w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
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...
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!
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:
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...
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...
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.
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"...
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.
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...
In Friday's Daily Beast, University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos called for the removal of Justice Clarence Thomas from the U.S. Supreme Court bench, as based on 20 years of scofflaw, criminal behavior in withholding disclosure information on his wife Virginia "Ginni" Thomas' hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from Rightwing organizations which also happened to benefit from Thomas' votes on a number of SCOTUS opinions, including last year's infamous Citizens United decision.
Several weeks ago, 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 his column, Campos speaks to those crimes specifically, echoing our own analysis that they "certainly constitute a misdemeanor, and quite probably a felony, under federal law."
The law professor gives voice to the same questions so many of us have been asking about all of this: "Why is it likely that no consequences will be visited on a Supreme Court justice who has committed a series of criminal offenses? Why is this story not a full-blown scandal? And why did Clarence Thomas do what he did?"
He then goes on to offer the troubling answer to some of those questions by explaining...
We were under the impression that the tens of thousands of citizen protesters in Wisconsin, standing up against Big Government's attempt to take away their freedoms over the last three weeks, were extremely peaceful. But, apparently, that's because we were relying on actual news reports and evidence and stuff.
So, in the interest of fairness and balance, here's what's actually going on in Wisconsin, according to Fox "News"...
We are hoping that Fox "News" "reporter" Mike Tobin survives the dangerous conditions under which he's been working. Covering the mobs in Cairo was nothing compared to the dangers faced by Fox in Madison!
Of course, in our never-ending quest for fairness and balance, we should probably also point out that the man who "punched" Tobin, as discussed in the video above, didn't actually punch him at all. But we only know that because a liberal non-Fox camera happened to be rolling, so that camera should not be trusted. Neither should liberal Eric Boehlert of the liberal, George Soros-funded propaganda outlet Media Matters. He highlighted more evidence this week attempting to suggest seemingly phony WI reporting by Fox "News." Obviously, his actual, independently-verifiable evidence is probably of the liberal nature as well, so feel free to ignore it.
Also, WI's Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman, as seen in the video above being overrun by the "dare I say, violent" and "angry mob" chanting "Shame! Shame! Shame!" was shouted down after he appeared on television referring to all of the protesters as "slobs." That appearance by Grothman, however, was on the liberal MSNBC, so, ya know. (Later, he would go on to admit that "there were many friendly people in that crowd" and "courteous people there" and that he never "felt threatened," but, again, ya know.)
For the record, as Bill O'Reilly is only too happy to remind us nearly every day, any mitigating information out there which suggests Fox's reporting is less than truthful or accurate should be ignored because they remain the most popular cable "news" channel in the nation. Therefore, what Fox "News" reports is truthful and accurate. If it wasn't, they wouldn't be so popular, now would they? Suck on that, Liberals!
Well, this seems about right. Most impressively, the video below explains how corporations are legally required to put the interest of shareholders and the maximizing of profits above all other concerns.
This is just one of the reasons we were so critical of Obama's recent address to the damnable U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest corporate lobbying group in the nation, wherein he seemed to be grovelling for them to work together in the interest of creating jobs for Americans. Silly, that. The corporations he was meeting with have a legal fiduciary duty to maximize profits. Period. They have no requirement to do anything else. In fact, they have a legal responsibility to do nothing but!
In short, corporations will not behave in the interest of the public unless and until they are legally required to do so. Anything short of that is simply whistling past the graveyard and/or a more political kabuki theater.
This video, featured by the DemocracyIsForPeople.org campaign to help the push for a Constitutional Amendment that would undo the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous 5 to 4 Citizens United decision last year by requiring that First Amendment rights apply to human beings only (or, at least, not to for-profit corporations) does a very fine job of explaining in simple terms the entire fine mess this country now finds itself in. It's well worth the 8 minutes it takes to watch...
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
"This is not a budget issue," the policeman speaking to the cheering protesters jammed inside of the capital rotunda in Madison, WI, shouted this weekend, "This is a civil rights issue!"
"Mr. Walker, if you are listening to me, let me tell you something," he continued through the bullhorn as the crowd rallied, "We know pretty well now who you work for. Let me tell you who we work for. We work for all of these people!"
"We're not here, Mr. Walker, to do your bidding. We're here to do their bidding!" he told the crowd in a remarkable video-taped moment posted by RAW STORY on Sunday.
While a wide swath of Wisconsin society, entailing not only both public and private union members, but students, doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers (like the one mentioned above), and fire fighters have swarmed the streets and public buildings of Madison as part of a mass movement rivaling those we've recently seen on the streets of Cairo, there is one sector of our society who should be especially angry with the Wisconsin branch of Corporate America's wholly-owned, public subsidiary, GOP, Inc.
It is the uninformed and misinformed working class stiffs, aka "Tea Partiers," who should be most disturbed by the scam they've been subjected to over the past two years (and many more). It is they who were taken in by the lies and deceptions of billionaire sociopaths, like oil-baron David Koch of the infamous Koch Industries. Koch's aim is not liberty, freedom, and jobs but American fascism, corporatocracy, and the "eternal subjugation of the common man"...
The scene last night, as the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly suddenly, and without warning --- quite literally in the middle of the night --- announced and took a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting "Budget Repair Bill," followed by chants of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" from Democrats inside the chamber after it passed was remarkable.
As it was happening, I was reminded of all of those "Tea Partiers" last year who, despite a full year of committee hearings in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, mark-ups, negotiations, changes and concessions in hopes of bringing Republicans on board with the health care insurance reform bill that had otherwise been discussed and debated for at least a full year prior as well during the Presidential campaign, complained that the bill had been "crammed down the throats" of the American people in defiance of popular protests.
Well, in case you're wondering, Tea Partiers, this is what cramming a bill down throats in defiance of popular protests actually looks like.
This is also what it looks like when Big Government actually votes to take away freedoms from American citizens --- the other matter you folks pretended to once care about during the Health Care bill debate. So why aren't you joining with the protesters in Wisconsin now?
Slate's Dave Weigel, who was in WI's capital as the vote went down last night around 2am, explains what happened and offers this remarkable video...
Democrats exploded as soon as the vote was called, yelling "Cowards!" and "Shame!" at the Republicans filing out of the room.
The bill moves to the Senate, which cannot take it up until and unless 14 missing Democrats return. In a short speech to protesters, Democratic Rep. Cory Mason joked that he was "never so happy that we have two chambers."
We previously covered the WI protests by highlighting Rachel Maddow's analysis of the Walker/GOP bill in which she framed the debate as "Billionaires vs. Bake Sales: an existential fight for the survival of the Democratic Party" due to the legislation's blatant goal of busting the state's public unions in hopes of being the first domino to destroy the unions in full, in advance of the 2012 election.
The prank call from the Buffalo Beast's Ian Murphy --- claiming to be "David Koch," one of Walker's billionaire funders --- further underscores the GOP hope that Wisconsin will be "the first domino" in this latest attempt to destroy the politically powerful unions all together. Murphy's phone call to Walker as "David Koch" --- in which the Governor admits to having considered planting "troublemakers" among the peaceful protesters converging over the past week on the capital in Madison, follows in full below...
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
As one of its first acts after taking the majority in the U.S. House, Corporate America's public subsidiary, GOP, Inc., voted against the will of all but 18% of the American people to repeal even modest restraints on the abominable practices of a health insurance cartel whose insatiable greed has created a "health care system" that claims the lives of some 45,000 Americans annually simply because they cannot afford insurance.
Of course, even that alarming number fails to take into account those whose lives are lost when private carriers refuse to authorize vital procedures to those who are lucky enough to have coverage.
In response, and as newly-elected Republican Governors around the nation seek to dismantle benefits such as health care for their constituents, Vermont's newly elected Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin seeks to create the nation's first state-based, single-payer health care system. A troubling question remains, however, as to whether Shumlin has in mind a non-profit, state-run system or a single, profit-seeking, private monopoly...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
"The United States, so far, is essentially following the usual playbook...[for] when some favored dictator...is in danger of losing control. There’s a kind of a standard routine --- Marcos, Duvalier, Ceausescu...Suharto: keep supporting them as long as possible; then, when it becomes unsustainable --- typically, say, if the army shifts sides --- switch 180 degrees, claim to have been on the side of the people all along, erase the past, and then make whatever moves are possible to restore the old system under new names."-Noam Chomsky, 2/2/11
If we have learned anything from WikiLeaks, it's that we must consider the words emerging from the mouths of our political elites as the equivalent to a magician's sleight-of-hand.
During the transition between the Bush and Obama administrations, an astute observer could gain far greater insight on the direction of the new administration by ignoring the then President-elect's lofty rhetoric and focusing instead upon the fact that he chose the Wall Street-connected Larwrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, as opposed to Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, to serve as his chief financial advisers.
Today, Egypt remains in the midst of a genuine, yet to be completed, democratic revolution. So far, it has produced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and a dissolution of Egypt's parliament. However, it has not, as yet, led to real "regime change". Mubarak's hand-picked cabinet remains. So does Vice President Omar Suleiman, whom a May 14, 2007 U.S. Diplomatic cable referred to as "Mubarak's consigliere," and whom Middle East expert Lisa Hajjar refers to as "Egypt's Torturer-in-Chief".
[Listen to Brad Friedman's interview with Hajjar in the first hour of the 2/10/11 Mike Malloy Show right here.]
Egypt and the world --- and, indeed, the several other Middle Eastern nation's now seeing similar popular uprisings --- would do well to ignore public remarks by the U.S. President and Secretary of State to the effect that they supported the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian demonstrators and an end to the Mubarak presidency. While their public condemnations of violence against the press and the Egyptian people were appropriate, their reported behind-the-scene effort to have Suleiman lead a "so-called" transitional government speaks volumes.
To understand not only the why of Egypt's democratic revolution --- and many other similar popular revolts now under way in that part of the world --- but also the U.S. response to it, one must understand both the history of an ostensibly benevolent but quietly brutal U.S.-led corporate Empire and the role played by the covert dimension of Empire, particularly as described in Part IV of The BRAD BLOG's five-part 2009 special series on "The History of CIA Torture."* Suleiman, it must be remembered, long served as the chief of Egypt's General Intelligence Service, where he served as the key point man for the U.S., in what what we've described as "surrogate torture" as well as extraordinary rendition...
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· Baghdad Burning
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· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
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· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
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