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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 24, 2015
The Daily Show With Brad Friedman!
Okay, it's not the Daily Show, but beginning Monday, April 27, we'll be producing The BradCast five days a week for a while...
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...
Previous GNRs: 4/21/15 - 4/16/15 - Archives...
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...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/15 - 4/14/15 - Archives...
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...
Previous GNRs: 4/14/15 - 4/9/15 - Archives...
War is the Default:
KPFK 'BradCast'
For the mainstream media, war is now peace and more militarism is 'mellowing out'. Brad explains. Plus, much more, including more 'ObamaCare' lies & great listener calls!...
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
...Even though there aren't 'millions of Montanans'. That's how little the Kochs care about folks they hope to con...
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:
'The Ice Caps Are Melting!'
We didn't listen. But, perhaps, it was because we were too busy being mesmerized by this amazing performance...
'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...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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

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

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

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

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


Newspaper editorials describe effort as 'disgraceful,' 'naked grab for power' by GOP
Local Election Integrity advocates request national action...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2009 12:24pm PT  

[Updated several times at bottom of article, including encouraging comment on this offensive bill, by FL Gov. Charlie Crist.]

John Gideon covered the latest outrageous election-gaming attempt by Florida Republicans over the weekend in "Daily Voting News," but this one clearly needs a few more eyeballs.

Kindra Muntz, president of Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) emailed over the weekend to request "nationwide pressure" be placed on legislators in Tallahassee and, given the ugliness of this particular effort, we'd agree. See the bottom of this article for some action links which Muntz suggests taking to counter what she describes as a "dangerous" and "devastating" bill being quietly fast-tracked through the FL legislature by the GOP down there this week.

Here's a couple of passages from two no-holds-barred editorials from over the weekend, excoriating this latest, blatant attempt at voter suppression by the Sunshine State Republicans who, this time, have got elderly voters (and much more) in their cross-hairs. Among a few pretty horrible things this bill does (see below for much more), it would end the use of "Retirement center identification" and "Neighborhood association identification" for the elderly when voting at the polling place.

The first editorial below comes from the St. Petersburg Times which calls the effort "disgraceful," a "naked grab for power," and charges, "Republican legislative leaders have lost all sense of shame with their 11th-hour bill to roll back voting rights in Florida."...

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

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State AG: 'These [Diebold] systems are very, very bad'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2009 12:05am PT  

The AP has finally noticed the long-sought criminal investigation ballot count of the 2006 Pima County (Tucson), AZ, special election. State Attorney General Terry Goddard's hand-count of the disputed Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election was concluded, at least for now, in Phoenix on Wednesday. That's when AP filed its report on the matter that we've been covering here at The BRAD BLOG in a number of special reports and exclusives, in great detail, this week, last week, and for several years prior.

AP's coverage was fairly cursory (recent inside joke: AP didn't report who the AG's office had found to be the "leading vote-getter"), but it hit a few points worth noting, including one of the key take-aways from the entire, epic morality tale still playing out on behalf of the entire U.S., in Arizona:

Maricopa County election workers have been hand counting ballots from a 2006 Pima County transportation election to determine if the vote was rigged by tampering with optical-scan polling machines and turning “no” votes into “yes” votes.
...
What may be of even greater concern is the voting machines in Pima County, which includes Tucson, are similar to those used in 12 of Arizona’s 15 counties and in hundreds of jurisdictions across the country.

If it turns out the election was rigged by manipulating Diebold Elections Systems (now Premier Election Solutions Inc.) computer election programs, as some fear, it will show weaknesses in electronic balloting that could endanger the democratic process.

There you have it. That's why this story matters, and why it's far more than simply a "local story."

It also matters on a still-broader level because, even if the 2006 Tucson RTA election wasn't rigged --- and it's three years on, and nobody yet actually seems to know for certain --- due to the god-awful, privatized, untested, hackable, oft-failed, secret vote-counting machines we now use in our public elections, it's become virtually impossible to know if any elections counted on such machines were accurately tabulated.

AP notes that Goddard seems to finally be understanding that larger point, at least:

No matter which way the recount goes, state Attorney General Terry Goddard said he is convinced the equipment jeopardizes election integrity.

“These (Premier) systems are very, very bad,” Goddard said. “(They) are not state of the art in terms of security. They are not state of the art in terms of transparency.”

The Arizona Republic's Dennis Wagner pulled some details from AP's cursory coverage and augmented it substantially for more lengthy, detailed coverage filed on Wednesday as well, which we're happy to see and recommend.

* * *

In a related note: Tucson election integrity advocate John Brakey saw charges against him dismissed by a judge today, following his arrest ordered by Pima County election officials last year during a state-mandated, post-election hand-count --- a statutory mandate that likely would not have existed were it not for Brakey's advocacy for such post-election "audits."

The county's case against him was so bad Brakey wasn't even required to put on his own defense before the judge dismissed the case entirely after hearing the county's testimony. The recent criminal investigation hand count carried out by Goddard, and all of the issues discussed above, would also likely never have come to light in Arizona, had it not been for the tenacity, courage, and tireless determination of Brakey. Exclusive details on today's dismissed charges against him posted earlier here...

As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...
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Judge tosses case filed by Pima County Election Department against Democratic Party watchdog
Becomes second citizen recently cleared of charges following arrests while observing elections...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2009 4:36pm PT  

[Updated at bottom of article with video of trial testimony and the judge's dismissal of the case.]

Along with everything else that's been going on over the past week or two in the criminal investigation hand count of the 2006 Pima County (Tucson), AZ, special election (see our detailed special coverage here and here, with a bit of followup coming tonight, by the way. [UPDATE: Here's that late report.]), local election integrity watchdog John Brakey has had a trial of his own to contend with this week, following his arrest last September, while serving as an official observer during a post-election hand-count "audit" of the state's primary election on behalf of both the Democratic and Libertarian Parties.

As The BRAD BLOG reported at the time, Brakey had noticed that a number of ballot bags, selected for the hand-count, had missing or broken security seals on them. When he asked about them, he was promptly arrested on the orders of Pima's "Election Director Gone Wild" Brad Nelson, a Republican and long-time foe of Brakey's.

The case against Brakey, heard in court this afternoon, was dismissed by Judge Luis Castillo after the county presented its evidence on the charges of "trespassing," as we were informed today by Brakey and his attorney Bill Risner, who wouldn't even need to plead their own case to the judge today...

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

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Daughter of Republican Presidential nominee says her party must 'get past anti-gay rhetoric,' embrace 'gay marriage'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2009 4:32pm PT  

I'm impressed, frankly, with the unflinching outspokenness of Meghan McCain (John's daughter) in her quest to restore sanity, and a future, to the Republican Party. No idea whether she'll have any success --- at least for the foreseeable future --- but her willingness to stand straight up to her own party's not-minimal thuggery is impressive.

Today, McCain is out and out calling for the GOP to "Go Gay" by embracing same sex marriage (she still calls it "gay marriage," but that's because she's still a Republican), and begins her case by pointing out that it was the GOP deity himself, Ronald Reagan, as Governor of CA in 1978, who fended off a ballot proposition which would have outlawed gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools.

"Reagan’s argument centered around the idea that parents already had all the rights they needed to protect their children and that the government did not need to interfere," McCain notes, pointing to an actual conservative doctrine which the GOP has all but abandoned in their bigoted, unConstitutional demands for Big Government intervention into the private lives of homosexual Americans.

I'm digging fairly deeply into the details of what could be a tremendously important story to come (unrelated to this issue), so for the moment I'll just leave you with a few of the money quotes from her essay at The Daily Beast today:

At the most basic level, sexual orientation should not be a factor in how you are treated. If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric.
...
Lest we forget, our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, grants the same rights to everyone in this country—“All men are created equal.” If you think certain rights should not apply to certain people, then you are saying those people are not equal. People may always have a difference of opinion on certain lifestyles, but championing a position that wants to treat people unequally isn't just un-Republican. At its fundamental core, it's un-American.

She finishes with the incredibly overly optimistic notion: "I believe the Republican Party has, at this moment, the opportunity to come forward and play an instrumental role in securing gay rights." Nonetheless, she deserves credit and kudos for having the courage to say it. It's a pity it'll likely fall on so many deaf, crazy, tea-bagging ears.

Discuss.

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Courage Campaign launches counter-effort in hopes of pushing the cowardly fringe haters back into the closet...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2009 4:35pm PT  

The list of out-and-out lies in this new anti-marriage ad, on the heels of recent constitutionally conservative victories in Iowa and in Vermont, is astounding...Even by the standards of the cowardly, fear-mongering hate groups that spend millions in their fight against equality and Constitutional equal protection under the law...


The ad, from the ironically-named NationForMarriage.org (NOM) hustlers, who appear to have just set up their new, thinly-disguised hate site as of yesterday, looks to have cost quite a bit of somebody's money.

Courage Campaign, who aptly describes the ad as "deplorable" and notes that it's now "airing across the country and 8 times a day in California" has launched a campaign to fight back against what it describes as the anti-American NOM scaredy-cats' use of "actors to push lies claiming that marriage equality threatens personal freedoms". Aren't there any restrictions in place that keep broadcast outlets from airing out and out lies like the many in the above propaganda video? Anyway, please help the Courage Campaign folks out, if you're inclined (or if you happen to place American Values above opportunistic, dishonest Religious Bigotry).

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By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2009 9:59am PT  

More great news for lovers of American Values such as the equal protection (supposedly) guaranteed to all under our U.S. Constitution!

On the heels of a ban on discrimination against same-sex marriage by the Iowa Supreme Court's conservative reading of their state's constitution last week, the Vermont legislature today has overridden their Governor's veto to officially recognize the right of same-sex partners to be officially married under the protection of state law.

Vermont becomes the fourth state (following MA, CT and IA) to currently recognize marriage equality, after they'd formerly adopted "first-in-the-nation civil unions law" nine years ago. We're delighted to see two-thirds of each Statehouse chamber override the Governor's veto of a law which will correct the injustice of segregation via "civil unions".

Vermont's Legislature is the first in the Union to affirm the right to marriage equality. Previous rulings, in four states, have been made by state Supreme Courts, each with a Republican-appointed Justice penning the majority opinion.

4 states down, 46 to go, in the quest for Constitutional Conservatism and the equal protection for all. (At least in this matter.)

LATE UPDATE: Congratulations are due to Rachel Maddow (or someone on her staff) for her headline tonight: "I Now Pronounce You Ben & Jerry"

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If waterboarding was a war crime when the Japanese did it to my father, why isn't it a war crime anymore?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/6/2009 9:39am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In my previous piece, "Prosecute or Perish", here at The BRAD BLOG --- in which I argued that criminal investigations and, where appropriate, prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal for war crimes was not merely mandated by our treaty obligations but vital to preserving our constitutional democracy and the rule of law --- I referenced an allegation by Seymour Hersh that the Bush regime had created a highly secretive "executive assassination ring" which reported only to Dick Cheney's office and which had "been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people and executing them and leaving."

How can a nation that calls itself just convict the Japanese officers who waterboarded my father, yet refuse to so much as investigate high officials from our own government who authorized the same war crime and, as newly alleged, even much worse...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2009 9:17pm PT  

And speaking of Phoenix, there's this from Carlos Miller:

In what should send a frightening chill down the spine of every blogger, writer, journalist and First Amendment advocate in the United States, Phoenix police raided the home of a blogger who has been highly critical of the department.

Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, said the officers confiscated three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to continue blogging.

The 41-year-old software engineer said they also confiscated numerous personal files and documents relating to a pending lawsuit he has against the department alleging harassment - which he says makes it obvious the raid was an act of retaliation.
...
The search warrant lists “petty theft” and “computer tampering with the intent to harass” as probable causes. He has yet to see an actual affidavit that lists in detail the probable cause and is skeptical that one even exists.

“They say everything has been sealed,” he said.

Read the rest of the story for details. It's pretty amazing. Journalist/Blogger Pataky is our most recent new hero. And Journalist/Blogger Miller, who covers the story, is no slouch either given what he's had to go through in a similar vein to Pataky.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2009 11:25am PT  

In yet another Constitutionally conservative ruling, from yet another state Supreme Court, the very American values of equal protection under the law and protection of the minority against the tyranny of the majority (and against the tyranny of Big Government intrusion into private lives) have been upheld in Iowa today!

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning upheld a Polk County judge’s 2007 ruling that marriage should not be limited to one man and one woman.

The ruling, viewed nationally and at home as a victory for the gay rights movement and a setback for social conservatives, means Iowa’s 5,800 gay couples can legally marry in Iowa beginning April 24.
...
Today’s decision makes Iowa the first Midwestern state, and the third in the country, to allow same-sex marriages. Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, financed the court battle and represented six couples who challenged Iowa’s 10-year-old ban on gay marriage.

Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady [ed note: a Republican appointee], who wrote the unanimous decision, at one point invoked the court’s first-ever decision, in 1839, which struck down slavery laws 17 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a slave owner to treat a person as property.

In addition to real Constitutional conservatives who should be rejoicing today, true Fiscal conservatives should also appreciate today's ruling, which is bound to be a boon to the state's economy since "There are no residency rules for marriage in Iowa, so the rule would apply to any couple who wanted to travel to Iowa."

Welcome into the light of civilized society and equality for all, Iowa! That's three states down (MA, CT and IA), with just 47 more to go!

UPDATE: As the emailed headline linking to the following article was so darn good, we just had to offer them a link for their good work: "Court Decision Deals Gay Opponents a Hard Blow" :-)

FURTHER UPDATE: Steve Benen at Washington Monthly points out: "In recent years, four state Supreme Courts have ruled in support of same sex-marriage...And what do all four have in common? Each was appointed to their respective state Supreme Court by a Republican governor." Those darn 'judicial activists' strike again!

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By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2009 6:20pm PT  

I could use a toon break...

(Hat-tip, BRAD BLOG toon sherpa Pokey Anderson!)

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Why the survival of our Constitutional Democracy may hinge on factually justified criminal prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal...
[UPDATED: Spanish prosecutors file complaint calling for arrest of Bush 'torture attorneys']
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/25/2009 5:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"It will remain one of democracy's best jokes that it provided its deadly enemies with the means by which it was destroyed." - Joseph Goebbels

* * *

Gradually, as the veil of secrecy lifts, a growing number of Americans are beginning to comprehend the lawlessness of the cabal which seized control of the White House in 2000 in what amounted to a judicially-aided coup d'etat.[i] This lawlessness extended across the board. It included the packing of federal agencies with lobbyists from industries they were designed to regulate, deception to take this nation into a war of choice, fraudulent no-bid contracts, torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless NSA eavesdropping on the entire stream of domestic electronic communications, and, if Seymour Hersh's recent allegations are accurate, the creation of a highly secretive "executive assassination ring" which reported only to Dick Cheney's office and which had "been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people and executing them and leaving."[ii]

The reaction of leading Democratic politicians to these unprecedented high crimes has been ambivalent, at best. Even before she assumed the role of Speaker, Nancy Pelosi announced that impeachment was "off-the-table," thereby enabling two more years of executive lawlessness, not to mention the nation's economic demise. Pelosi evaded so much as mentioning their high crimes until February 2009. President Obama acknowledged that "no one is above the law," but added that the focus of his administration is to look forward, not back.

There are fundamental deficiencies in the President's formulation. First, it is impossible to observe the rule of law without looking back. It would make no sense, for example, for a man charged with armed robbery to come before a judge and say, "Well, the robbery was in the past. You've got to look forward. I have every intention of abiding by the law in the future. So why prosecute me?" Second, looking forward does not mean handling current events at the expense of the rule of law. The point is to look far enough into the future to appreciate that the same people who brought us the last eight years of executive lawlessness could one day return to power...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2009 1:11pm PT  

Broward County, FL, has dropped all charges against a local Election Integrity advocate whose arrest, described by an election official and other colleagues at the time as "outrageous," was captured on video tape late last year.

Ellen Brodsky, who had been a non-partisan candidate for Supervisor of Elections in last November's election, was arrested at the apparent behest of the office of the county's current Supervisor of Elections --- Brodsky's Democratic opponent in the race --- Dr. Brenda C. Snipes, while trying to view public, post-election counting and canvassing of ballots.

She was charged, at the time, with "disorderly conduct" and "trespassing," forced to spend the night in jail, and not released until nearly 6:00am the next morning, even though her son had posted the required $25 (twenty-five dollar) bail for her by 8:30pm on the evening of her arrest.

The "disorderly conduct" charges were dropped some time later, following the release of a video tape of the incident as posted by The BRAD BLOG in the days following the arrest. The tape, reposted again at the bottom of this article, revealed that Brodsky's conduct had been anything but disorderly when the county police were summoned by Fred Bellis, a deputy election official from Snipes' office, and Brodsky was thrown into handcuffs and hauled away.

While Brodsky's trial on a "trespassing" charge had been set to start today, a last-minute offer to drop all charges, in exchange for admissions by Brodsky that she would not be disruptive in the future, was sent to her last night from Snipes' attorney.

"There was no way I was gonna agree to such demands," Brodsky told The BRAD BLOG today, following the county's dismissal of the court case. "We offered our own compromise," she said. "We will accept a withdraw of all charges, and will, as I've always done, agree to follow Florida law regarding public meetings." It was an oral agreement.

Her attorney, Tanner Andrews, echoed her sentiment. "We agreed to do what we're already doing. We'll obey the law," he explained during a phone call this afternoon. "I could agree not to rob the bank next Sunday and it'd have the same legal effect," he added...

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

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Sign on to demand non-partisan special counsel, immediate prosecution of Bush, Cheney and other former senior administration officials...
By David Swanson on 2/26/2009 6:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by David Swanson of After Downing Street

Only in America can elected officials go on TV and confess to felonies (including torture and warrantless spying, not to mention aggressive war) and the resulting debate focus around the question of whether investigating the "possibility" of wrong-doing would be too radical. This week a coalition of dozens of human rights groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Society of American Law Teachers released a statement, as drafted by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee, cutting to the chase.

It reads in its entirety:

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or "truth" commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.

I wrote this statement with some helpful tweaks from colleagues and have been screaming the same basic message for about three years, but I sense more than ever right now that more ears are open to it.

While actually enforcing laws and "getting tough on crime" is now considered the radical leftist position and a "truth" commission the reasonable compromise, it is clear that a bipartisan commission would create the bipartisan bickering our elected officials are so eager to avoid. It would also, in Senator Patrick Leahy's view, investigate the complicity of Democrats as well as Republicans in the crimes of the past 8 years, thus guaranteeing that neither Democrats nor Republicans will support it.

If Congress can't take the heat and won't even enforce its own subpoenas, it should leave well enough alone. Statutes of limitations are running out fast, and we don't have time for another commission. If President Obama wants to distance himself from enforcing the law, he can do what he is supposed to do and leave the matter in the hands of Eric Holder. And if Attorney General Holder wants distance he can do what is required and appoint a truly independent prosecutor. Doing so would please the following organizations. More are signing on every hour, and both organizations and individuals can sign on at ProsecuteBushCheney.org.

Signatorees, as of 2/25/09, include...

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

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'This is going to be big,' says Sen. Whitehouse
UPDATED: Hearing now scheduled for Wed., March 4th...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2009 10:13am PT  

[Updated at end of article, with details on hearing announced for next week.]

The Senate is quietly preparing plans to investigate allegations of torture under President George W. Bush, according to comments published Wednesday by Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The Senate Judiciary Committee could announce a hearing to consider various plans to probe allegations of torture as early as today, according to Salon's Mark Benjamin, citing Committee Chairman Pat Leahy and members of his staff.

Leahy's office told Raw Story Wednesday morning that a press release would be sent out shortly.

Sen. Whitehouse said he's "convinced" the investigation will move forward.

"Stay on this," he told Benjamin. "This is going to be big."

Whitehouse, Senator from Rhode Island, is "spearheading" the efforts, and as a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, "is privy to information about interrogations he can't yet share," the magazine noted.

Neither Salon's nor RAW STORY's coverage made it completely clear whether the Senators are discussing an idea that is different from Leahy's previously-floated "Truth Commission" --- where immunity would be granted to many who testify, in questionable exchange for making "the truth" known --- though this investigation does seem to be distinct from that one. We'll try to keep our eye out for Leahy's press release today, in case it offers some clarity. [Update: See details of Leahy's announcement added at bottom of article.]

One point from Salon, also worth highlighting, is that the tenacious Sen. Whitehouse seems keen on using this investigation to help disprove the often asserted notion that the Bush, um, "enhanced interrogation" policies saved lives, despite the lack of evidence supporting that wishful thinking, and the growing body of evidence and testimony --- from those who actually know --- which plainly disputes it.

Retired Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba, who led the investigation of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, is quoted from a recent interview as disputing those who have claimed --- from the comfort of their keyboards --- that torture saved lives: "Some of those activities were actually not effective and those who thought so were in the academic or pristine settings of their offices," Taguba told Salon. "What would they know?"

Whitehouse adds: "It is important to prove the point, because they keep saying, 'We saved lives. We interrupted plans. We did this, that and the other.'...Well, when you drill down, there is never a fact there. It turns into fog and evasion."

Again, with Whitehouse on both the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, with access to much more information than has been made public to date, he oughta know. At least slightly more so than the Wingnuts who rule the public airwaves and, with it, the public "debate" on these issues to date.

UPDATE 1:34pm PT: On the Senate floor today, Leahy announced his plans for a hearing next Wednesday, March 4th at 10am ET (including a live webcast), called "Getting to the Truth Through a Nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry."

Details follow...

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'Not a whiff of fraud here,' says Repub MN Senate contest attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2009 1:21pm PT  

Might we suggest these Republicans get their lies straight before going public?

From Republican State Representative Tom Emmer's press release today, on the defeat of his restrictive Photo ID voting bill in the MN legislature this morning:

"The U.S. Senate recount has given us evidence of twenty-five precincts in Minnesota where more votes were cast than the rolls had registered voters," said Emmer. "How does a situation like that not cry out for a safeguard that will return confidence in our election process to Minnesota voters?"

Just now, from attorney James Langdon, arguing on behalf of former Republican Senator Norm Coleman, in the U.S. Senate election contest in MN:

"There hasn't been a whiff here, of any fraud."

But why quibble when we might be able to disenfranchise (Democratic-leaning) voters in a democracy? By the way, the RNC seems to agree with Langdon, not Emmer:

Not that any of that will stop any Republican anywhere from doing everything they can to keep legal (Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their legal votes through Photo ID restrictions, or anything else they can think of.

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