. Two other jurors who voted to sentence Davis to death have signed affidavits asking the board to spare Davis from execution."

In her affidavit, Forrest says "she learned information that makes her no longer believe the case against Davis was ironclad. 'I feel, emphatically, that Mr. Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances,' she said."

The BPP has adjourned for the evening, having postponed deliberation until tomorrow on the fate of the man who has maintained his innocence without fail for 20 years now. (It had been only 17 years at the time of Levy's original article for The BRAD BLOG). In light of the possibility of the ultimate Big Government abuse of power being exercised against a citizen on Wednesday, it seems an appropriate moment to revisit Levy's original, and disturbing, exclusive...

* * *

The Indigo Girls and The Pope Agree: Troy Davis Should Not Be Executed
After 17 Years on Death Row, Davis Will Have Opportunity To Present New Evidence
The 'Forgotten Victim' Speaks in a BRAD BLOG Exclusive...

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Emily Levy - Originally published 8/3/2007

"The part what really makes me mad is the part that I don't know who hit me. You know, it might sound weird, but that'd be a little bit of closure for me to know who done it. You know, because when I got hit, and I hearin' somebody clicking a gun by my head about three, four times, and that gun not going off. You know, for a lot of years I've been hearing that click and I've been hearing that gun going off. Jumping up out of my sleep."
--Larry Young, July 2007, 18 years after he was attacked in the parking lot of a Savannah, Georgia Burger King.

You might think Larry Young would know who hit him, because two weeks ago the man who was convicted in the case came within 24 hours of being executed by the State of Georgia. But Larry Young doesn't know because he, like nearly all the witnesses whose testimony originally convicted Troy Anthony Davis of the assault on Young and the murder of a white police officer that night, doesn't believe Davis is guilty. Next week, the testimony these witnesses want to give, testimony that will show their original "witness statements" were coerced by police, will finally be heard...

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

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Ghoulish love for premature death permeates GOP debates...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/15/2011 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

It's bad enough that CNN surrendered what little credibility it had as a "news" organization by adopting the name and sponsorship of a mega-billionaire Koch Brothers' funded and controlled, pseudo-grass-roots organization to partner with on Monday's GOP Presidential debate in California.

Now, in the midst of this Los Angeles Times front-page headline, U.S. poverty totals hit a 50-year high, comes the loud “yes” (several, actually) from the audience at the CNN 'Tea Party' debate, applauding the prospect of simply letting those who can’t afford healthcare insurance die...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2011 1:28pm PT  

While I may have something else to share with you on this later tonight, for now, just a few very thoughts on today's somber 10th anniversary of 9/11. While my thoughts this afternoon are, naturally, with the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11, they are as much today with those exponentially many more families who have lost loved ones, needlessly, in this nation's childish and/or cynical and/or opportunistic and/or cowardly responses to that horrific day.

I am also thinking of those countless many --- a great number of whom also lost family members on both 9/11 and during our response --- who carried on with exceptional courageousness nonetheless during the course of our lost decade since. To those who were not cowed by the events of 9/11 --- and by our far more damaging responses to it --- I thank you today, again, for your selfless persistence in exercising your freedoms and liberties to do what is right, as opposed to what, no doubt, would have been far easier and far less costly on so many levels.

Beyond that (and beyond the additional thoughts, as noted, I may have later tonight), I suspect you've seen plenty in relation to the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 by now. So allow me to offer just a few short links to a few short and sweet articles or clips, all very much worth reading or watching, from over the last several weeks, as they offer a great deal about what now seems to matter most --- even as much of the nation's media choose instead to travel the very same road today as they did back then, and ever since...

* * *

STEVE CLEMONS: "9/11 and One Measure of bin Laden's Success"

GLENN GREENWALD: "The Decade's Biggest Scam"

MSNBC: In regard to both items above, this clip exploring 9/11 as "good business...huge business," as from MSNBC's new documentary Day of Destruction, Decade of War ...

SIBEL EDMONDS: "Answers in Absolute for 'Why 9/11?'"

MSNBC: And in additional support of Edmonds' thoughts above, another clip from Day of Destruction, Decade of War, this one on the cynical, systematic, and criminal (if still shamelessly uncharged) use of tactics once known, and prosecuted by our country, as "torture"...

Never forget.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2011 4:59pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
(With additional reporting and snark by Brad Friedman)

Maine's GOP Chairman, Charlie Webster, displayed a remarkable level of ignorance about the right of college students to register and vote in the Pine Tree State during a recent appearance on local radio, weeks after virtually everyone in the state has been trying to explain to him that he is off his nut.

Earlier this summer, Webster raised eyebrows (and more than a few laughs) when he brought the names of some 200 out-of-state college students to the ME Secretary of State, seeking an investigation for "voter fraud."

"I am convinced that my research proves that [voter] fraud is a problem, and I’ve only found the tip of the iceberg," Webster said during a press conference at the State House at the time, though he shared no evidence of any of the students having voted twice, or otherwise having illegally registered.

Webster's "research" began after a petition effort was launched seeking a "voter veto" ballot initiative to reverse a law recently passed by the Republican-led state legislature ending the state's 38-year-old practice of allowing for same-day voter registration. The new Maine law is just one of many new voter suppression efforts enacted by the GOP under the wholly unsupported guise of combating "voter fraud" in states across the nation over the past several months since the GOP took over many statehouses in the 2010 election.

The state's GOP chair has apparently never heard the old axiom about once you're in a hole, stop digging...

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Paper ignores calls for criminal investigations of Supreme Court Justice, growing record of judicial lawlessness...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2011 3:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

However historically inaccurate the phrase may have been, the idea that Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned seems apropos the appearance of a David G. Savage fawning Clarence Thomas puff piece on the front page of the Sunday, July 3 edition of Los Angeles Times.

On March 7, as part of our coverage of a Daily Beast article, in which Univ. of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos called for Thomas to be thrown off the bench, we noted:

The BRAD BLOG was among the first to specifically detail Thomas' years of "knowing and willful" violations of the U.S. criminal code, even as the mainstream corporate media largely ignored or downplayed those violations of the Rule of Law in their limited coverage...

In a March 6 Los Angeles Times op-ed, George Washington Law School Prof. Jonathan Turley found allegations that Virginia Thomas received monies from the groups that had a direct interest in the outcome of Citizens United to be "particularly alarming." He went on to compare Thomas' cynical effort to equate criticism of his ethical lapses with an attack on the integrity of the Court to Louis XIV's infamous view that there was no distinction between himself and the state.

Yet, on July 3, Los Angeles Times gave page-one coverage to Savage's uncritical piece that begins with a self-serving description in which Thomas seeks to portray his radical and, at times, outright bizarre legal positions, such as his stand-alone position that prisoners have no constitutional right to be protected from beatings by their guards, as simply a reflection of a rugged individualist who is not afraid to be a minority of one when he thinks he is right.

During Thomas' contentious Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings in 1991, the late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA) took a very different view as he likened the Thomas nomination to a game of "Russian roulette":

If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.

The firestorm of controversy surrounding questions about Thomas' conflicts of interest, severe ethical lapses, and possible crimes has momentarily slowed a bit over the past month of Congressional (almost) recess and the usual D.C. media "summer vacation." But the list of reputable individuals and organizations calling for the embattled Associate Supreme Court Justice to be investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, removed from office, and possibly prosecuted is likely to grow again once politics as usual resumes following the Labor Day holiday, according to The BRAD BLOG's discussions with a number of those individuals and organizations.

In the meantime, the question remains as to why Los Angeles Times saw fit not only to publish a ridiculous puff piece on Thomas as the firestorm was still cresting in July, failing to so much as reference these serious issues, but why they even found it necessary to elevate such a softball article to their front page.

Before reaching that, however, let's again examine the real issues...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/3/2011 4:31pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

While Brad Friedman recently exposed Matthew Vadum to be but the latest in a long line of fraudulent right-wing propagandists who flat-out lie about "voter fraud" as part of the billionaire-funded assault on the right of the those who would be inclined to vote against the GOP, no one could have done more to demolish Vadum's credibility than Matthew Vadum.

"Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?," asks Vadum in the latest of his series of wingnut welfare op-eds/commercials for his laughable new anti-ACORN book:

Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians. Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery.

Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals
...
Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn't about helping the poor. It's about helping the poor to help themselves to others' money.

In claiming that the poor are but a "burden" on society and that registering the poor to vote is "like handing out burglary tools to criminals," who seek "to help themselves to others money," Vadum not only advanced long-discredited hard-right ideological beliefs but revealed the abhorrence that the billionaire class and its paid-for propagandists have for democracy, itself...

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State AG vows to litigate 'up to U.S. Supreme Court'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2011 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an Aug. 29, 2011 letter, T. Christian Herren, Jr., Chief of the Obama DOJ's Civil Rights Division, not only demanded that South Carolina, within 60 days, provide additional information about its recently enacted polling place photo ID restriction law, but stated that if SC failed to provide a timely "response...the [U.S.] Attorney General may object to the proposed changes consistent with the burden of proof placed upon the submitting authority."

Herren noted that SC has the "burden of demonstrating" that the new polling place photo ID law was neither enacted "for a discriminatory purpose nor will have a retrogressive effect."

SC's Republican Attorney General, Alan Wilson, in an apparent recognition that pre-clearance is likely to be denied, told those in attendance at a GOP fundraiser that he had "no faith" that the DOJ "will do the right thing." He vowed to litigate the matter "up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary."

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, on Aug. 5 the ACLU submitted a 15-page letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking a denial of pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of South Carolina’s polling place photo ID restriction law. The letter argues that proponents’ unsubstantiated claims of "voter fraud" were but a pretext for unlawful discrimination and that statistics suggest that the new law would operate as an illegal poll tax, especially for the disproportionate number of African Americans who live below the federal poverty level in the state.

Last Friday, SC's Senate Democrats weighed in as well, asking the DOJ to deny pre-clearance for what they contend is the nation's harshest polling place ID restrictions, which could potentially disenfranchise, for example, someone whose driver's license has been suspended.

While denial of pre-clearance due to the retrogressive effect of photo ID restrictions in SC would be a positive step, it will not serve to protect democracy and the sanctity of the vote in other jurisdictions not subject to pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As described by John Nichols in The Nation (see video below), and again by Ari Berman in Rolling Stone --- as we detailed yesterday --- state-after-state across the nation has come under a well-coordinated assault by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and GOP legislators bent on rigging electoral outcome as part of their war on the middle class...

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