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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Facebook Rightwinger Has 'Questions' for 'American Leftists' on 'Voter ID'
We can't speak for 'American Leftists', but we're happy to answer this terribly disinformed dude's 'questions'...
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GOP operative linked to years of registration fraud allegations sends bizarre email after yet another arrest of one of his workers...
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Resignation or Impeachment Would Be a Gift for Wife-Beating Judge Mark Fuller
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Audio of 911 Call from Judge Mark Fuller's Wife as She's Heard Repeatedly Struck
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'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...
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Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


From misreporting to no reporting at all, questions keep mounting for the 'paper of record' about their bizarre record of failure on the ACORN story
UPDATED: AP article on decision appears on NYTimes.com website...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2010 9:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 The BRAD BLOG posted breaking coverage about U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon’s finding that day, that the Congressional funding ban on ACORN was an unconstitutional bill of attainder. Her finding included an order to resume federal funding to the community group which has been targeted by a years-long GOP smear campaign.

A March 10 AP story covering Judge Gershon's finding appeared in the March 11 edition of the Washington Post.

It's now Wednesday, March 17 --- a full week since the historic ruling was issued by a federal judge (in New York, of all places) yet, not one word about the ruling has appeared in the New York Times, America's so-called "paper of record."

What's wrong with this picture?

[Update 3/19/2010: See "Correction/Clarification" at end of article. The Times appears to have run something on this, at least a version of the AP's coverage, at least on their website, if not in their print editions, after all. See below for more details and one encouraging point to go with it. - BF]

As we now know, the NYTimes has misreported the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax story time and again since last fall, yet both their Senior Editor for Standards, Greg Brock, as seen in emails published by The BRAD BLOG, and their Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt, as seen in emails also published by The BRAD BLOG, have both refused to issue or recommend corrections despite being shown the gross, factual inaccuracies in the paper's coverage.

Furthermore, Gershon's decision last week heavily referenced a report [PDF] by the former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, released on December 7 of last year, finding no criminality by ACORN workers as seen in the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped videos released last year by James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart. The publication of those videos led to the unconstitutional legislation undone last week by Gershon. Yet the New York Times has never so much as mentioned the Harshbarger report in its pages either.

So, again, I ask: what's wrong with this picture?

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2010 1:35pm PT  

On the road for much of today (and for much of this week, actually), so no time to make the argument for it, other than just to mention it, for the moment, and let others run with the ball if inclined.

With Justice John Paul Stevens now said to be preparing to retire, how about a movement to call on Obama to replace him with George Washington University Law School's Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley?

Turley's blog is here, his bio is here, his Wikepedia entry is here.

Pros? Cons? (If anyone in comments would like to link to any of Turley's many important media appearances on video --- particularly during the Bush years and particularly on the issue of the unconstitutionality of torture, war crimes, spying, and on the failure by the Obama administration to undo those policies and/or hold accountable those who implemented them --- it would be very welcome, as I've got to hit the road right now.)

P.S. Looks like there was a similar call for Turley to be named to the high court in 2009 when David Souter retired and was ultimately replaced by Sonia Sotomayor. A DailyKos blogger called a Turley appointment a "no brainer" at the time, and a Facebook page was created here in support of the notion. Might be time to freshen up that Facebook page!

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Judgment Grants ACORN Declaratory, Permanent Injunctive Relief
Slams Congress for acting without administrative process or trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2010 9:30pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The government has offered no...unique reason to treat ACORN differently from other contractors accused of serious misconduct or to bar ACORN from federal funding without either a judicial trial or an administrative process applicable to all government contractors."

That was the finding in the judgment [PDF] issued late today by U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon, granting both declaratory relief and a permanent injunction to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

The court declared that the provisions of the "FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act," an amalgam of six separate bills which President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 16, 2009, which sought to strip ACORN of their right to enter future contracts with the U.S. government and to deprive them of all federal funding, save what had already been earned on existing contracts, amounted to an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution.

Gershon's decision comes on the heels of a recent string of legal and public relations exhonerations for the community group which has long been targeted by the GOP, in large part, for their successful work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income voters who tend to favor Democratic candidates...

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The latest chapter of a 40-year assault on Constitutional Democracy
And the long overdue effort by the People to reclaim their democratic heritage...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/19/2010 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The American people already believe that corporate special interests and their lobbyists run the show around here. I mean, the halls are crawling with them. But that’s not enough. Now the Court says to the big banks, to the drug companies, to the insurance companies, ‘Hey, all bets are off, and it’s open season. Our elections are for sale.’ A law won’t fix this; we have to fix it in the Constitution. So today I’ll introduce a constitutional amendment so that we, the people, can take back our elections and our democracy."
-- Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1/28/10

In "Activist U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Official, We're Now 'The Corporate States of America'", Brad Friedman, along with so many others, expressed alarm over the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission [PDF], as well he should have.

Notwithstanding the sophistries offered by Jan Witold Baran, who neglected to mention in his Jan. 26, 2010 New York Times editorial that he is a former general counsel for the Republican National Committee, it is clear from the broad language applied by the five-member majority of the Supreme Court that Citizens United calls into question the validity of all laws which seek to prohibit or even limit the ability of corporate bought-and-paid-for candidates to flood the airwaves with the corporate message, either directly or through corporate-purchased propaganda time slots; an ability that can drown out the right of citizens to see and hear those who do not tow the corporate line.

As I will explain in this first of a series of articles, this ruling perverts the very reason why the framers included "freedom of the press" in the First Amendment to the Constitutional amendments.

Unfortunately, as I will also explain in this series, the ruling in Citizens United was not unexpected. To the contrary, it is but the latest salvo in a 40 year, billionaire-funded assault on the very foundations of our constitutional republic and the rule of law.

A belated effort to reclaim our basic heritage has emerged via a move to amend the Constitution to overcome the devastating impact of Citizens United. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig argues that a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United will not be enough; that we have to overcome what he describes as "the economy of influence" which now controls Congress. Lessig has called for a new Constitutional Convention. Another activist group, The Peace Team, has denounced the decision in Citizens United as an "act of treason." The Peace Team features an on-line petition calling for the impeachment of the five members of the Supreme Court who signed onto the majority opinion.

Regardless of where one stands on these efforts, a full appreciation of the big picture may be required before an effective movement can counter the well-funded and well organized assault on liberty...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2010 6:16am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

While I've always had the utmost respect for Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger, I must admit that the first time I watched his video, "Obama is a corporate marketing creation," I thought that, in implying that the President was some type of CIA-connected Manchurian Candidate, Pilger was a bit over the top.

In 1983 Obama went to work for "Business International Corporation," which, according to Pilger, had "a long history of providing cover for the CIA and infiltrating unions on the left." Though Pilger conceded that there "might be nothing sinister" in that, he cited Obama's failure to identify Business International by name or what he did there in Dreams of My Father. The President simply said he worked at “a consulting house to multinational corporations.” Coupling this with a litany of examples which place Obama on the wrong side of Empire and the corporate divide, Pilger implied the connection was not coincidental, then concluded his remarks by quoting Chris Hedges:

President Obama does one thing and brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they make you feel.

Perhaps it's an accumulation of all that has transpired this past year; perhaps it's the striking revelations that emerged during an extraordinary Feb. 2, 2010, broadcast of Democracy Now, especially as it pertains to torture (video below), but I now can't help feeling like Claire Kubik, the sharp attorney played by Ashley Judd in High Crimes who starts out vigorously defending her husband Tom (Jim Cazviel) against charges he murdered innocent civilians in a covert military operation. She's convinced the man she married has been wrongfully accused; convinced of his innocence until, almost when it's too late, she learns the man she thought she knew so well was a murderous sociopath.

Who is this guy whose election so many so happily celebrated on a brisk November evening that now seems so long ago?...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/27/2010 8:16am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As the community group ACORN, which is accused of no federal felonies, awaits a decision on the release of federal funds that they were unconstitutionally barred from receiving, according to a federal judge, the man who apparently videotaped some of their employees illegally and then released highly edited and misleading versions of those illegally obtained tapes now faces federal felony charges related to wiretapping a U.S. Senator....

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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2010 10:50pm PT  

Never thought I'd miss the 2000s, but if this week is any indication of what's to come, can we please roll back the clock?

Hundreds of thousands died in Haiti. Detainees were revealed to have been murdered in American custody at Gitmo. Democracy died again in Diebold's Massachusetts. A faint hope for reviving the death of the public's airwaves dies yet again as Air America dies. And the U.S. Supreme Court commits mass murder of everbody and everything else that had still been left teetering.

Worse. Week. Ever.

As it happened, I was previously scheduled to be a guest on Peter B. Collins' podcast yesterday to discuss MA. Suffice to say, the conversation ended up a bit broader, and a great deal darker.

If you'd like to listen, if you can stand to, it's now posted here...

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'We the People' lose, 'You the Corporations' Win...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2010 11:00am PT  

"The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissenting opinion on today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, which will overturn decades of established campaign finance law.

"Threatens to"? That could be the understatement of the century. But this is what comes of not counting election results. We can thank, among a long list of others, John Kerry for having rolled over in Ohio in 2004.

In a 5 to 4 decision today, by an activist U.S. Supreme Court that actually requested to make a decision to hear this matter, despite the fact that the original case brought to them had little to do with their larger, most destructive finding, has decided that corporations may give as much money as they wish to federal election campaigns.

This would be 'Game Over,' folks, for those who believe in "We the People," rather than "We the Corporations," unless a movement like the one launched today at MoveToAmend.org (on which we are an original signer) can gain traction. You can (and must) join the call by signing on at FreeSpeechForPeople.org as well.

Some key quotes from today's ruling, which pretty much encapsulate the entire horrifying story:

In the majority opinion of the court, Justice Kennedy writes: "The Court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations."

Concurring, Chief Justice Roberts wrote of his fear that if the decision had gone the other way, "First Amendment rights could be confined to individuals, subverting the vibrant public discourse that is at the foundation of our democracy."

...And Justice Scalia, equating corporate money with free speech wrote "We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate."

In dissent, Justice Stevens wrote "While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics."

We will, no doubt have more on this soon (currently buried in a number of other items and still on road). In the meantime, we're sure the "grass roots" Tea Baggers, outraged by corporate money special interests, will be infuriated by this decision, light up new protests in every town in every state in the union, and demand that our country be returned to "We the People" as the founders envisioned.

Right?

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By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2010 2:12pm PT  

Was on the road all day Friday...Here was the view from Holbrook, New Mexico...

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UPDATE: NYTimes buries Story, gives last word to wingnuts...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2009 4:15pm PT  

Earlier this month, a two-month independent investigation of ACORN, by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, found incidents of mismanagement, but no criminal wrongdoing by ACORN, the favorite whipping boy of Republican scammers such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the GOP itself. That investigation (full report here [PDF]) also found that the "sting videos" used recently against ACORN were highly doctored and manipulated.

Of course, readers of The BRAD BLOG know the Republicans' entire, long, sad, anti-democratic (small "d" and large "d" both) campaign is based on little more than the fact that ACORN registers millions of legal low and middle income voters who tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic (large "d") rather than Republican, and the GOP and their democracy-hating proxies will go to any lengths to keep those legal voters from exercising their legal franchise.

And today, once again, ACORN is cleared of wrongdoing vis a vis yet another independent investigation, this one by the Congressional Research Service [PDF], as noted in a press release from U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers this afternoon (posted in full below).

Of most note to our readers, Conyers' statement points out what we've been pointing out - over and over and over again for years: "There were no instances of individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees and who were reported 'attempting to vote at the polls.'" Who knew?! What a surprise! (At least to Fox "News" viewers, who probably won't hear about this report either.)

Also: "No instances were identified in which ACORN 'violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years.'"

And: "Recently enacted federal legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The courts 'may have a sufficient basis' to conclude that the legislation 'violates the prohibition against bills of attainder.'" That finding is one that a federal judge also recently concurred with, when she issued an injunction earlier this month to keep the law from taking affect since ACORN had "been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt."

Finally, according to today's report, Andrew "Drudge's Poodle" Breitbart's phony video-taped "sting operation" against ACORN may, itself, have violated the law in both California and Maryland, about which we might ironically recommend to prosecutors: "Capital punishment" for Andrew Breitbart!

The short press release from Conyers, announcing the new report's bullet points, follows below...

UPDATE: And coverage of the NYTimes burial of this report, now follows below it...

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Will call for 'War Powers Resolution' in House to help 'End the War'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/10/2009 9:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"We cannot afford these wars. We cannot afford the loss of lives. We cannot afford the cost to taxpayers. We cannot afford to fail to exercise our constitutional right to end the wars." So said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in an email on Wednesday, announcing his intention to introduce a privileged resolution in the House in January to "End the War."

He appeared on MSNBC with Ed Schultz (video below) the night before to explain that under President Obama's plan to immediately increase troops levels by 30,000 before beginning a withdrawal in July of 2011 (pending "conditions on the ground" which could extend the occupation for years, as Sec. of Defense Robert Gates recently admitted) we have an "orgy of crime."

"We will be spending at least $150 billion a year, at the costs of many lives, to be able to subsidize a criminal undertaking." What criminal undertaking was Kucinich referring to?...

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But you ain't seen nothin' yet. Just wait for Climate Legislation...
By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2009 1:47pm PT  

David Kurtz at TPM avers "It never stops":

A whopping $1 billion was spent this year --- a non-election year --- on political ads, according to a leading political advertising expert. Most of the money was spent on issue ads, the biggest chunk of that going to health care reform ads, pro and con.

And, guess what? If you think that's bad, just wait until we get to Climate Legislation proper, where the Petroleum Industry, some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the history of civilization --- in no small part, thanks to enormous federal subsidies --- have a direct financial stake in the outcome.

(Yes, the world's most profitable corporations benefit mightily from U.S. government welfare, your tax-payer dollars, to the tune of some $72 billion over the last seven years in permanent subsidies. See the handy chart below the fold to see how those subsidies stack up against other energy industries, such as renewables. Never mind the worldwide recession. Exxon Mobil profited more than $45 billion last year, Chevron $23 billion, and the federal subsidies keep coming nonetheless, even as their stooges in the Tea Party denialist "ClimateGater" crowds have been duped into mindlessly continuing their dirty work for them.)

The Oil and Coal (Fossil Fuel) Industries have played no small part in ginning up the tea bagging fight against health care reform if only because it further serves to stall Climate Legislation.

It's horrible, an abrogation of what the Founding Fathers likely had in mind (nowhere, to my knowledge, does the support for unbridled corporate spending as "free speech" come into play in the Constitution at last read) and yet all signs suggest it's only going to get far worse before it gets any better --- if it ever does.

See the chart below to understand how the federal welfare queens from Exxon Mobil and Chevron et al. make out, thanks to your hard-earned tax dollars, and keep it in mind every time you hear yet another global warming denialist out there --- and even here in comments at The BRAD BLOG --- hoping to punk the world for more such free money and endless, record corporate profits...

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Narrowing margin in post-election canvass raises hopes for GOP/Conservatives, but recent Republican-set precedent may well dash that hope...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2009 12:53am PT  

A potentially interesting situation is underway in New York's 23rd Congressional district where post-election canvassing of the recent Special Election for the U.S. House is still underway.

According to Syracuse's Post-Standard, the post-election canvass shows the race between Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who conceded on Election Night, and Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who was sworn in as the district's new U.S. Congressman last Friday, to be tightening as results are double-checked, errors are being found, and a few thousand absentee ballots are still uncounted.

The race, regarded by many as a a bellwether contest before next year's full Congressional elections, appeared to have swung in the Democrat's favor on Election Night, following the suspension of the campaign of Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava who threw her support to Owens after she'd dropped out just days prior to the election.

On Election Night, Owens was reported to be the "winner" by just over 5,000 votes, with 93 percent of the votes tallied, leading to Hoffman's concession. Since then, various errors have been discovered in at least two different counties, resulting in a gain of some 2,000 votes for the Conservative Party's Hoffman, bringing the latest tally to 66,698 to 63,672. Closer, now a 3,000 vote margin, but still favoring Rep. Owens.

There were, however, some 10,200 absentee ballots requested and distributed. And, as we understand New York's state election laws, none of them have yet been counted. Many of those ballots were purportedly cast when Scozzafava was still in the race. At that time, according to Hoffman's campaign at least, they might have had an edge in the then-three-way contest. So it's possible, though believed to be a long shot, that Hoffman could gain enough votes in absentees to eclipse Owens.

This scenario --- a Congressional candidate quickly sworn in, based on unofficial results shortly after a bellwether Special Election before all votes have been properly counted --- should be a familiar one to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG. A very similar situation occurred in the 2006 race to replace the jailed Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in California's 50th Congressional district.

While Republicans who stood in support of the Conservative Party's Hoffman this year --- he was endorsed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and the Republican Party itself (only after Scozzafava was pressured to drop out) --- are finding some cause for optimism in the still-narrowing margin. Limbaugh certainly has, at least according to his breathless reporting of the goings-on in NY-23 on his show this morning.

But the legal maneuvering and judicial precedent that the then-Republican-led House pulled in the Summer of 2006, in order to keep votes from being counted in the CA-50 Special Election and, indeed, to keep the voters of California from even being able to contest their own election, should ensure that Hoffman can no longer, legally, take possession of the House seat via any challenge in New York --- even if he's eventually found to have received more votes than Owens!...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2009 11:38am PT  

Please see below for Jeremy Scahill at The Nation who, last week, covered the outrageous hypocrisy of federal legislation targeting ACORN (who committed no crimes), while the top 100 government contractors, who made "nearly $300 billion from federal contracts in 2007 alone" paid some "$26 billion in fines to settle cases stemming from fraud, waste or abuse".

By way of contrast with the federally favored criminal corporations, Scahill notes, "Over the past fifteen years, ACORN has received just $53 million in federal funds, much of it for low-income housing." Despite that, "In mid-September all but seventy-five House Democrats and seven senators voted with their Republican colleagues to bar the group from receiving federal funds."

The corporate welfare queens, of course, face no punitive legislative by Congress and are allowed to carry out their waste, fraud, abuse and often extraordinarily criminal behavior while on the tax-payer dole and nobody --- Republican or Democrat --- bats an eye.

Following the Scahill quotage on these points below, you'll find a must-see video clip of Florida's tenacious Rep. Alan Grayson, handing it to his Republican colleagues in a committee hearing this week, for their attempt to pass an "unconstitutional bill of attainder" meant solely to punish the GOP's favorite stalking-horse, ACORN. (See Rachel Maddow's expert coverage on the unconstitutionality of such bills, as posted late last month, for more details.)

Grayson's flat-out, apologetically cold-hearted unwillingness to yield the floor to the disingenuous wingnut cabal, and his shaming of them for pushing such an outrageously unconstitutional bill, is something to behold. Would that he were the model for what all Democrats sounded and acted like on behalf of the people. [Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG reader David Lasagna for the heads-up on that video. Now go watch it below!]

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By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2009 12:25pm PT  

In advance of tomorrow's related story [Update: That story now posted here], I thought you might appreciate a quick look at the following if you've never seen it before. Diane Sawyer narrates the story of FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds as she was awarded the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.

In the bargain, it's also worth remembering that Sawyer herself is at least aware of Edmonds, who she is, and some of what she's had to go through, further begging the question of why ABC News has failed to even note --- much less investigate and/or cover --- the recent revelations of bribery and blackmail of current and former U.S. Congressmembers and high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and the theft and sale of nuclear secrets by agents of Turkey and Israel, as detailed in her sworn deposition in August, and remarkable AmCon cover-story interview which followed it late last month...


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