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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, July 4, 2015
Into the Holiday With a Bang: 'BradCast' 7/2/15
After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
'Green News Report' 7/2/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska, Northwest on fire; Warming oceans linked to NC shark attacks; China, Brazil commit to emissions cuts; PLUS: Fracking companies can now be sued for earthquakes...
Previous GNRs: 6/30/15 - 6/25/15 - Archives...
Ann Who?
The long-overdue irrelevance of Ann Coulter. The former GOP Superstar (and voter fraud queen) just doesn't matter anymore...
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
Sanders Destroyed Fed Chair in 2003
Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on Alan Greenspan during a Congressional hearing. Years later, the Fed Chair admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
Repubs in bind after Papal encyclical on climate; Massive algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries; May 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Goodbye, Eastern Cougar...
Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons: Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
Sanders on 'Democratic Socialism'
'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; RWers freak out about it; India goes solar in big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
TRUMP: THE CANDIDATE
Sure, he's a clown and the latest into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your peril...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
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
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'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...


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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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2014 2:47pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon, with a much better headline than mine...]

Speaking to business leaders in New Hampshire on Friday, where Texas' Republican Gov. Rick Perry believes he's running for President in 2016, he was asked about the two count felony indictment filed by a grand jury against him last week:

Perry was a little unclear when explaining what felony charges were issued against him.

"I've been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really understand the details here," Perry said of the grand jury that indicted him.

A grand jury indicted Perry last week on two felony counts - abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official - over a 2013 veto threat.

It's really not that complicated. The indictment was only two pages, and it's posted below. I'm not an attorney, and I couldn't tell you how strong the case against him is at this point. Some legal experts describe it as weak at best or otherwise questionably Constitutional, even as local TX reporters in paper after paper insist the charges are far more serious than how they are being portrayed by national media. But, without going into the specifics of the case, for now, even I can read a two-page indictment and see that it has nothing to do with "bribery".

Surely Perry knows that, even as he's pleaded "not guilty" to both counts, and has vehemently described the abuse of power charges filed by the grand jury under the auspices of a Republican judge and a special prosecutor who served under President George H.W. Bush, as a Democratic political hit job and an abuse of power in and of itself. (Apparently, he's going with the "I know you are, but what am I?!" defense there.)

So I wouldn't necessarily call Perry's comments in NH just another one of his "oops" moments, but it's certainly bizarre and, I guess, some kind of strategy to somehow belittle the serious charges against him in some way. 'They are so inconsequential and silly I couldn't even be bothered to tell all ya'll what they're about. Bribery? Assault? Murder? Who knows?! By the way, vote for me for President of the United States if ya'll don't mind!'

My prediction: Ricky Perry, if he stays out of jail, will be exactly as crappy of a GOP candidate for President in 2016 as he was in 2012 --- even though he now wears glasses most of the time.

The easy to read, two-page, two-count grand jury felony indictment filed against Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) on 8/15/2014 follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2014 11:09pm PT  

I was joined on this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), to discuss his "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] which he plans to introduce when the U.S. House returns from their endless recess in September.

He's been at work on the bill long before the local "RoboCops" hit the streets when Ferguson, Missouri blew up recently after the police killing of Michael Brown. As Johnson described the legislation in his March 2014 USA Today op-ed, presciently headlined "Small town American shouldn't resemble a war zone", the bill would "ban MRAPs, other armored personnel carriers, drones, assault weapons and aircraft" from being transferred to local police departments under the Pentagon's "1033 Program" and "ensure that the Department of Defense undertakes an annual accounting of what's been transferred, by whom and to whom to prevent military items from being auctioned on eBay or sold to friends."

"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told me during our interview today. "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."

But has the horse already left the barn on this issue? And does the Congressman stand a chance of getting his bill through our broken U.S. Congress, even with some apparent bi-partisan support for curbing police militarization from folks like Republican 2016 Presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, who recently called for the same in a Time magazine op-ed? You'll have to listen below to hear Johnson's thoughts on those questions.

After the Congressman left, I discussed a few other related items, such as the voter registration drive now taking place in Ferguson, and took a bunch of calls on all of the above, including at least one amazing one, in which the caller named "Al" insisted that "minorities are in worse shape than they've ever been" in this country. He says that "since 1965 we have been going down hill as a nation." Hmm... I wonder what might have happened during that year to make him feel that way?

I hope you'll enjoy this week's program...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/19/2014 3:32pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another one bites the dust: Oregon denies proposed coal export facility; It's official: July 2014 was the 4th hottest July on record; Fracking industry illegally using diesel fuel, threatening underground water supplies; PLUS: New report finds Republican officials DO accept climate change, they're just too cowardly to admit it publicly... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Toxic tale of Annie, Fannie, Mike in Toledo's water crisis; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; Solar boom driving global panel shortage; Breakthrough: spray-on PV solar cells; Food giant Kellogg pledges changes to battle climate change; Ford Motor Co. builds Michigan's largest solar array; Jet stream changes again linked to extreme weather around the world ... PLUS: Science FTW: ‘Cosmos’ wins four Emmys, ‘Years Of Living Dangerously’ wins Top Nonfiction Series ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2014 11:36am PT  

The "streets" did not "flare up". The cops in Ferguson flared it up, perhaps, according to pretty much all of the live coverage we followed for hours last night on TV, on the web and, most crucially, on Twitter.

No clue what "problem" Fire Boy above thought he was trying to solve with his 9/11 Wars souvenir, but you can bet it hasn't been solved.

We recently wrote a "Tale of Two Protests" comparing the mostly peaceful protesters of Ferguson, MO following the police shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown, to the threatening armed protests by supporters of scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy in Bunkerville, NV earlier this year.

Where the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the police in Ferguson has resulted, largely, in making the cops look like clowns and idiots for their over-aggressive tactics and firepower (see the front page of today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch above for just the latest example of that buffoonery, here's more), the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the so-called "Tea Party" "patriot" protesters in Bunkerville and their semi-automatic rifles trained on the heads of law enforcement officials, succeeded in little more than making those protesters look like clowns and idiots. It also offered an apparently compelling reason as to why law enforcement "needs" to arm up in response to such deadly, direct threats.

Meanwhile, over at his own blog today, Patrick Blanchfield offers a related observation of the shameful differences between the nation's treatment of a rancher who stole more than a million dollars from the federal government in Bunkerville, versus the kid in Ferguson who was shot at least six times by a police officer after having, allegedly, taking a handful of cigars from a convenience store. And its additionally embarrassing.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2014 6:51pm PT  

[An updated version of this article has now been published by Salon. Updates to the version posted here, following the weekend's developments in Ferguson, are posted at the end of the article.]

On Wednesday night, I had snarked on Twitter about the lack of so-called "Tea Party" "patriots" --- like those brave boys and girls who, earlier this year, pointed their big assault-rifles at federal officials to protect the "right" of a scofflaw rancher in Nevada to illegally graze his cattle for free on land that he did not own --- failing to show up to protect the actual rights and freedoms of so many being denied them by actual Big Government Tyranny in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

Some Rightwingers, like libertarian Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com shot back at me (figuratively) on Twitter, arguing that "The Bundy patriots didn't take BS from the cops. They stood and fought," adding that the Ferguson protesters were facing the "same fight" and, had those protesters only brought guns with them, the police would have backed down. Or something.

"Would the cops be murdering blacks in #Ferguson if the people were armed? No," Raimondo told me, as if he just arrived in the U.S. from some other planet. "Armed resistance tends to discourage aggression," he insisted, between some silly ad hominem bluster in which he charged me with "worship[ing]" the government, and "lov[ing] the state that murders blacks" (also of being a "loser" with a "fat ass" or some such, but that's even easier to laugh at).

And then something changed on the streets of Ferguson Thursday night, which made Raimondo's comments seem even more transparently silly.

After the fully-militarized police were pulled away, ordered by the Missouri Governor to be replaced by grown-ups who marched with the protesters, calm and even jubilance returned to the previously tear gas-filled streets of Ferguson, MO. The contrast on Thursday night from the days prior couldn't have been more stark, according to virtually everyone on the ground there. It was the police, not the protesters, who had exacerbated roiling racial tensions, arrested reporters and needlessly filled the streets with panic and tear gas in the days prior, just as assuredly as it was a Ferguson cop who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teen who was supposedly stopped for nothing more than alleged "Jay Walking".

It was peaceful citizens, with their empty hands in the air --- not pretend "patriots" aiming long guns at the buffoonish, intimidating, embarrassing, jungle-camouflaged-in-exurban-streets cops --- who may ultimately be seen as the ones who helped begin a national rollback of the absurd militarization, perhaps better described as "Hollywoodization," of our nation's law enforcement organizations.

It was not armed resistance, but peaceful resistance that may have brought about real, if tenuous, change in Ferguson, and maybe even the rest of the country...

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

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KS SoS Kris Kobach, GOP 'voter fraud' fraudster bags another...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2014 6:30am PT  

Way to go Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R)! You caught another one!

Last Tuesday, Beth Hiller, a 97 year-old nursing home resident from Topeka, Kansas, boarded a shuttle along with several other residents of the nursing home's health care unit. It was a difficult process for many of the residents, who had limited mobility and depended on wheelchairs or walkers in order to move around. Yet Hiller and her fellow residents also boarded that shuttle intending to exercise one of their most important rights as citizens --- the shuttle was there to take them to a nearby polling place so that they could vote in a primary election.

When Hiller arrived at the polls, however, she was told that she could not exercise her right to vote after all. Hiller was turned away because she did not have a photo ID, and Kansas has a strict voter ID law that disenfranchises voters without identification...

See the full story from Ian Millhiser here. Hiller wasn't allowed to vote by provisional ballot, though it likely wouldn't have helped either her or the other elderly voters on the same bus who were turned away that day.

We've covered Kobach's long, embarassing, shameful, dishonest and continuing efforts to keep certain voters from being able to vote, by lying about "voter fraud" to Kansans, for some time.

As the Topeka Capital-Journal reported the story of what happened to Hiller and the other senior citizens who lost their voting rights in Kansas during the recent primary, "Kobach spearheaded the ID law and a proof-of-citizenship requirement to register, saying the measures are necessary to prevent voter impersonation and protect the state from 'alien' voters."

Of course, despite his pretend claims and his 2010 SoS campaign promise to "STOP VOTER FRAUD", Kobach has been unable to find any of it. But, hey, at least he's keeping some of the oldest people in his state from being able to participate in their "representative democracy" at all! That's gotta count for something!

Jerk.

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GUEST: Peace activist, author David Swanson...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2014 6:02am PT  

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I invited peace activist David Swanson to explain to me why it's wrong for the U.S. to take military action in Iraq amidst what the President describes as "genocide".

David is a friend, occassional guest blogger here, and author of War is a Lie (2007), When the World Outlawed War (2011) and War No More: The Case for Abolition (2013).

I pressed him and he offered a smart, persuasive, and well-reasoned case. Yet, I'm still not certain that I'm persuaded. Please give the short conversation a listen and let me know what you think.

We also took calls on the above, and covered a bunch of other stuff, including updates on the CA Supreme Court nixing the "corporate personhood" ballot initiative (Prop 49); the extraordinary North Carolina "voter suppression" law that a federal judge (W. Bush appointee) has allowed to move forward for now; and the remarkable story of federal judge Mark Fuller --- who helped railroad former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) into federal prison --- being arrested and charged for allegedly beating up his latest wife in an Atlanta hotel room over the weekend.

All of that, and a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, as the News Summer from Hell continues...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Fully-militarized police shut down town, try to shut down press coverage, while 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still nowhere to be found...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2014 10:34pm PT  

It's not enough that the police are killing unarmed African-Americans in Ferguson, Missouri. Now they're arresting journalists like Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly and Washington Post's Wesley Lowery for sitting in a McDonald's to recharge their cell phones while writing up their coverage of the protests and militarized police riots in response to the police killing of Michael Brown.

Read Reilly's account of his arrest here ("They essentially acted as a military force), and Lowery's here ("'My hands are behind my back,' I said. 'I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.' At which point one officer said: 'You’re resisting. Stop resisting.'")

Here's a statement sent out tonight by HuffPo's Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim following the arrest, and subsequent release of Reilly and Lowery...

"We are relieved Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery are safe, but we are disturbed by their arrest and assault.

"Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted.

"Compared to some others who have come into contact with the police department, they came out relatively unscathed, but that in no way excuses the false arrest or the militant aggression toward these journalists. Ryan, who has reported multiple times from Guantanamo Bay, said that the police resembled soldiers more than officers, and treated those inside the McDonald's as 'enemy combatants.' Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time, and it is now beginning to affect press freedom."

With all due respect to Grim, and I have much, while "police militarization" has, indeed, been among the most consequential developments of our time, it has not gone "unnoticed" and it has been "affect[ing] press freedom" for quite some time. The BRAD BLOG burned quite a few late-night pixels in a whole bunch of stories back in 2011 during the hey-day of the Occupy Movement trying to make exactly that point loud and clear, and again in 2012 when journalists were being arrested for their coverage. (And, certainly, years earlier than that as well.)

At the time, we also noted that the pretend patriots of the "Tea Party" movement didn't seem to give a damn about any of it, which still rings true today, as we echoed tonight on Twitter while we catching up with the evening's ongoing madness in #Ferguson...

But I'm certain the "patriots" will be arriving anytime now to help restore liberty to the citizens of Ferguson, unless they're home polishing their big manly rifles so they can help "protect our American rights and freedoms"...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2014 5:42pm PT  

[Hat-tip @GGreenwald...]

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Daughter of AL's now-jailed Democratic Governor calls arrest of controversial Republican judge 'shocking', but offers sympathy...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2014 4:22pm PT  

The federal judge who oversaw the political prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was arrested over the weekend after allegedly beating his wife in a posh hotel room in Atlanta...

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller was charged with misdemeanor battery and taken to the Fulton County jail around 2:30 Sunday morning.

Fuller, 55, is a judge in the Middle District of Alabama and presided over the 2006 bribery trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
...
Police responded to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 181 Peachtree Street at 10:47 p.m. According to Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones, officers spoke to Fuller's wife, "who stated she was assaulted by her husband." Fuller's wife, who was not named by police, was treated by paramedics but refused treatment at a hospital.

According to Dan Whistenhunt of Decaturish.com, the Atlanta Police report says "The wife explained that she accused Fuller of having an affair with his law clerk. She said Fuller pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her. She told police that Fuller dragged her around the room and struck her in the mouth several times with his hands."

"Fuller said his wife threw a glass at him. Fuller said he grabbed his wife's hair 'to defend himself," Whistenhunt reports. "'When asked about the lacerations on her mouth, Mr. Fuller stated that he just threw her to the ground and that was it,' the report says."

"Police later discovered blood in the bathroom on the tub. Fuller did not have any marks or bruises, the officer noted. After medical personnel arrived, they noted additional bruises on his wife's legs."

"Fuller has faced allegations of domestic abuse before," Whistenhunt goes on to report. "The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press reported in 2012 that a Montgomery circuit judge sealed Fuller's divorce records. The divorce file is, 'wrought with accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse and the judge's alleged affair with his court bailiff,' according to the Reporters Committee."

When asked for comment this afternoon, Siegelman's daughter Dana described the news as "shocking" and "disturbing", but said the matter "seems to fall in line with the Buddhist philosophy of karma."

The BRAD BLOG has covered the Siegelman case in great detail over the years. The former governor, who is now serving time in a federal correctional institution in Louisiana for what 113 bi-partisan former state Attorneys General agree had never been a crime before his promising political career was derailed by it, has long alleged that Fuller, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, had deep conflicts of interest on the case, and should have recused himself. Siegelman was found guilty on charges of bribery, though he insists, and the evidence shows, he never received any personal enrichment. (See 60 Minutes' 2008 coverage of the outrageous Siegelman prosecution right here.)

There has been a great deal of criticism of Fuller's refusal to recuse himself from the case against Siegelman, who has been described by supporters as "America's political prisoner". His work on the trial has been characterized as a "grudge match" by an extremely partisan judge with deep ties to GOP strategist Karl Rove against a very popular Democrat whose appointee had once investigated him.

Yet, even as efforts to free her father continue, and as Fuller was released from jail late today after posting a $5,000 bond, Dana Siegelman went on to offer a note of sympathy to Fuller's wife, family, and even Fuller himself...

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'You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2014 12:33pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Washington Posts' "The Fix" blog describes Rep. Justin Amash's (R-MI) victory speech after his primary election on Tuesday as "absolutely amazing", noting that "Politicians who win campaigns, no matter how dirty, will almost always kiss and make up with their political opponents in their election-night speeches."

Amash did no such thing, as his remarks highlighted, once again, the growing, deep and bitter divide running straight through the Republican Party.

The libertarian-leaning ally of former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) and co-sponsor, with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) of last year's narrowly defeated bi-partisan attempt in the U.S. House to end blanket, warrantless NSA spying on Americans following the initial Edward Snowden disclosures, unloaded last night on the failed U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed campaign to unseat him with an "establishment-approved" candidate.

In particular, Amash targeted Michigan's former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, a long-time Chamber-backed candidate himself, now a Chamber-funded political lobbyist and supporter of Amash's Republican opponent Brian Ellis. "I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra," Amash told the crowd, underscoring the L-word to much applause, "you are a disgrace. And I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance."

Ouch. As "The Fix" notes, "Hoekstra lost the state's 2012 Senate race --- and in the 2010 gubernatorial primary."

And then Amash zeroed in on his direct opponent, businessman Ellis: "You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you. To stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what's best for their district."

The Ellis campaign ran an ad earlier this summer, citing Amash's support for shutting down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay (just as both George W. Bush and John McCain once supported) and his attempt to stop warrantless spying on Americans (a bill that narrowly failed with a bi-partisan 205 to 217 vote, which included 94 votes from fellow Republicans).

The Ellis ad referred to Amash, who is an Arab-American, as "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress."

His blistering remarks about Hoekstra and Ellisn come just after the 3 minute mark in the video below...

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By D.R. Tucker on 8/6/2014 7:05am PT  

This week, MSNBC's Steve Kornacki, filling in for Rachel Maddow, discussed former President Ronald Reagan's stunning 1991 announcement that he supported the "Brady Bill" mandating a seven-day waiting period to purchase a handgun.

Reagan, who happened to be a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association (which virulently opposed the "Brady Bill"), nevertheless regarded the legislation as a common-sense effort to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

Marking the passing of Reagan's Press Secretary and the legislation's namesake James Brady, Kornacki observed that Reagan's support for the "Brady Bill" helped to ease the pathway towards its passage under President Bill Clinton in November 1993. However, after Congress passed a now-expired assault-weapons ban in August 1994, opponents of gun safety seized political power (beginning with the November 1994 midterm elections) and began to thwart any further efforts to decrease the carnage that turned children into corpses.

However, what Kornacki failed to mention was that the same Republican icon who boldly supported the "Brady Bill" also helped create, through one infamous Executive Order, the very circumstances that led to the demise of gun safety measures in the US --- as well as health and climate safety in the world...

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Documents reveal Commissioners at war over defending lawsuit charging the agency is failing to enforce campaign finance law
Plaintiffs in case file Motion for Summary Judgment...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2014 5:35am PT  

While Congressional Republicans are busy filing a lawsuit against President Obama, in a purported attempt to bring accountability for...failing to enforce the law...or something, Republican Commissioners on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid enforcing the law.

In the bargain, its GOP Commissioners are railing against their fellow Democratic Commissioners for attempting to bring accountability for actual violations of federal campaign finance law, turning the facts of the case on its head, and publicly attacking their colleagues as "strident" obstructionists, eschewing the rule of law.

Yes, it's another breathtakingly twisted chapter from the unending Partisan Wars of 2014, although a rather important one with potentially far reaching consequences for the nation, as those paying attention might notice --- though few seem to be...

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370 to 40 vote a rebuke to GOP war hawks like McCain, Graham...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/25/2014 4:16pm PT  

The U.S. House has finally found something they can agree on. They want President Obama to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.

In an overwhelming bi-partisan vote on Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Concurrent Resolution [PDF], which, pursuant to Section 5(c) of the War Powers Act, directs "the President to remove United States Armed Forces, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel from Iraq" within 30 days, unless it is unsafe to do so.

Section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution states:

...at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution.

The bi-partisan Resolution, adopted by a 370 to 40 vote, was introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

Last month, the President authorized up to 300 more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq as military advisers in the wake of the takeover of a number of Iraqi cities by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That brought the total of U.S. troops in the nation to more than 800.

Win Without War, a national coalition of anti-war organizations, released a statement describing today's vote as "a strong message to President Obama that there is no authorization for any escalation of US military involvement in Iraq."

"After nearly 13 years of trying to solve such challenges militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, with little success, the American people simply do not support another war in the Middle East," the group said in their statement. "Instead, we hope today's clear message against military escalation will encourage the President to double down on diplomatic efforts and a robust humanitarian response."

While the House Resolution is directed to the President, it also represents a stinging rebuke to GOP war hawk Senators like John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC). Earlier this month the pair criticized the President for refusing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government after he came to office, which would have "kept U.S. troops there", following George W. Bush's Status of Forces Agreement struck with Iraq in 2008. That agreement called for the removal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.

The vote on Friday is believed to be largely symbolic, however, as it would require similar passage in the U.S. Senate, where Senators like McCain and Graham would likely seek to block a vote on the matter. Then, again, matters could lead to a "politics-make-strange-bedfellows" moment if Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) were to come together in support of the Concurrent Resolution.

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