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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, April 27, 2015
Daniel Ellsberg on 'Obama's War on Whistleblowers':
BradCast 4/27/15
The legendary 'Pentagon Papers' whistleblower joins us for a fascinating discussion; PLUS: Baltimore violence; Nepal earthquake; MORE...
Sunday Toons: Free Trade Edition
BRAD BLOG's toon curator 'PDiddie' wonders who's buying and who's selling? And so are a lot of this week's selected cartoonists...
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 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
Ontario joins cap & trade system; Harvard students seek fossil fuel divestment; Americans support carbon tax; PLUS: The last male white rhino on Earth...
War is the Default: KPFK 'BradCast'
For mainstream media, war is now peace and more militarism is 'mellowing out'. Brad explains. Plus, much more, including more 'ObamaCare' lies & great callers!...
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...
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...


Vacant seat on court since 2010 likely made the difference; Ruling, unless overturned, could result in re-election victory for Walker; Emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court likely...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/29/2014 6:02am PT  

With just weeks to go before mid-term elections and a "too close to call" Gubernatorial contest, disenfranchisement and electoral chaos in Scott Walker's Wisconsin reign supreme. And only the U.S. Supreme Court may now be able to do anything about it.

In a 5 to 5 ruling, an evenly divided, en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a Cursory Order [PDF], summarily denying an ACLU Petition for an Emergency Rehearing to put the brakes back on the state Republicans' Photo ID voting restriction in advance of the November election.

The ACLU petition followed on the recent extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench that had vacated a permanent federal court injunction of the law. That injunction, until it was lifted by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel just weeks ago, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing a Photo ID voting law which a U.S. District Court judge had found would likely result in the disenfranchisement of up to 300,000 perfectly lawful registered voters who lack the now-requisite, state approved photo IDs.

As we recently reported, the ACLU, in its emergency petition, argued that it will be virtually impossible for the Badger state's Department of Motor Vehicles to process the number of official state photo IDs that would be required to insure that every lawfully registered voter who desires to vote would get the opportunity to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. Moreover, thousands of absentee ballots that had already been mailed prior to the 7th Circuit panel's lifting of the injunction may not be counted since they did not include notice of the new rules requiring that they must be accompanied with copy of the voter's photo ID.

Following the 5 to 5 decision of the full 7th Circuit (one seat remains vacant, more on that below), the ACLU and other plaintiffs' only recourse for now will be an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Given the deadlock by the 7th Circuit and reasoning applied not only by the original U.S. District Court Judge in this case, and also by a 6th Circuit panel in an Ohio early voting case, as well as by six (6) of the (9) U.S. Supreme Court Justices who took part in a landmark 2008 Photo ID decision --- all decisions which were inconsistent with the reasoning applied by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel in the Wisconsin case, which has now been essentially upheld --- a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court has at least a reasonable prospect of success.

If you're confused, read on. We'll help you make sense of this...

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

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Repubs file 'Emergency Petition for Rehearing' before full court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2014 7:48am PT  

Yes, Ohio Republicans are still barred from limiting the early voting period and still required to restore the days and hours they had, yet again, tried to cut off. At least they are barred, again, for now.

On Wednesday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a 50-page ruling [PDF] in which it upheld a lower court's preliminary injunction from three weeks ago that prevented Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted from implementing a Feb. 19, 2014 GOP-engineered statute, and his own further Directive, which would have drastically reduced the number of early voting days and hours and eliminated same-day registration and voting during the first five days of a previously established 35-day period of early voting in the Buckeye State.

Reflecting the fact that he anticipated an adverse ruling, Ohio's Republican Attorney General Michael DeWine filed an Emergency Appeal for a Rehearing [PDF] by the full 6th Circuit, on the very same day the three-judge panel handed down their decision. His appeal presents essentially the same arguments that have now, repeatedly, been rejected by the courts, first in a 2012 case, Obama for America v. Husted, and now, again, in Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted...

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

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Well, that sounds disturbingly familiar...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2014 4:22pm PT  

Working on an unrelated in-depth story at the moment, hopefully for publication tomorrow. So, in the meantime, please see this report from TPM about disturbing allegations (yet again) of Scott Walker supporters' plans for intimidation of Democratic voters in Wisconsin...

An armed militia group in Wisconsin plans to confront people who signed the petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) at the polls on Nov. 4.

The "Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia" will check the names of those on the petition and will then seek out the Democrats on that list, according to Facebook exchanges viewed by Politicus USA.

The Facebook page for the militia has since been scrubbed.

The group plans to follow people from polling locations to their homes, according to a Facebook post viewed by The Capital Times.

"Please private message us names of people you know are active voters and wanted on warrants. We can get our agents to watch their polling location, identify the individual, and then follow them to their residence. A call the police and they will be picked up for processing," the Facebook message read.

Back in 2011 and 2012, some Walker supporters had violently assaulted those attempting to collect recall signatures; were caught planning to destroy recall petitions; were arrested and charged for actually doing so; were said to have made overnight death threats by telephone to supporters of the Recall Walker effort, among other attempts at voter intimidation.

Walker is up for re-election in November and his race with Democratic challenger Mary Burke is currently characterized by Real Clear Politics' polling average as a "toss-up".

* * *
Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now in our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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'It is not only unreasonable, but also mathematically, logically, and physically impossible that by November 4, hundreds of thousands of voters will learn about the need for ID'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2014 1:30pm PT  

With "electoral chaos" said to be reigning in Wisconsin following last week's extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed an Emergency Petition for Rehearing En Banc [PDF] before the full U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal.

The ACLU is seeking the immediate reinstatement of the District Court's injunction of the state Republicans' Photo ID voting law. The lower court had previously found the statute to be, in no uncertain terms, in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

When they later file briefs, the ACLU and other attorneys representing the plaintiffs in Frank v. Walker will undoubtedly go into greater depth to explain how the three GOP members of the 7th Circuit panel erroneously interpreted the U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Crawford vs. Marion County Elections Board and how the WI law, "Act 23", is "materially different from" the Photo ID law passed by Indiana Republicans and approved by SCOTUS in 2008.

The emergency filing, however, zeroes in on what the ACLU describes as chaos and disenfranchisement that will likely be caused by an "extraordinary decision" last week, which, they say, seeks to effectuate a "slapdash implementation" of a radical and complex change in the Badger State's election law just seven weeks prior to the November 2014 general election...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2014 11:48am PT  

Though I am not being paid to play, I will be speaking for free a few minutes after the 7:50p showing of documentary filmmaker John Wellington Ennis' latest years-in-the-making masterwork, Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes, on Wednesday (9/17) out here in L.A.

I'm also in the film, but don't let that keep you from coming if you're anywhere near the 'hood. As usual, our friend Mr. Ennis (director of one of my favorite Election Integrity films, FREE FOR ALL!: One Dude's Quest to Save Democracy - click that link to watch the great trailer!) has put together an ingenious, enlightening, very funny and very frustrating portrait of our post-Citizens United democracy and what the hell there is left to do about it. It also features some fantastic stories and terrific voices, many of whom you may be familiar with.

So if you're in the L.A. area on Wednesday night, please stop by for the screening and say hey afterword! Here's the deets...

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

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Vote against ending debate underscores importance of 2014 elections; Rand Paul, Koch Brothers cut from same cloth...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2014 7:35am PT  

On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted to move forward with a final vote on a joint resolution to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision.

The 79 to 18 vote to end debate and move on to a final vote on the measure included 25 "yes" votes from Republicans. However, The Hill reports, many of the GOP Senators are expected to vote against the resolution, "but by allowing it to proceed [they] ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week." The Senate, which just returned from its 5-week summer recess on Monday, is in session for just two weeks before breaking for mid-term elections. A vote on the resolution may help to run out the clock on other Democratic priorities before the next recess.

Citizens United, as we wrote just after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 decision, has "opened the door to the creation of a new master-class under the aegis of the most undemocratic of institutions --- the private corporation." In fact, it has proven to have opened the floodgates for would be oligarchs, like the self-described "libertarian" Koch brothers, to further undermine the very foundation of our representative form of democracy --- a strategy that has resulted in their spending as much as $300 million to win control of the U.S. Senate for Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections alone.

"We should have debate on this important amendment," Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) declared before casting his vote for cloture, in order to end the debate on Monday. "The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics."

One Republican Senator who voted against cloture, who is apparently not even in favor of allowing the U.S. Senate to vote on the measure, is Kentucky's Rand Paul. The similarly "self-described libertarian" Paul, who is not up for re-election this year, but is currently a front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, joined a minority of his GOP colleagues in voting against allowing the proposed amendment to receive an up or down vote. That vote, as well as his past efforts to shield corporations from democratic and legal accountability, underscore once again that the Kentucky Senator and the infamous Koch brothers are cut from the same cloth.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a co-sponsor of the amendment, observed, the measure entails the "major issue of our time": to wit, "whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interest."

If it's up to Rand Paul, clearly he favors the latter.

Monday's vote is also a reminder that the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections are far more important than ordinary citizens may realize. The long-shot resolution, S.J. Res 19, would require two-thirds approval in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives before moving on for ratification as an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by three-quarters of the state legislatures. Given that extraordinary requirement, those voters who may oppose unlimited "dark money" political spending by corporations and billionaires would have to ignore a blizzard of Koch propaganda this year and vote Democratic or independent candidates into control of both chambers of Congress in order for the Amendment to become a reality.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2014 1:27pm PT  

When will this 'tyranny' end?! Out today from the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation:

MENLO PARK, Calif. - An early look at the cost of health insurance in 16 major cities finds that average premiums for the benchmark silver plan - the one upon which federal financial help under the Affordable Care Act to consumers is based - will decrease slightly in 2015. The new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation analyzes premiums in the largest cities in 15 states and the District of Columbia where information from rate filings is available.

Premiums for the second-lowest cost silver plan for individuals will fall by an average of 0.8 percent from current levels in these cities when open enrollment begins on Nov. 15, according to the study. The analysis finds that the premium for the second-lowest-cost silver plan is decreasing in 7 of the 16 areas studied - but also that changes in average premiums will vary considerably across areas. They range from a decline of 15.6 percent in Denver, Colorado (to $211 per month), to an increase of 8.7 percent in Nashville, Tennessee (to $205 per month). In both cases premiums are for a 40-year-old nonsmoker, before taking into account any tax credit. It is important to note that rate changes may be different in different rating areas in these states.

"There is variation, but so far, premium increases in year two of the Affordable Care Act are generally modest," said Drew Altman, Kaiser's President and CEO. "Double digit premium increases in this market were not uncommon in the past," Altman added.

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GUEST: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 9:24pm PT  

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman became the first federal judge since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 Windsor decision to uphold a state marriage-equality ban. But it's hardly the first questionable ruling by Feldman.

On this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast I was joined by BradBlog.com's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning to discuss his 2010 call for Feldman's impeachment after his ruling that lifted the temporary federal moratorium on off-shore drilling following the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. Feldman, it turns out, failed to disclose his many conflicts of interest in the case or recuse himself at the time.

(And speaking of corrupt federal judges with lifetime appointments who need to be impeached immediately, please do not forget this one!)

I also talked with Ernie about his belief that Photo ID voting restrictions will be struck down by the federal court in Texas, and then at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other issues also covered on this week's show: rape and murder convictions tossed out after 30 years for two NC men on death row, thanks to DNA evidence; the CA 'recount' reform bill blocked by state Republicans after the close election in state history; the new report finding Citizens United has directly resulted in more Republicans elected to office; and much more, including, as usual, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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First judge to find marriage equality ban Constitutional since landmark 2013 SCOTUS decision, failed to disclose personal financial conflicts in 2010 BP Gulf oil disaster case...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 12:33pm PT  

Today, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld that state's ban on marriage equality, making him the first to find that such bans are not in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause since the Supreme Court's landmark Windsor v. U.S. decision.

Today's ruling follows an unbroken string of federal decisions --- in both U.S. District and Appellate courts --- striking down similar bans in state after state after the 2013 Windsor decision's determination that the U.S. government may not deny equal benefits to married same-sex couples.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, wrote that the concept of same-sex marriage was "nonexistent and even inconceivable until very recently"; that the state had a "legitimate interest...in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents"; and that marriages between two individuals of the same sex was based on "lifestyle choices".

And now, you'll be shocked to learn that Feldman --- a Ronald Reagan-appointee and a close friend of Justice Antonin Scalia (who wrote the Windsor dissent for the Court's minority) --- has a damning record of judicial corruption.

The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst and attorney Ernie Canning offered a damning case for Feldman's impeachment in 2010, after he struck down the federal moratorium on off-shore drilling instituted in the Gulf of Mexico following the deadly 2010 BP oil disaster there.

As Canning detailed at the time, despite financial holdings in the oil industry that would have been directly affected by his own ruling, Feldman failed to properly disclose those conflicts of interest and recuse himself from the case.

"Despite having served as a federal judge for 27 years, Judge Feldman is unfit to sit in judgment of others," Canning wrote in response to the evidence in June of that year. "The only appropriate recourse is for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who takes his or her oath of office seriously, to introduce articles of impeachment against Judge Martin Leach-Cross Feldman."

Read Canning's detailed 2010 coverage and call for Feldman's impeachment here...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 7:04am PT  

I'm sure fans of the Death Penalty will be terribly disappointed to learn that these two men have had their convictions tossed after 30 years in jail and before they could be killed by the Government...

LUMBERTON, N.C. - A North Carolina judge overturned the convictions Tuesday of two men who have served 30 years in prison for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl after another man's DNA was recently discovered on evidence in the case.

Superior Court Judge Douglass Sasser ordered the immediate release of Henry McCollum, 50, and Leon Brown, 46. The half brothers were convicted in the 1983 slaying of Sabrina Buie in Robeson County.

Lawyers for the men petitioned for their release after DNA evidence from a cigarette butt recovered at the crime scene pointed to another man. That man, who lived close to the soybean field where the dead girl's body was found, is already serving a life sentence for a similar rape and murder that happened less than a month later.
...
Authorities said McCollum, who was 19 at the time, and Brown, who was 15, confessed to killing Buie.

Attorneys said both men have low IQs and their confessions were coerced after hours of questioning. There is no physical evidence connecting them to the crime.

Both were initially given death sentences, which were overturned. At a second trial, McCollum was again sent to death row, where he remains, while Brown was convicted of rape and sentenced to life.

* * *

UPDATE 9/3/2014: Dahlia Lithwick at Slate offers more details on this case, and explains how U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia cited the case of McCollum, who we now know to be innocent, several times over the years in support of the Death Penalty.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2014 11:44am PT  

This is heartbreaking. A 20-year old gay college student from Kennesaw, Georgia is confronted, assaulted and disowned by his own twisted, confused, cruel family, as captured on video...

The video went viral after it was published by Dan Savage on Wednesday.

Despite the incredibly disturbing video, in which Daniel Ashley Pierce's father, stepmother, mother and grandparents confront him --- at times violently --- to go get therapy so he'll stop being gay, or else move out of the house, there is a "happy" ending here, of a sort.

Pierce's boyfriend set up a Go Fund Me site for him yesterday to raise $2,000 for him to live on, after being kicked out of the house and trying to find a new place to live.

By this morning, the video has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times, and the Go Fund Me site, which Pierce said he didn't even know had been created, has raised some $66,500 for him. Thirty minutes ago he posted this updated note to supporters there:

WOW!! I am so blessed by all of this! I want to give everyone of y'all a hug! I am without words right now! THANK YOU THANK YOU! I will be using a portion of this money to help others in the same situation! I want to make a difference and if I can save one kid the hurt and abuse that I went through I will be happy!! Each and everyone of y'all have made a huge impact on my life and I am feeling the love!! The kind words are helping me move on :-)

As clueless, sad, twisted folks like Pierce's family members wanted Daniel to seek (cruel and discredited) "Pray the Gay Away" therapy, perhaps it's time someone sets up a "Pray the Hate Away" movement. We could really use one right about now.

[Hat-tip RAW STORY...]

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GUEST: Charlie Grapski of PhotographyIsNotACrime.com...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2014 9:22pm PT  

Earlier this week I wrote about Charlie Grapski's attempt to get at the Ferguson and St. Louis County Police Department's documentation on Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown via a long string of public records requests under the Missouri Sunshine Act law.

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I spoke with Grapski, who heads up PhotographyIsNotACrime.com's new Opens Records Project, concerning his tireless efforts to obtain the real Incident Report and other documentation of Brown's shooting from either department --- if such documentation actually exists, as is required by law.

Grapski explains that, based on some pretty solid evidence he's received in response to his open records requests to date, he believes "it's more likely than not" that an actual Incident Report of the event was created by the police, but that "they have withheld it." If so, that would amount to a criminal cover-up and a very serious violation of the law. Listen to my full conversation with him for much more.

Also this week, an update to our interview last week with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) regarding his legislation to demilitarize the police: The President has announced a task force to review the Pentagon's 1033 program that has transferred billions in surplus arms and other military equipment to local police around the nation. We also covered the latest maddening news in the story of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller --- who presided over the trial political prosecution of former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) --- as the George W. Bush lifetime appointee to the federal bench attempts to avoid his own prosecution all together after having been recently arrested on charges of beating his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room.

Plus: The latest on the GOP's Photo ID voting battle in WI; Rick Perry's latest "oops"; the newly published, secretly-recorded audio tapes revealing, once again, how the Republicans and the Koch Brothers now have a death-grip on democracy; and, as usual, the latest Green News Report with the lovely Desi Doyen, and a few other things.

Lots of news, muck-raking and trouble-making in just under 58 minutes. Please enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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If Officer Darren Wilson did nothing inappropriate in gunning down Michael Brown, why the after-the-fact cover-up of the details?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2014 12:28pm PT  

As noted previously, I am originally from (and embarrassed for) St. Louis County, MO. Recently, I spoke to a family member for the first time since the mess blew up in Ferguson, and she told me that, while troubled by it, she was willing to "wait until all the information came out" before passing judgment one way or another.

But, as I explained, there is no need to wait. Judgment may already be passed. No matter we may later learn, the police in Ferguson and St. Louis County broke the law and violated their own written policies by not detailing what happened in an Incident Report after Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson gunned down Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, in the middle of the street more than two weeks ago.

That, pretty much, tells you all you need to know in order to pass judgment. Whatever happened during that tragic afternoon, the local police immediately began either covering it up or lying about it. How else to explain the lack of an Incident Report, which must be filed after any such incident?

After the shooting, many wondered why the police hadn't released their Incident Report of the event to the public. After all, they released a full report, and surveillance video, from a convenience store incident where they allege Brown had shoplifted some cigars just minutes prior to his killing. So, where was the Incident Report describing the matter in which Wilson shot Brown dead just minutes later during an unrelated confrontation on the street? We now know there was no such report, at least according to the documents finally released by the police themselves. The laughably terse "Incident Report" eventually released by the St. Louis County Police (the Ferguson Police never released one of their own), includes little more than a date and an address where the shooting occurred, but no other information about what actually happened.

Moreover, dates on the few documents released make it fairly plain that the Incident Report released to the public, bereft of actual information about the, ya know, incident, was filed some two weeks after the actual killing.

In a long, detailed and meticulously-documented post at PhotographyIsNotACrime.com (PINAC) on Monday, Charlie Grapski outlines a string of public records requests he filed with Ferguson and St. Louis County police in an attempt to get at the Incident Report (and other documents) related to Brown's shooting.

The upshot: there were no contemporaneous reports of the incident at best, or, more nefariously, there was an Incident Report, but the local police have since destroyed it, or are otherwise covering the entire affair up by not releasing it to the public and lying about it...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/25/2014 5:32pm PT  

Trying to make sense of all the different court rulings in Wisconsin on their partisan Photo ID voting laws? We'll try to unpack that for you.

The short version: Two different state trial courts found the GOP's Photo ID restriction on voting to be a violation of the state constitution's right to vote. A federal trial court (aka U.S. District Court) similarly found the law to be a violation of various parts of the U.S. Constitution.

The partisan WI state Supreme Court recently overturned the decisions in the two state cases --- literally re-writing the law as they did so (yes, actually legislating from the bench on behalf of Republicans). Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, whom recent polls suggest is in a virtual dead heat with his Democratic challenger Mary Burke, then asked the federal appellate court to immediately overturn the U.S. District Court's injunction, which still blocks implementation of Wisconsin's Photo ID law.

Last week, the federal appellate court turned down Walker's request that it immediately overturn the federal injunction. Wisconsin election officials are, at present, still barred from enforcing the controversial law in the Badger State.

Specifically, last week, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal issued an order [PDF] in which it refused an emergency stay of the federal court decision permanently enjoining Wisconsin's partisan Photo ID law prior to oral arguments on the merits of the state's federal appeal. Yes, the state not only appealed the adverse ruling in the two state cases (successfully), but they also appealed the initial federal court decision as well.

The permanent injunction in federal court was issued earlier this year by U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman who, in a landmark 90-page decision and order [PDF] following a full trial, found that the Republican-enacted Photo ID law violated the U.S. Constitution and that it was "absolutely clear" that it "will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

Last month, following the issuance of the two decisions by the sharply divided and extraordinarily partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court which lifted the state court injunctions in two different state cases --- Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP vs. Walker [PDF] and League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker [PDF] --- Walker filed his Expedited Motion for a Stay Pending Appeal of the Permanent Injunction [PDF] in the federal appellate court.

In it's ruling last week, the 7th Circuit upheld the portion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions which changed the law by directing the state's Department of Motor Vehicles to issue Photo ID cards sans requiring documents, such as birth certificates, for which the elector had previously been required to pay a fee to a government agency. That issue, however, is only one of the reasons why U.S. District Court Judge Adelman initially found the polling place Photo ID law constitutionally infirm. While we will have to await a final decision --- and even that decision will, no doubt, make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court eventually --- the current ruling issued last week suggests that the 7th Circuit did not see that one single issue as sufficient to immediately stay Judge Adelman's permanent injunction in federal court.

The 7th Circuit will hear oral arguments on September 12 --- less than two months prior to the November General Election. It is likely the 7th Circuit will expedite its decision. Stay tuned!

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By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2014 2:34pm PT  

In response to concerns about the militarization of local police, which America has seen on shameful display in Ferguson, MO following the police killing of Michael Brown, President Obama indicated during a presser last Monday that there could be some change coming.

"There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those line blurred," he said about the horses which long ago left the barn. "That would be contrary to our traditions."

He added: "I think that there will be some bi-partisan interest in re-examining some of those programs."

On Saturday, Obama announced an official review of the Pentagon's "1033 Program" which, since 1990, has transferred, for free, some $4 billion worth of surplus military equipment, such as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, armored Humvees, high-caliber weapons, aircraft, armed drones and silencers, to local law enforcement agencies around the country. As CNN has just reported:

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of programs allowing for state and local enforcement to buy military equipment, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The decision follows public criticism of the use of such assets recently in Ferguson, Missouri.

The review will touch on several points, including

-- Whether such programs and funding are appropriate;

-- Whether state and local enforcement agencies have the necessary training and guidance after getting such equipment;

-- Whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.

White House staff --- including members of the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget --- will lead the review in coordination with Congress, according to the official.

Reuters adds that "relevant U.S. agencies including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury," will also participate in the review.

Last week, we reported on the small, but seemingly growing bi-partisan support for re-thinking the federal militarization of local law enforcement agencies. The rightwing New American, citing some of our coverage, has more on the bi-partisan calls for reform, noting that the "SWAT Lobby" (yes, apparently there's a "SWAT Lobby") is now working to defend the program.

On this week's BradCast we interviewed Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a proponent of blocking the transfer of this kind of militarized equipment and for including accountability measures for the billions of dollars worth of equipment which has already been given to local agencies.

"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told us during the interview on KPFK/Pacifica Radio. "We've been flooding the streets with this surplus military weaponry, and I think the situation in Ferguson exemplifies what happens when you have too much powerful equipment in the hands of folks who don't have the judgment or the training to utilize it properly." (Full interview here.)

The latest version of Johnson's "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] is here. The Congressman had begun work on the legislation long before Ferguson erupted, but is finally receiving recognition for that effort. Now, it seems, he and other proponents may have some support from the White House. But, we'll see. These "reviews" have a way of disappearing into the ether. Legislation like Johnson's, on the other hand, is what is needed to really make a difference in this shameful practice, which has, in truth, become little more than a way around the long-standing Posse Comitatus Act (1878) which expressly limited the use of federal military personnel to enforce local and state laws.

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