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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


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

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2010 6:10pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

Tonight, it's been announced, the last U.S. "combat brigade" has left Iraq, some 7 years, 4 months and 29 days after they were sent there for specious and deadly reasons by the Administration of George W. Bush.

Coincidentally, it is just over 5 years to the day since 14 Marines from a base in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Brook Park were killed by a roadside a bomb in Iraq. The incident, the deadliest bombing there at the time, when "just" 1,820 U.S. troops had died to date, led Bush to tell "the people of Brook Park" that he "hope[d] they also take comfort in the understanding that the sacrifice was made in a noble cause."

That statement brought one very courageous woman --- Cindy Sheehan, whose son had also been killed in Iraq --- down to Crawford, Texas, where Bush had been vacationing at his ranch, in hopes of asking him in person "what noble cause" her son, and those from Cleveland, and from so many other cities and towns around the U.S., had died for.

Sheehan faced down an extraordinary gathering of seething hatred on the blistering hot Central Texas prairie for several weeks in response, in hopes of getting an answer from her son's Commander-in-Chief to that simple question. (And yes, it was nothing short of seething hatred, which we saw first-hand as we covered the extraordinary moment on the ground for this blog and during more than 50 hours of live radio broadcasts, smack dab in the center of it all.) She was joined, in support, by dozens of other family members of the fallen, scores of U.S. Armed Service veterans and thousands of regular, patriotic U.S. citizens on that cow pasture near Bush's home.

5 years later, nearly to the day, after that extraordinary summer and extraordinary display of American courage, the last U.S. "combat troops," we're told, have left Iraq, leaving "just" 50,000 behind, theoretically for logistical and training purposes.

4,415 U.S. troops, including U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, never came home from Iraq. At least not alive. Tens of thousands more have had their lives forever shattered due to permanent physical and emotional injury. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis were also slaughtered and maimed in the bargain.

And tonight, after all of that time, we're still left wondering: What was that "noble cause"?

* * *

UPDATE 8/19/10: NYU's Nir Rosen tweets wryly: "american combat troops pull out of iraq. the remaining fifty thousand are armed only with sticks, fly swatters, pepper spray and nunchucks"

And we later followed with: "Last one out of Iraq, turn out the lights (as soon as they get electricity back)."

Video from MSNBC's exclusive coverage of the last U.S. "combat brigade" leaving Iraq and entering into Kuwaiit follows below...

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




By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2010 5:05pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On Sunday, Brad Friedman posted a "Toon of the moment" in which a hypnotist sits dangling a watch in front of two stupified voters as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) look on. The hypnotist tells the voters:

You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back...

Replace the hypnotist and watch with "illegal immigrants" or a "Ground Zero Mosque" (what the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten refers to as a "rising tide of Nativism") and the cartoon would be equally spot on, though this form of hypnosis is utilized by the billionaire-funded hard-right not only to "forget" the disaster that was the Bush/Cheney cabal but to avoid a debate on the Republicans' cold and heartless, class-based decisions to oppose an extension of unemployment benefits, to block funds for state governments intended to prevent a layoff of thousands of teachers, to block vital environmental legislation, to engage in never-ending privatization schemes, which by design are intended to destroy government's ability to provide vital public services (police, fire, health care, education), and to repeatedly level false charges of insolvency as part of their scheme to permit the thieves of Wall Street to raid the Social Security trust fund.

Those who are rational and see the mosque as an issue of First Amendment religious freedoms (and common sense) fail to appreciate the visceral appeal of Republican race-baiting, which, in the case of the mosque, seeks to tap into a deep-seated, cultural anxiety that has been created not only by 9/11 but --- as I explained in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization" here at The BRAD BLOG, and in its follow-up --- by the vilification of Arabs and Muslims in books, films and on television over a span of decades. It was this same deep-seated and subconscious loathing which permitted the Bush/Cheney cabal to conflate Saddam Hussein --- just another swarthy, mid-Eastern bad guy --- with al Qaeda for the purpose of invading Iraq.

The politics of Republican fear-mongering and race-baiting exploits cultural dehumanization so as to conflate all Muslims with 9/11. The result is a perversion of that seminal event --- which, even under the Bush/Cheney Administration's own "official theory," entailed only al Qaeda --- into an unprovoked assault by the Muslim world on "Christian America."

"You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back..."

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2010 10:50am PT  

Really, really dumb:

Waukesha - Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' decision to go it alone in how she collects and maintains election results has some county officials raising a red flag about the integrity of the system.

Nickolaus said she decided to take the election data collection and storage system off the county's computer network - and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office - for security reasons.

"What it gave me was good security of the elections from start to finish, without the ability of someone unauthorized to be involved," she said.

Nonetheless, Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county's information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus' claim that the system is secure from failure.

"How does anybody else in the county know, except for her verbal word, that there are backups, and that the software she has out there is performing as it should?" he said. "There's no way I can assure that the election system is going to be fine for the next presidential election."

Cummings stressed that the voting process at local polling places is not in question. However, municipal clerks send their election night results by dial-up modem to the county clerk, where they are tabulated and stored.
...
Several years ago, Nickolaus discontinued reporting election results on her county website for individual municipalities, as was done under the prior clerk.

Hopefully, the citizens and county administrators in Waukesha County, Wisconsin (adjacent to Milwaukee) will realize how completely insane it is to allow one person, County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (R), to have complete, unfettered, un-observable, un-overseeable control of such public information, and are willing to do something about it.

For the record, for just one tiny reason why election officials are not to simply be "trusted" (as the very best ones will tell you), here's the story of former Monterey County (CA) Clerk Tony Anchundo. And, if that's not enough, feel free to peruse the story of Clay County (KY) Clerk Freddy Thompson. Just let us know if you need more.

What part of 'public official' and 'public elections' to these sorts of folks not get???

[Hat-tip to Milwaukee's election integrity watchdog and periodic BRAD BLOG guest blogger John Washburn]

* * *

Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...




By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2010 11:45am PT  

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG toon sherpa, Pokey Anderson]




By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2010 8:45pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Sorry, Mr. Gibbs, but your description of a "professional left" whose critiques of your boss, President Barack Obama, should be disregarded as the "crazy" musings of "people who ought to be drug tested" reflects that you are both authoritarian and out-of-touch.

The vast majority of citizens who supported the President in 2008 favor positions on policies that are far more progressive than anything which has emerged from either the corporate-controlled Democratic "leadership" in Congress or the Obama White House. The majority of Americans are by no means obligated to ignore the "democracy deficit" or the betrayal of the President's promise to bring "change we can believe in."

While one can readily agree that many of the Obama administration's policies are an improvement over those which are advanced by the reactionary fascist billionaires, and their mindless "Tea Party" followers, there are many instances in which the policies of the current administration threaten more harm than those of its predecessor. E.g,, those documented by a recent ACLU report (see Democracy Now video below) in which the current administration has created policies that may "enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration."

Perhaps most disturbing is that the President's zeal to please his true constituency --- corporate America, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex --- comes from the same Presidential candidate whose soaring and lofty, yet deceptive campaign rhetoric gave rise to hope in so many that Election Day 2008 would mark a return to economic fairness, transparency, a restoration of the rule of law, an end to the fear-driven perpetual "war on terror," and a restoration of nature's ecological balance.

The title of Studs Turkel's powerful book is Hope Dies Last.

Even during the darkest days of the Bush/Cheney cabal, there was the hope that the foundering American ship of state could be righted by way of the electoral process. By raising the hopes of the American people during the course of the 2008 campaign, only to dash those hopes by betraying his own rhetoric, President Obama has, in some measure, caused more harm than the Bush/Cheney regime...

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2010 9:05am PT  

Via Ezra Klein:




By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2010 1:02pm PT  

The conservative victories in favor of the Constitution and equal rights for all continue, as the Reagan/Bush I-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has just ruled that same-sex marriages in California may resume once again as of 5pm PDT, August 18th.

Opponents of equality have until then to appeal the decision at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Walker's ruling today follows his recent ruling which found that the state's Prop 8 constitutional amendment banning such marriages is in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses.

* * *

• The court's 11-page ruling, lifting his temporary stay, is now here [PDF].
CNN coverage
MSNBC coverage
Fox "News" coverage (emphasizing possibility of appeal)




By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2010 5:29pm PT  

[As noted, I'm on the road this month, so blogging has been catch as catch can for me while on the roll. Have had terrible net access from the road of late. So apologies for the lateness of this one --- and others I've been trying, but failing, to log over last day or three, but haven't been able to. But better posting this here late, rather than never. For the record.]

The host of Late Night with David Letterman, during his interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last week, used uncharacteristically harsh language to describe the discredited Rightwing hitman, race-baiter and pathological liar Andrew Breitbart. Yes, he called him an asshole...





By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2010 12:05pm PT  

Seriously, what part of "conservative values" and the "U.S. Constitution" do Fox "News" "conservatives" not get?

As we've been pointing out for years, and as we re-iterated yet again on Wednesday when CA's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage was found to be unconstitutional by a Reagan/Bush I-appointed federal judge, the ruling was "Great news for real conservatives who believe in the U.S. Constitution and its guarantee of equal protection under the law!"

Poor Fox "News" viewers, however, have been so obscenely and opportunistically disinformed for so many years about what "conservatism" actually means (basically, they've been told by the Fox/GOP opportunists that Republicanism is the same thing as conservatism, when it's usually anything but, and foolish folks on the non-Right have continued that fiction by describing them as "conservatives"), that they've had a next-to-impossible time wrapping their grotesquely disinformed brains around what last Wednesday's extremely conservative ruling actually means.

The scam that has been played on wingnuts --- inaccurately and opportunistically conflating Republicanism with Conservatism --- has rarely been more clear than it was on Fox News Sunday today, when anchor Chris Wallace's "conservative" disinformation train ran smack-dab into the brick wall of conservative facts and reality offered by Theodore Olson, George W. Bush's former Solicitor General (he of the infamous Bush v. Gore), who happens to be the plaintiff's victorious lead attorney in the Prop 8 case.

So, we'll ask again: What part of "conservative values" and the "U.S. Constitution" do Fox "News" "conservatives" not get? As we've got many such disinformed phony "conservatives" trolling us here at The BRAD BLOG, we'll look eagerly forward, as always, to their amusing, self-defeating, non-conservative, anti-Constitutional comments in reply to this video [courtesy of RAW STORY]...


Watch this video on iPhone/iPad




'Targeted Assassinations' Threaten Very Foundation of Our Republic...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/6/2010 8:06am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"There's no difference between one's killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It's exactly the same thing, or even worse." - Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir

In a March 25, 2009 article, "Prosecute or Perish," in which I urged that "the survival of our Constitutional Democracy may hinge on factually justified criminal prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal," and again in "Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy," I took dead aim at the sophistry employed by President Barack Obama to evade his constitutionally mandated obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed. The same Harvard Law School-educated President who said that, in torture, America had lost its "moral bearings," suggested we must only look forward --- an "illogical formulation [that] was incompatible with the very essence of the rule of law."

I was naive. I thought the President was merely evading his constitutional obligation out of political expediency; that he actually intended to restore the rule of law and salvage what was left of our nation's honor.

A growing body of evidence, including confirmation contained in the recently exposed Afghan "Pentagon Papers," suggests the President did not look back at his predecessor's war crimes because he saw, in the failure to prosecute, the ground work for his own round of "Unitary Executive" lawlessness --- an expanded, illegal and increasingly covert "war on terror" in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of paramilitary assassins, operating in secret and beyond the rule of law, carry out targeted killings of "suspected" terrorists on a global scale --- a program that has already produced massive collateral casualties amongst innocent civilians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Worse, as revealed by a newly filed lawsuit, the Obama administration has moved beyond the Bush/Cheney cabal's assertion of unchecked Executive lawlessness in the form of extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and torture. The Obama administration has now not only asserted a right to assassinate anyone that the Executive branch labels a terrorist, including U.S. citizens, but has gone so far as to place lawyers in legal jeopardy should they seek a court order to block an extrajudicial execution unless the executive branch grants the lawyer permission to do so...

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2010 11:36am PT  

The news this summer has largely focused on an unstoppable, slimy, toxic, oozing gusher polluting our nation. That, and on the BP oil disaster.

As to the unstoppable, slimy, toxic, oozing gusher, the Associated Press has continued in the recent tradition of its failed corporate media brethren by gracing Rightwing propagandist Andrew Breitbart with yet another puff profile piece today. The more Breitbart reveals himself to be a fully-discredited, pathological-liar, race-baiter and opportunist, it seems, the more the corporate media regard him as a player in modern Republican politics. That kind of makes sense when you think about it.

If one regards the "crazy-cons" that have become today's GOP as little more than one half of today's Right/Left, Red/Blue, Republican/Democratic, Conservative/Liberal "politics as usual" --- if, by "usual", one means the years immediately proceeding the American Civil War --- then why not offer another friendly profile to one of the four top leaders of that once-legitimate party? (The others being Beck, Limbaugh and Palin.)

So that's what AP's Michael R. Blood did today.

Since we tell the truth here at The BRAD BLOG, rather than just make shit up, and were, in no small part, somewhat responsible for helping to demonstrate to the nation that Breitbart's only actually "successful" disinfo campaign --- his faked ACORN "Pimp" Hoax tapes --- were completely phony, the AP has neither profiled us, nor even called us for comment as a "critic" of Breitbart's for their story. (They haven't issued corrections for their myriad of articles which misreported the ACORN story either, for that matter).

All of that makes sense, of course, because, as Media Matter's Eric Boehlert points out today, "in [their] 2,100-word profile coming in the wake of Breitbart's Sherrod debacle, the AP only set aside 13 of those words to quote a Breitbart critic."

And even those 13 words --- reported by Blood as "Critics said the heavily edited [ACORN] tapes shaped a deceptive narrative" --- are quickly made moot by AP as little more than an indeterminable, open-ended, he-said/she-said "charge Breitbart denies". Close enough for corporate mainstream media work, apparently.

Boehlert describes it this way...

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2010 10:15am PT  

Ditto:

If We Cared About The Women And Children Of The World

It would be far better to spend $100 billion per year granting them political asylum and paying for their transport and relocation to the US than invading their countries and caressing them with our freedom bombs.

Or you could come up thousands of other ways to spend $100 billion all of which would be almost infinitely better than invading their countries and caressing them with our freedom bombs if we cared about the women and children of the world.

So when an asshole like [Time magazine's managing editor] Rick Stengel suggests we must stay in Afghanistan otherwise more girls will be mutilated even though we're currently in Afghanistan and poor girls are still being tragically mutilated, I don't think that's the real reason he thinks we should be there.




Where is the apology to ACORN, done in by very same deceptively-edited video fraud, published by very same pimp?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2010 12:35pm PT  

We missed this originally on Monday while on the road (where we still are, driving through the blistering hot TX panhandle today, God save us), but it's still worth watching today in case you missed it. Looks like Obama needs to fire Hillary Clinton, according to Colbert, just as Obama fired Shirley Sherrod and just as he signed legislation defunding ACORN --- in both cases, for having done nothing wrong.

I also feel obligated to note again --- since it seems almost nobody else is doing so (Salon's Joe Conason being one of the very few exceptions) --- that it's been more than a week since Barack Obama apologized to former USDA official Shirley Sherrod for having fired her from her job after Rightwing shyster Andrew Breitbart published a deceptively-edited video fraudulently targeting her.

However, it's been about ten months since Obama signed legislation defunding ACORN --- with hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs outrageously sacrificed in the bargain --- after Rightwing shyster Andrew Breitbart published deceptively-edited videos targeting them. Deceptively edited videos, I should add, in which the only criminal activities shown were those by Breitbart's employees who secretly video taped ACORN workers in violation of the law in several states.

And yet, there has still been no apology by Obama to ACORN, no funding restored, and very few of those in the media who (appropriately) chided Obama for having prematurely forced Sherrod to resign without learning the facts of the case have bothered to do same in regard to ACORN, even though it was the same scam, run by the very same pimp.

Is it because the MSM are too lazy? Too stupid? Or too embarrassed because they too fell for the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax and have yet to apologize for having done so?

Either way, The BRAD BLOG does not intend to let Obama off the hook, and I hope you'll join us in that effort.




By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2010 11:00am PT  

As the Washington Post continues its shameful drift farther and farther to the right, it has long demonstrated the inability to use the "L" word, no matter how appropriate, and even seemed to support rightwing propagandist Andrew Breitbart's deceptively edited hit-video on Shirley Sherrod last week, long after everyone else had come to realize it was a hoax. So it was nice to see E.J. Dionne's column in WaPo on Monday in which he actually used the correct words to identify the facts of the matter.

He used the words "right-wing propaganda," as in the headline for his column: "Enough right-wing propaganda." That's right. What Andrew Breitbart and his ilk do is not opinion, it's not "conservative journalism" or even "activism." It's propaganda. And it's certainly not "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination. It's right-wing. There is nothing "conservative" about it.

Using a phrase akin to the ones we've applied to Breitbart for a very long time, Dionne went on to refer to him, accurately, as a "right-wing hit man," as in: "The administration's response to the doctored video pushed by right-wing hit man Andrew Breitbart was shameful."

And then, the "L" word appeared in the pages of the Washington Post. Finally. As Dionne appropriately used the word "liars," as in: "When an outlandish charge for which there is no evidence is treated as an on-the-one-hand-and-on-the-other-hand issue, the liars win."

Good for Dionne. I suspect he'll be fired immediately.




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