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SCOTUS Nixes Drug Searches at Routine Traffic Stops
Ruling comes a bit late for one man in Deming, NM whose unreasonable search and siezure by local cops was almost beyond words...
'Green News Report' 4/23/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Oklahoma finally admits fracking truth about earthquakes; Fines and accountability for spills and deadly explosions; PLUS: Enviros push back at TPP trade deal...
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CA's Mandatory Restrictions on Urban Water Usage Won't Solve Drought Crisis
Cuts to agricultural and energy production usage, as well as increases in supply are needed immediately...
Earth Day Toons o' The Moment
Would you rather laugh or cry on the 45th anniversary of Earth Day? BRAD BLOG toon curator 'PDiddie' let's you decide...
Letter to the Editor of the Moment: 'One of Four'
No, North Carolina (and Texas and Tennessee and South Carolina) Photo ID voting restrictions are NOT the same as those 'in 34 other states', Patrick Gannon...
'Green News Report' 4/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP Gulf Disaster, 5 years later; For Earth Day, Obama pushes again for climate action; Jan-March 2015 hottest ever recorded; PLUS: Jeb thinks climate change is a thing...
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Updates in Judge Mark Fuller 'Wife Beating' Cast
Criminal charges dismissed as expected; More testimony heard by 11th Circuit panel; Senate seeks update; Calls for impeachment persist...
Sunday Toons of the Moment: Knives Are Out
Hillary's 'primary'; the continuing U.S. Police state; and the Republicans head further over reality's edge...
Ohio and ACLU Announce Legal Settlement to Restore Some Early Voting Hours
'Far from perfect' deal may end years-long court battle to block GOP restrictions on access to Buckeye State polling places...
Virginia Finally Dumps 'WINVote' System After Horrific Security Analysis
Decade old 100% unverifiable touchscreen system found vulnerable to simple, wireless, wholesale, remote manipulation of votes...
'Green News Report' 4/16/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ontario joins cap and trade system to fight global warming; Harvard students seek fossil fuel divestment; Americans support carbon tax; PLUS: The last male white rhino on Earth...
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War is the Default:
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Sunday Toons: Hospital to the Right
After taking apart the Ted Cruz campaign logo, 'PDiddie' says turnabout is fair play and takes a look at Hillary's new, and already much-aligned, campaign logo...
Lottery Computer Hacked - But Partisans and Profiteers Still Want Internet Voting?!
Multimillion dollar lottery security system couldn't keep out a determined crook, but local elections officials could?!...
'Green News Report' 4/14/15
Another GOP climate denier enters 2016 race; And a non-denier jumps in on Dem side; Bad news for Big Coal in China; PLUS: FL's denier disease spreading to WI...
Koch Bros. Stand Up for 'Millions of Montanans' Against Medicaid Expansion
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More 'ObamaCare' Success: Uninsured Rates Plummet
At the end of the ACA's second open enrollment period, 9 out of 10 Americans are now covered as proponents had hoped and as the GOP hopes you don't notice...
'Climate Change' Down the 'Memory Hole'
Republican governments in Florida and now Wisconsin are hoping that avoiding references to climate change means that there is no climate change. And Orwell is smiling...
Sunday Toons: Gathering No Moss Edition
If its not on video tape it didn't happen. Oops. PLUS: Rand, Hillary, Cruz and Rolling Stone into infamy...
Tiny Tim Told Us in 1970:
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'Green News Report' 4/9/15
Climate denying Rand runs for President; Climate denial a looming prob for GOP; Thawing permafrost a looming prob for the planet; PLUS: Greening L.A...
Letter to the Editor of the Moment:
'Cowards and Bullies'
An 'enlightening little quiz' and a spot-on conclusion...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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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
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Rove protege, disgraced U.S. Attorney Purge appointee has largely escaped media/voter scrutiny...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2010 4:36pm PT  

And, also speaking of the long-waged Republican War on Democracy, it's nice to see a bit of in-depth coverage of issues that actually matter from local news reporters for a change. Here's Melissa Sims of KARK 4 News in Arkansas last night, on the vote caging of Tim Griffin, the Karl Rove protege installed as U.S. Attorney without Senate confirmation by the Bush Administration during their infamous U.S. Attorney purge.

Griffin, notoriously, was discovered to have sent caging emails to RNC colleagues during the 2004 election in Ohio. He denies any wrong-doing, though BBC investigative journalist and author [and occasional BRAD BLOG guest blogger] Greg Palast who first reported on the caging emails in Griffin's name, believes otherwise. Several other independent reporters similarly confirmed his involvement in the scheme. Griffin has never been held legally accountable, in any case, despite being forced to tearfully resign as USA during the Attorney Purge investigation. He is now, incredibly, the GOP's nominee for Arkansas' 2nd District U.S. Congressional seat, proving --- yet again --- that IOKIYR.

KARK's Simas took the time to cover the matter in some detail --- a 7-minute report is extraordinary for local news --- even as it's been largely ignored by...well, just about everybody, certainly in Arkansas, until now...

Note: Simas' written report published on KARK's ArkansasMatters.com website along with the video report, is very good as well.

[Much thanks to RAW REPLAY'S David Edwards for the video embed!]

* * *

UPDATE 10/20/10: Palast picks up on this same story and writes over at Truthout that attorney Robert Kennedy Jr., having looked at the Griffin caging emails, believes that what the SarahPAC-endorsed candidate Griffin did "was absolutely illegal and he should be in jail."

* * *
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Ruling seen as victory for GOP gay organization, Constitutional rights supporters against long-standing discriminatory U.S. military doctrine...
[UPDATES: Confusion reigns as DoJ appeals, Pentagon says 'Don't come out yet!']
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2010 1:32pm PT  

Just in. Yet another in the recent string of victories for (real) conservative values and the U.S. Constitution...

A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction Tuesday stopping enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, ending the U.S. military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops.

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal. Legal experts say they are under no legal obligation to do so and could let Phillips' ruling stand.

More details in the full AP story.

The order follows a successful lawsuit by the Log Cabin Republicans in which Judge Phillips found the military's policy --- which President Obama has chosen not to end with an executive order as he could have --- to be unconstitutional on First Amendment free speech grounds and a violation of the due process rights of gay and lesbian service members.

The decision also follows a string of other recent victories in federal courts for real conservative values, as confirmed by Republican-appointed judges, such as the U.S. District Court judge's finding this past August that California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause.

As we noted recently, while it often takes far too long in this nation, the good news is that, eventually, Constitutional rights win and the haters lose. Today's ruling underscores that hopeful point --- in an otherwise dark period in this nation's history --- once again.

* * *

UPDATE 4:08pm PT: 21 Democratic U.S. Senators have sent a letter to the Obama Administration asking them to not appeal Judge Phillips' order. There are no GOP Senators signed on to the letter despite the fact that it was a GOP group who won the decision in court. While, to be fair, we also don't know if the Dem Senators asked the Republicans to sign or not, the fact that all of them voted against a repeal of DADT (if it were to be approved by the U.S. military) in the recent Defense Authorization bill suggests that it's likely none of the Republican Senators would have done so anyway. The letter from the Democratic Senators is now posted here....

UPDATE 10/15/10: Confusion reigns. Incredibly, the DoJ is asking the Judge to stay the order pending appeal after all. (Which part of "Unconstitutional" do you not understand, Mr. President?!) Of course, in truth, the decision is the DoJ's, not the President's directly. The Pentagon, earlier this week, has said for the moment they will not be enforcing DADT, though later in the week they told folks to not come out yet! Apparently. As mentioned, confusion reigns. Details on the appeal here. Memo from the Pentagon here.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2010 3:05pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

As horrible as things seem right now --- with sociopathic loons on one side of the aisle, cowardly failures on the other, a mainstream corporate media completely out of touch with virtually everything that matters, an economy in which everyone but the rich are gasping for air --- there is one very bright spot on which we can all take great comfort.

Rights win.

It rarely happens immediately, and almost never without a far-too-long struggle, but rights for we, the people, almost always eventually win in this nation --- usually against all odds, avarice, greed and ignorance --- but our Constitution is brilliant enough that rights eventually win out.

If you have any doubt, look no further than the latest news (video posted below) heralding the last dying gasps of institutionalized homophobia in our laws and in our military.

The good news is: the haters have lost. The question which played such an enormous --- if entirely trumped up --- role in our Presidential elections just 6 years ago has been all but finally settled.

Well before the end of this decade (and likely far sooner than that, perhaps even before the end of Obama's first term in office), marriage equality for gays and lesbians will be recognized in every state in the union, and homosexuals will be as welcome in our nation's military as African-Americans.

It's over. The good guys have won. In these quiet victories of rights over wrongs, we can all take some quiet comfort, even in these maddening, ugly days...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/13/2010 7:11pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

This November, California voters will be afforded a rare opportunity to directly decide whether to legalize and tax the lawful cultivation, processing, distribution, sale, and consumption of marijuana by and to individuals over 21 years of age.

By approving Proposition 19, formally labeled the "Regulate, Control, Tax Cannabis Act of 2010" [PDF], voters will take an important first step towards ending the costly, hypocritical, and liberty-destroying "war on drugs" which, like its predecessor (Prohibition), has created a lucrative niche for criminal organizations --- hypocritical because the covert agencies of the U.S. government have long engaged in drug trafficking in support of Empire even as the so-called "War on Drugs" has provided a convenient excuse for supporting brutal dictatorial puppet regimes whose function it is to serve the interests of what John Perkins described in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man as the "corporatocracy"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2010 12:50pm PT  

From @PeterDaou during Obama's presser this morning:

Obama: Burning Quran "contrary to what this nation stands for" - so how about assassinating Americans without a trial? http://bit.ly/afcB4X

...Or disallowing torture victims a day in court, for that matter.

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Federal Judge Finds Act Violates First Amendment Rights of U.S. Service Members...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/10/2010 10:03am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In her Sept. 9 decision [PDF] in Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips, a 1995 Clinton appointee, determined that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (D.A.D.T) is unconstitutional as it violates First Amendment rights even within the more restrictive confines of military speech.

The court rejected the government's argument that Log Cabin Republicans lacked standing to initiate the action, noting that at least one member of the group, John Nicholson, was discharged from the armed forces because of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It expressly found that D.A.D.T "does not significantly further the government’s interest in military readiness or unit cohesion," and directed plaintiff's counsel to prepare a "Proposed Judgment, including a Permanent Injunction" by no later than Sept. 16.

Whether the Eric Holder Justice Department will appeal, despite President Obama's pledge to seek a repeal of D.A.D.T., is an open question...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2010 6:04pm PT  

[Late Update: Quran burning back on? Maybe. Late, Late Update: "We will definitely not burn the Quran. Not today, not ever." "Pastor" Terry Jones. Despite the cancellation, deadly protests are staged in Afghanistan. See updates at end.]

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Burn the light to satisfy your darkness….
Burn the love to satisfy your hatred….
Burn the peace to satisfy your anger….
Burn the compassion to satisfy your cruelty….
Burn the knowledge to satisfy your ignorance.

- BRAD BLOG Commenter Hassan Yaghi in response to 8/19/10's "Gainesville, FL, Blocks 9/11 'Koran Burning'":

While many have been disturbed by dangerous implications of the process of dehumanization, which we covered here at The BRAD BLOG in "The 'Ground Zero Mosque' and the Hypnotic Power of Republican Race-Baiting," "Gainesville, FL, Blocks 9/11 'Koran Burning,'" and most especially in the ugliness of "Video: 'I'm Not Even Muslim,' the Black Man in the White Hat Had to Tell the 'Ground Zero' Mob," there is a flip-side.

A display of hatred and intolerance can also bring out the best of our species, as reflected by the elegant words seen above from commenter Hassan Yaghi in response to a whacked out fundamentalist Christian's announced intention to burn the Quran. We covered the recent appropriate and moving response to the "Ground Zero Mosque" silliness by Iraq and Afghan vets standing up to the haters, and now in the following email announcement from Rabbis for Human Rights, announcing a petition and march this weekend in New York City for religious freedom and against intolerance.

Their email, published in full below, notes the group is "concerned by an upsurge in Islamophobia, religious intolerance, hate crimes and attacks on religious freedoms in the United States in recent weeks," and highlights both the planned Quran burning as well as the protests against the planned "Park 51" Muslim community center in downtown New York City, near "Ground Zero." The group also condemned their fellow Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and Zionist Organization of America for their efforts to derail the community center.

While near universal condemnation appears to have put a halt to "Pastor" Terry Jones' planned "International Burn-a-Quran Day," late today --- along with a bizarre attempt to intercede by Donald Trump --- actions and words by good people remain essential in order to counter the virulent and dangerous Islamophobia that has been propagated by hard-right demagogues and their dehumanized followers...

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

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Atty: 'Court closed to victims, complete immunity to torturers'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/8/2010 4:36pm PT  

From Charlie Savage at New York Times [emphasis added]:

A sharply divided federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit [PDF] involving the Central Intelligence Agency’s practice of seizing terrorism suspects and transferring them to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation. The ruling handed a major victory to the Obama administration in its effort to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy power.

Gosh. Can't understand why Obama's approval ratings keep falling.

In any case, the heart of this matter is the Government's "alleged" right (the President of the United States' actually) to use the so-called "state secrets privilege" to keep victims of alleged torture from ever even having a day in court --- even when one of those victims, as in this case, charges that his torture included "cutting his penis and other body parts with a scalpel and then pouring stinging liquid on the wounds."

Good thing none of this was done by Iran. We'd be outraged...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2010 7:18pm PT  

From Michael Moore to Rahm Emanuel. Ditto.

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Dire, deadly consequences of our irrational, greed-driven, vice-into-virtue economic system
Perverse priorities undermine democracy, destroy our sense of humanity and community...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/1/2010 5:48am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

While the recent recall of more than a half billion eggs in the wake of some 1,470 Salmonella infections has triggered a renewed focus on the dangers posed by factory farms to human health and to the environment (see videos below), the discussion stops short because factory farms are but one symptom of the deadly consequences of a perverse ideology whose sole purpose is to expand the already obscene wealth of less than 1% of the population at the expense of a healthy economy, community, the environment, peace, and the very ability of our planet to sustain life...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2010 7:05am PT  

When it mattered, was based in terrifying reality, required actual selflessness and extraordinary courage...47 years ago today..."The greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation"...

Dr. Martin Luther King, "I Have a Dream"
Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963
[complete text]


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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/26/2010 9:54pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 do not represent Islam. Far better representatives of Islam are the over 100 Muslims who died at work in the towers that day. No one need apologize for Islam."—Hal Donahue, VoteVets.org

Seeing it as part of their duty to support and defend the Constitution and dismayed by the "toxic effect" of the never-ending "war on terror" upon our society by the process of "dehumanization" which has created "a propensity to violence, a devaluing of others, even our own citizens, and a decided lack of empathy," VoteVet.org, a nation-wide group of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is circulating an "open letter" in support of the right to build a Muslim community center near "Ground Zero"...

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

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Former Wall Streeter seeks votes by attacking Attorney General Brown's refusal To appeal Judge Walker's ruling
Oath of office not designed to blindly follow whim of 'perceived' majority but to support and defend the constitution...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/26/2010 11:06am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit' I reported:

Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism.

Apparently Whitman now feels that campaigning exclusively by way of paid-for propaganda (political ads) will not be enough to evade scrutiny of her economic "plan" to "rescue" California's economy (a rehash of Bush tax cuts for wealthy people and business, the elimination of climate change regulations and imposition of further draconian spending cuts to a state government already operating on life support --- a plan which a group of economists, including Stanford University's Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel laureate, have derided as policies which would "deepen California's budget crisis and are likely to reduce employment and economic growth").

Whitman has now pandered to what she may mistakenly believe was a majority of Californians who voted against marriage equality in passing Proposition 8...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2010 12:40pm PT  

As the disinformed and hypnotized crowd of angry protesters in downtown New York chant "No mosque here!" over the weekend, a black man in a white hat strolls through and the crowd instantly turns on him.

"Ya'll don't even know my opinion on shit," he's forced to reply in his own defense as the tension rises and the possibility of violence becomes imminent. "I'm not even Muslim!" shouts the man who, it turns out, was apparently a construction worker at Ground Zero.

Sick. August, 2010. U.S.A.


A commenter at Ballon Juice may have said it best (h/t Glenn Greenwald on Twitter): "They got one thing right: Ground Zero is being desecrated. Just not by Muslims."

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/19/2010 8:31am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."- Heinrich Heine (1823)

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

Heine's ominous warning came more than a century before the infamous May 10, 1933 Nazi book burning where Joseph Goebbels told the Berlin student book burners, "The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end."

It was the beginning of the end for millions who would be gassed and then shoved into the death camp ovens over the next twelve years.

Today, we find a group of whack right-wing Christians operating under the Orwellian-labeled Dove Outreach Center. The group, which openly proclaims "Islam is the Devil," announced that they planned "to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 by burning Korans."

Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gainesville officials denied the group "a bonfire permit."

I'm reminded of Pete Seeger's Where have all the flowers gone?: "When will they ever learn?"

* * *

Update: Despite the denial of the permit, the Dove Outreach Center has vowed to proceed with its plan to burn Korans. I suppose one could call it an act of uncivil disobedience.

Update 08/20/10: There have been a number of comments, here, and elsewhere, raising First Amendment concerns about the City of Gainesville's decision to deny a bonfire permit. Deputy Chief Tim Hayes of the Gainesville Fire Dept., however, said that his department's denial was not related to the content of the books but on a city ordinance which prohibits the burning of "newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board or office paper, which are akin to books."

No doubt, attendees from the Sarah Palin/Dr. Laura School of Law would regard it as an infringement of the Dove Outreach Center's First Amendment rights, should a group of concerned citizens peacefully surround these book burners, whom Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe describes as a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community," holding up signs which quote Heine's "Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."

Update 09/07/10: General David Petraeus has expressed his concern that the proposed Quran-burning "could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan."

What Petraeus fails to mention is that the swiftest way in which he and his boss, President Barack Obama, could insure the safety of American troops and ratchet down tensions between the people of the Middle East and those residing in the U.S. would be to immediately end our imperial occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan by way of a orderly but complete and total withdrawal of all U.S. military forces as well as all private mercenaries.

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