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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A Rightwing caller's admission in response to Brad on a radio show in NC underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's fake news show Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal the 1960 Election From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Adds Call to Overturn 'Citizens United' to Ballot
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama takes action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: California gets tough on water wasters...
Previous GNRs: 7/15/14 - 7/10/14 - Archives...
Koch Brothers' Radical Libertarianism Broke Kansas
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Killing Zombie Myths Dead: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad takes on a bunch of lies this week that just won't die this week -- from e-cigs to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to 'global cooling' to the death penalty to marriage equality in Mississippi and more...
FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS CA DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES U.S. CONSTITUTION
George W. Bush appointee rules state system violates Constitution's ban of 'cruel and unusual punishments'...
'Green News Report' 7/15/14
Divesting from fossil fuels; Germany gives $1b to climate fund; Australia carbon tax repeal; All-electric Formula E racing revs up; PLUS: Climate denier Murdoch...
MO's Democratic Governor Discourages Quitting Smoking
Jay Nixon vetoes bill that would have exempted non-lethal e-cigs from being taxed like dangerous tobacco...
CNBC's Santelli Gets Schooled on CNBC
Fellow CNBCer slams the 'Tea Party' progenitor during on-air shout-fest in the perfect example of why people watch cable 'news' channels -- and why they don't...
GOP Voter Fraud Queen Ann Coulter Urges MS Senate Candidate McDaniel to NOT Pursue Fraud Concerns
Given her well-documented personal history, perhaps she shoulda stayed out of this one?...
'Green News Report' 7/10/14
Debunking the 70's 'global cooling' myth; Anti-science coal nuts in KY; BP oil in Gulf fish; Canada tar sands linked to cancer; PLUS: Pesticide killing birds & bees...
Challenging 'The Nation's Most Restrictive Voter Suppression Law': KPFK 'BradCast'
Journalist Ari Berman, just out of the federal courtroom in North Carolina, joins Brad to discuss the federal case; Plus MUCH MORE...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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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
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CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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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
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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
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2011 11:19am PT  

From Maggie Mahar at Health Beat...

You may have seen the  headline: “DIRE FORECAST SPARKS NEW MEDICARE DEBATE TRUSTEES' REPORT USED AS FODDER FOR POLITICAL SALVOS BY BOTH SIDES,” but the date may come as a surprise:  June 6, 1996.

At the time, the Chicago Tribune warned its readers: “Medicare trustees reported Wednesday that the program's financial outlook is getting worse, touching off a new round of debate over the future of the federal health insurance system for the elderly and disabled. According to the trustees, who give the program a fiscal checkup every year, the fund that pays Medicare hospital bills dipped into the red last year and will go broke in early 2001. That's a year earlier than they predicted in 1995.”

Sound familiar? How about these warnings:

Chicago Tribune July 2, 1969: “The Medicare hospital trust fund faces bankruptcy by 1976 and taxes must either be raised or benefits reduced the senate finance committee was told today.”

Washington Post, April 1, 1986: “The Medicare hospital insurance program faces bankruptcy by 1996, two years earlier than projected last year.”

New York Times, January 20, 1985: In the last few years, when it appeared that the Medicare trust fund would run out of money in 1987-89... But the need seemed less urgent after the Congressional Budget Office issued new estimates last September indicating that the Medicare trust fund would not go bankrupt until 1994.

(Hat tip to Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn who culled eighteen stories from the Tribune, the Washington Post and the New York Times over a period of four decades, each predicting that the Medicare Hospital Insurance Fund was teetering on the brink of disaster.)

But of course Medicare didn’t “run out of money” in 1994, and it won’t go belly-up now, in large part thanks to health care reform legislation.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Affordable Care Act (ACA) raises and saves over $950 billion. (Below, I spell out how the legislation generates those dollars). In the process, as the Medicare Trustees’ Report 2011 points out, the ACA reduces Medicare spending “by 25 percent”—without cutting health benefits, or shifting costs to seniors.

Our thanks to Digby for pointing us to the above in her article this afternoon describing today's as usual right-leaning Meet the Press roundtable as "vapid" and "braindead" featuring just one of six panelists who "might not be called [conservative]," in a discussion "about the immediate deficit catastrophe" which, she believes, would likely cause "all elderly people [to be] extremely worried that they will be barred from going to the hospital next week because Medicare has gone belly up."

She goes on to quote samples of the "verbal compost" of today's roundtable discussion on NBC, adding "I don't think I've ever had the misfortune to see a bigger load of pompous Villager pap and GOP propaganda in one place."

If it's Sunday...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2011 4:13pm PT  

Rightwing activists and propagandists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, employees of con-artist and propagandist Andrew Breitbart, may not use the First Amendment as an excuse for breaking the law in California, according to a federal judge's ruling this week.

Judge M. James Lorenz rejected the defendants' argument and motion for summary judgment in federal court, as part of the civil lawsuit filed against them by former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera.

Giles had previously thrown O'Keefe under a bus by arguing that she should not be held accountable at all for violating California's Invasion of Privacy Act [CA Penal Code § 632], since he, not she, was actually wearing the hidden video camera used to secretly tape their conversations with Vera, even after they had asked if their meeting would be kept confidential.

For his part, O'Keefe, a convicted federal criminal, argued that he was allowed to violate the law because the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protected him as a "journalist". The judge ruled against the defendants on all points...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2011 6:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I don’t want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, said while addressing a right-wing Christian audience in 1980. "[O]ur leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added after he denigrated those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation as people who suffer from the "goo goo syndrome."

Voter suppression has long been a staple of American politics, but the tsunami of new restrictions on the polling place now being rammed through by newly-elected Republican majorities in state after state is unprecedented, certainly since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have been ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While most Americans may think of the poll tax and literacy tests as forms of voter suppression associated the Jim Crow South, the confirmation hearings of the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist included sworn testimony from former U.S. Attorney James Brosnahan and others reflecting that, as an early 60's GOP activist, Renquist intimidated African-American and Hispanic voters in AZ by challenging their ability to read.

1965's Voting Rights Act outlawed both the poll tax and literacy tests. In more recent times, pursuant to a 1987 federal court consent decree, and a subsequent provision of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, another GOP suppression tactic, "caging lists," was banned, though as documented by the BBC's Greg Palast, the Bush administration-led Plutocrats didn't let a little matter like illegality get in the way of their use.

21st Century voter suppression operates under cover. Or it had, until the new wave of legislation being passed by GOP legislatures across the country began hitting its stride. Until FL's then-governor Charlie Crist overturned it, for example, the state banned convicted felons from voting even years after they'd been released from prison. In Armed Madhouse, Palast asserts that prior to the 2000 Presidential election, FL's then Sec. of State Katherine Harris, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of candidate George W. Bush, purged 94,000 "felons" from the state's computerized voter rolls, though the only "crime" at least 91,000 were guilty of was "being Black, Democrat or both."

Over much of the past decade, voter suppression efforts have been bolstered by bogus "voter fraud" claims leveled at groups like ACORN, who aided in the registration of those who might be likely to vote against the GOP (minorities and the working class); "non-partisan" GOP astroturf groups like the phony American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) created after the 2004 election solely to create and spread false propaganda about a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic; laws meant to increase the legal risk to real non-partisan organizations for assisting in registration; draconian polling place "photo ID" restriction laws, and in a reduction of opportunities for early voting.

With the tide of GOP victories at the ballot box last November, those efforts have now been ramped up and are now front and center in some 30 state legislatures across the country...

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

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Sanders introduces 'Medicare-for-All,' single-payer bill in Senate; Paul argues it would 'enslave' physicians...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/16/2011 12:01pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

With the backing of the AFL-CIO, National Nurses United, and the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) simultaneously introduced the American Health Security Act of 2011, a Medicare-for-All single-payer system.

The move triggered a "provocative, interesting discussion," as Sanders described it, during a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions subcommittee hearing in the Senate last week in which the Vermont Senator squared off with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (see video below). Sanders and a physician-witness agreed that treating healthcare as a "right" is consistent with the Hippocratic Oath. For his part, Paul, a self-certified physician, claimed that the establishment of healthcare as a right would turn physicians and their staffs into slaves, with the possibility of police barging into their houses at night to arrest them. Paul's theory that medical care for all "enslaves" doctors and all of those who choose to work in their offices, would no doubt come as a surprise to many physicians who live comfortably in single-payer countries, like the wealthy UK physician interviewed by Michael Moore in Sicko!

Dr. Paul's remarks underscore the extent to which ideology has obscured a basic reality that the core problem is not the ability of American physicians to deliver quality healthcare, but the absurdity of a society which places a greater value on accumulating obscene wealth in the hands of the privileged few above the health and very lives of its citizens...

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

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By Sue Wilson on 4/28/2011 4:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

After revealing his "long form" birth certificate Wednesday, President Obama scolded the news media for letting this non-issue become a national obsession.

But if President Obama really wants to restore reporting to its rightful role, he needs to act on commitments he made immediately after his inauguration. As I wrote in September 2009 for The BRAD BLOG:

Shortly after Barack Obama was sworn in as President last January, as Brad Friedman reported at the time, the new White House website "Technology" page signaled a hopeful change, and a call to re-examine the oversight of our public airwaves:

Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum.

Okay, let me connect some dots here.

For more than two years, GOP extremists have made the President's birth certificate an issue that has successfully permeated the country's consciousness. According to a New York Times-CBS News poll last week, 43% of the country is not sure Barack Obama was born in this country, despite long standing factual evidence to the contrary.

How did GOP extremists manage to make a non issue such a huge issue? They used the power of broadcasting to beat the drums of paranoia into 50 million people across our land. They used the power of talk radio, which they have used successfully tomarginalize Democrats and anyone else outside their narrow point of view.

That's right. According to Arbitron, 53 million people listen to talk radio every day in this country. When Glenn Beck loses his Fox "News" audience of 2 million, he still will have his radio audience of 10 million...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/12/2011 9:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the GOP state legislature received another setback to their controversial anti-immigrant legislation on Monday. In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld an earlier U.S. District Court finding that puts the breaks, for now, on a number of provisions in the bill.

In their ruling in United States vs. Arizona, the court found a number of the most controversial provisions of the state's SB 1070 were likely preempted by the federal Immigration and Nationalization Act (INA). The decision leaves in place a preliminary injunction by the lower court barring enforcement of key provisions of the Arizona law.

The case does not, however, address the issue of whether SB 1070 gives rise to unlawful racial profiling.

The doctrine of preemption derives from the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. If Congress intends federal law to "occupy the field" or if state law conflicts with a federal statute, it is said to be "preempted" by federal law, which means that the federal law, as the supreme law of the land, supersedes state law...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2011 4:28pm PT  

Here is an update, along with some important thoughts on the WI Supreme Court election debacle which exploded out of Waukesha County yesterday, plunging that important election into utter disarray --- an election seen by many as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker and the state GOP's legislating away many of the rights of state citizens to collectively bargain.

I am writing quickly as I scramble, once again to get to the studio on time to finish up my week tonight as guest host of the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show. I will, of course, speak again about these matters in greater detail on air this evening. So please forgive any typos or lack of clarity in the following for now.

First, some of the latest related news of note, and then some quick thoughts on this entire fine mess.

The campaign of Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, now said to be trailing incumbent Justice David Prosser by some 7,500 votes, announced their intention last night to file an open records request "for all relevant documentation related to the reporting of election results in Waukesha County, as well as to the discovery and reporting of the errors announced by the County."

That's good. In addition, they ought to apply for an immediate court order for the quarantine, sequestration, and confiscation of all ballots, electronic voting systems (optical-scanners, Direct Recording Electronic machines, tabulators, etc), memory cards, and the computer systems of County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus as well, in hopes of assuring a complete, independent, transparent forensic investigation of the entire election by an independent party.

At the same time, the State Government Accountability Board (GAB) has announced today they are "dispatching officials to the Waukesha County Clerk's Office Friday afternoon to review procedures used in tallying results of Tuesday's Supreme Court election."

That's good too, and if they have the authority to confiscate the election materials as described above, they should exercise it immediately as well. Nickolaus should no longer be allowed anywhere near this election (or, frankly, any other, given her years of reckless behavior in her role as County Clerk.)

Others, including Citizen Action of Wisconsin, have called for a full federal investigation into "irregularities" in Waukesha County's vote-counting system. That would be both welcome and appropriate as well in this case.

With all of that said, and with full recognition of the absolutely shameful way the Right would have behaved had 14,000+ votes suddenly "appeared" in a Democratic stronghold, as they did in the heavily Republican Waukesha enclave (and as they had already begun to do prior to yesterday's stunning announcement, as can be seen in the Fox "News" appearance yesterday of the always shamefully irresponsible liar John Fund), there are reasons to regard the "new" numbers announced yesterday as "legitimate." Or, at least as "legitimate" as any of the other results announced based on ballots counted only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer systems in the state. (See our detailed explanation about those systems, and the very serious concerns about them, as we published on Wednesday, when the unofficial results had the race at a 204 vote margin.)

Here's why I feel that way. (Though, mind you, how I feel has nothing to do with what should or shouldn't be done here to restore integrity and appropriate oversight to the woeful election system in place in Waukesha. To be sure, there are many remaining questions that demand answers at this time in both Waukesha and elsewhere in the state.)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2011 2:10pm PT  

[Hat-tip Andrew Sullivan...]

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PLUS: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) my guest on tonight's 'Malloy'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2011 2:11pm PT  

While prepping for tonight's Mike Malloy Show (which I will be busy guest hosting all week), here are just a few of the items which caught my eye so far today...in no particular order...

  • Record amounts of cash being spent by labor unions and the (supposedly grass-roots) "Tea Party" on tomorrow's Supreme Court election in Wisconsin, as the race between the unabashedly pro-Walker Justice David Prosser and Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has turned into a proxy battle between the two clashing ideologies right now in WI. A defeat of Prosser would tilt the court's 4-3 majority from Right-leaning to not Right-leaning. The race is also seen as a bellwether for upcoming recall elections of GOP state Senators likely to occur there in the near future, as Ernie Canning reported on earlier today at The BRAD BLOG.
  • Nuclear triage. Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan are dumping 11.5 tons of "low-level" radioactive water into the ocean to make room in filled storage containers for the more radioactive water leaking from reactor Unit 2. They say they have "no choice," but to dump that water (with radiation levels 100 times over the legal limit) as they must continue injecting new water to cool the plant's four crippled reactors, even as the radiated water floods out. Over the weekend, workers were unsuccessful in their attempt to use polymer, sawdust and newspaper (BP "JunkShot" anyone?!) to plug an 8 inch crack in a flooded tunnel at Unit 2 said to be gushing highly radioactive water, at 100,000 times legal levels, into the ocean.
  • A sweeping new election law in Florida is working its way through the GOP-controlled state legislature along predictably partisan lines, just in time for the 2012 Presidential election there. Some of the proposed changes will make it much more difficult for non-partisan voter registration groups, such as the League of Women Voters, to do their work, and will likely lead to a huge increase in "provisional" (and, therefore, frequently uncounted) ballots. Leon County's highly-respected Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho has called the bill "a travesty".
  • Former U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley --- recently forced to step down for referring to the treatment of alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning as "stupid" --- compares WikiLeaks to the New York Times. The paper's Editor-in-Chief, who has been bashing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks themselves of late, even though the "paper of record" has written hundreds of stories based on WikiLeaks documents, will not be happy. Good. (Coverage at RAW STORY courtesy of BRAD BLOG alum David Edwards.)
  • Even Republican state Senators in Maine are beginning to become uncomfortable with the radical statements and extremist behavior of the state's new GOP Governor Paul LePage and are asking him to "tone it down". Beginning to see the writing on the wall, boys?

So what's on your radar?

In addition to some of the above possibly coming up for discussion tonight, we will definitely be discussing the U.S. Chamber Plot (which was to have targeted, among others, myself and my family) with my guest U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) who is trying to see some accountability in that horrific affair after House Republicans refused his request for investigative hearings into the matter.

Please tune in at 6p PT (9p ET) tonight --- and all week! We'll have live listening links and a lively chat room right here at The BRAD BLOG during those hours as usual!

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Sex scandal adds steam to powerful WI recall locomotive...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/4/2011 11:24am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

While it should hardly be necessary, given the extent to which the GOP's billionaire-funded direct assault on workers' rights has exposed the Orwellian deceptions of the so-called 'Tea Party' movement, there are times when the adage, "sex sells," seems unavoidable, especially when it involves exposing the vast gap between the right-wing's professed "family values" and "fiscal responsibility" and a reality that includes infidelity and an eager willingness to squander public funds on friends and the billionaire sociopaths who fund their campaigns.

No doubt, Chris Bowers, the Campaign Director of the Daily Kos, understood this when he sent out a fund-raising email which, as reported by Rich Mitchell of the Conservative Daily News, reads, in pertinent part:

Last year, Wisconsin Republican state Senator Randy Hopper left his wife to live with a young Republican political operative. Last month, as Governor Scott Walker unveiled legislation calling for deep cuts in state workers' salaries and collective bargaining rights, Hopper's mistress was hired by the state on the advice of Scott Walker's cabinet as a "communications liaison." Further, her salary is 35% higher than her predecessor's.

Randy Hopper is one of the most vulnerable Republicans facing recall. He is a freshman, and only won his seat by 163 votes. A poll conducted by Daily Kos and PPP shows Hopper losing to a generic Democrat 49%-44%.

Mitchell denounced the salacious allegations as a "smear", though he offered no evidence in support of that claim to counter what appears to be an accurate account of Hopper's infidelities and the questionable hiring of his girlfriend, the GOP operative Valerie Cass, by the new administration of Gov. Scott Walker.

While there is always a legitimate question as to whether marital infidelity should disqualify an individual from holding public office, here the issue arises in the context of allegations of nepotism and hypocrisy, not to mention the issue of whether the Fond du Lac Republican could lawfully cast a vote opposing his own recall, now that, as his estranged wife admits, he no longer resides in his own district. He lives with Cass elsewhere.

This new sex scandal adds to a powerful, substantive recall message which has gained a great deal of momentum over the last several weeks...

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

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PLUS: Correlating the demise of unions and U.S. wealth disparity...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/31/2011 6:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Rep. John Mica (R-FL), Chair of the House Transportation Committee, inserted union-busting language into the 2011 Federal Aviation Administration Re-authorization bill.

His remarkable display of contempt for the democratic aspirations of working class Americans comes as little surprise, unfortunately. Mica, during his time in office, has received more than $620,000 in campaign contributions from the airline industry.

The Mica clause would block a rule adopted by the federal National Mediation Board which, according to the Communications Workers of America permitted airline and railroad workers to achieve "union representation based on a majority of votes cast, in line with the National Labor Relations Act rules governing union representation across all other industries." Instead of accepting the rules of a democratically held election of workers, Mica wants to count those who are eligible to vote, but who fail to do so, as votes against unionization.

Over the dissent of three Republicans and every Democratic member of the Committee, the House Transportation Committee rejected "an amendment by Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) to strip Mica's anti-union language from the bill."

Mica's new definition of "democracy" underscores the observations we set forth in "Gov. Walker's Wisconsin 'Union Busting' Exposes 'Tea Party' Scam, Duped Americans" as to how so many working class Americans have been "taken in by the lies and deceptions of billionaire sociopaths, like oil-baron David Koch...[whose] aim is not liberty, freedom, and jobs but American fascism, corporatocracy, and the 'eternal subjugation of the common man.'"

That subjugation flows from the disparity of power that accompanies a growing disparity of wealth, which, in turn, correlates with the demise of unions in the U.S...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/26/2011 1:07pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The fact that the U.S. government could...seek to put away people because of their political dissent was a real major eye-opener to me." - Leonard Weinglass, commenting on the 1968 Chicago Seven trial.

The cause of civil liberties has lost a legal champion.

Throughout a long and distinguished legal career, during which he defended, among others, the Chicago 7, Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers Case, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Angela Davis, Julian Assange, and the Cuban Five, Leonard Weinglass served as a vital buffer between an increasingly oppressive, corporate security state and those who would dare to challenge it.

He will be sorely missed.

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Stoking fear of Muslims against NPR, and comparing feral hogs to 'illegal immigrants' --- Just another day in 2011 Rightwing World...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/22/2011 7:00am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

To what extent has xenophobia greased the wheels of the right-wing smear machine?

For those who follow The BRAD BLOG, the pattern is all too recognizable.

A venal hard-right, operating through a pathological, race-baiting con-artist, like Andrew Breitbart, targets, for one of its deceptive smear campaigns, a group, like ACORN, or an individual, like Van Jones or Shirley Sherrod.

The smear is amplified by the propagandists at Fox "News." It reverberates throughout the right-wing echo chamber (which has usurped the majority of our public airwaves to bolster their agenda). The smear is then repeated by pliant mainstream corporate media, which will, at best, offer up a belated, chiseling, inaccurate "correction" --- too little and too late to undo the damage wrought by a Democratic "opposition" which timidly seeks to distance itself from the smeared as they scurry to hand the hard-right what it seeks (e.g., a bill stripping ACORN or NPR of public funds, or the forced resignation of the targeted individual).

There is no doubt but that some of the corporate media complicity derives from common financial interests. As Bill Moyers observed in Moyers on America, "media giants...exalt commercial values at the expense of democratic value...squeezing out the journalism that tries to get as close as possible to the verifiable truth."

But there is another issue, magnified by two recent events: (1) The matter-of-fact acceptance of the prompt resignation of two NPR officials over a secretly taped and deceptively-edited video hit piece in which two of convicted federal criminal and Republican con-man James O'Keefe's flunkies posed as members of a Muslim organization seeking to help fund NPR, and (2) The deafening corporate media silence over an outrageously racist remark by a right-wing Kansas state representative who compared "illegal immigrants" to "feral pigs"...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2011 1:43pm PT  

Still on the road and still a bit under the weather, so here's some very quick hits for now...

Naturally Premature Resigners: NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned following the resignation of chief fund raiser Ron Schiller (no relation) after the latter Schiller was featured in a secretly video-taped attempted hit piece with two of convicted criminal and Republican con-man James O'Keefe's flunkies performing as members of a Muslim foundation. Having watched the edited version of the video tape, I have no clue as to why anybody at NPR has resigned. (Sidenote: Imagine if even half of the RWers who committed actual crimes, real ones that actually hurt and/or killed people, resigned in shame as fast as non-RWers resign in shame after having committed absolutely no crime at all.)

Pro-Life in IL: Gov. Pat Ryan (D) signs a bill banning the death penalty in the state. It is the 16th to do so. Prisoners previously on death row have had their sentences commuted to life without the possibility of parole. Welcome to the civilized world, Illinois!

GOP War on Voting in FL: Gov. Rick Scott (R)'s executive clemency board pulled a fast one by changing the rules for re-enfranchising former felons after former Gov. Charlie Crist (R) had previously restored their voting rights. "The board did not release the proposed rule changes to the public until moments before the meeting began and limited public testimony to two-minutes per person for a total of 30 minutes before unanimously approving the changes," reports Palm Beach Post. "Civil rights advocates, including five black lawmakers, objected to the rule changes, saying there is no evidence the current process ... is not working." Leon County Supervisor of Election, and election integrity hero Ion Sancho says the board is turning back the clock to FL's post Civil War era with restrictions "whose sole purpose was to ensure that the former slaves of this state could never reintegrate into the society."

GOP War on Voting Nationwide: ThinkProgress details GOP efforts in 22 states around the nation to impose new polling place Photo ID restrictions likely to disenfranchise millions of elderly, minority and student (read: Democratic-leaning) voters. That, even though there is no "voter fraud epidemic" in this country, or any state in the union, at least not among Democrats. Republican voter fraud, however, as we noted late last week, when IN's new GOP Sec. of State was indicted on 3 counts of felony voter fraud, is a different matter all together.

2012: Newt Gingrich says he cheated on his wife because he loves his country so much. Or something. Sarah Palin won't be in the first GOP Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library (which reminds me that she's only ever been in one national debate, and that was with just one person, Joe Biden. I have a feeling she'll not want to participate in any "real" debates with a bunch of other folks, and therefore, while I don't make predictions, I'll predict she will not be running for President.)

In Memoriam: David Broder, WaPo's "Dean of the Washington Press Corps," died today at the age of 81. The death of the Washington Press Corp itself, however, has yet to be officially reported, even as its passing occurred quietly years ago without public notice.

Discuss.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2011 1:40pm PT  

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is clearly not a fan of opposition view points. At least not when they are in opposition to his own. Last night wouldn't be the first time he simply gavelled a meeting to a close in order to shut out the voices of those who disagreed with him.

At a Town Hall meeting in a library in Wauwatosa, WI, on Monday night, as TPM reports, Sensenbrenner suddenly adjourned the event after just 27 minutes as citizens expressed their disagreement with the speaker, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R), concerning the state GOP's attempt to legislate away their freedom to collectively bargain as public employees.

After Sensenbrenner abruptly shut down the event --- something he has done before, but in the U.S. House --- the crowd on hand erupted into cries of "Shame! Shame! Shame!", echoing Democratic law makers in the state Assembly a week and a half ago after Republican members suddenly opened a vote on the "Budget Repair Bill" without warning at 1am, and closed it seconds later before nearly a third of the chamber had even had a chance to cast their vote.

Before we flash back to what Sensenbrenner did in 2005, here's what the end of the event looked like last night in Wauwatosa...

Sensenbrenner --- who had previously been a fan of rowdy Town Halls over the last year or two when corporate-manipulated "Tea Party" protesters were attempting to shout down Democratic elected officials over the so-called health care reform bill --- has a record of simply shutting down debate when he is not in favor of the viewpoints being expressed...

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