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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, August 1, 2014
Ladies and Gentleman, Lenar Whitney...
Seriously. Lenar Whitney. The proud 'Palin of the South' and 'most frightening' U.S. House candidate veteran Congressional reporter Dave Wasserman has ever interviewed...
Hospitals Prospering Under 'ObamaCare' Too
While the 'controversial' Affordable Care Act has helped millions to obtain medical care, its benefits are even broader, despite lies about it GOP continues to tell...
'Green News Report' 7/31/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
20m gallon water main break in L.A. exposes decrepit U.S. water sytem; Record wildfires depleting budgets; Repubs fiddle as West burns; PLUS: Flesh-eating bacteria in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/29/14 - Archives...
FEC Commissioners at War Over Rove's Campaign Finance Violations
Deadlock vote, ignoring federal agencies own attorneys, leads to lawsuit and scathing attack of Dem Commissioners by GOP colleagues...
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
'Green News Report' 7/29/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/22/14 - Archives...
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
Previous GNRs: 7/22/14 - 7/17/14 - Archives...
Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
Record wildfires in Pacific NW; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: CA gets tough on water wasters...
Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2013 12:34pm PT  

We desperately could use a toon or two around here of late. Sorry this is not a happier or funnier one though...

As to the extra punchline at bottom right, it's a reference to the quote misattributed to Churchill: "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities."

And, by the way, a better name for "Carbon Tax" is "Pollution Tax".

Yes, companies who dump huge amounts of pollution --- tons and tons of it --- into our atmosphere every single day ought not be able to do it for free, as they do now, since we all have to pay the price of cleaning it up, as we are now doing in spades.

[Hat-tip Joe Romm at Climate Progress]

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The BRAD BLOG's Desi Doyen discusses that and much more while guest hosting last night's 'The Young Turks'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2013 2:07pm PT  

If you haven't noticed, of late, Desi Doyen --- the Managing Editor of The BRAD BLOG's Green News Report and my co-host on that nationally syndicated radio feature --- has been guest hosting The Young Turks' nightly online video show quite a bit of late. (She did so several times already this week, and will be back again tonight. You can watch tonight's airing right here from 9p-11p ET / 6p - 8p PT.)

One of the segments from last night's episode, while disturbing, is worth flagging at least briefly here, as its an issue we've touched on throughout the years, going back to the earliest years of the Iraq War. It's also one that has been under-covered and under-investigated by the mainstream corporate media.

The use of depleted uranium, a byproduct of the nuclear power industry, in U.S. weaponry is believed by many to be tied to an alarming increase in birth-defects in Iraqi children, as well as cancer rates in members of the U.S. military. While some studies report no significant health risks due to the use of such weaponry, a lack of long-term studies leaves the issue, for now, an open question --- at the very least. Truthout's Mike Ludwig reported this week that "The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 metric tons of depleted uranium was fired during the 2003 war in Iraq," and that clean-up costs for some 300 to 365 sites where "depleted uranium contamination was identified by Iraqi authorities" is estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars.

While the U.S. and British governments "disputed allegations that their weapons have poisoned soldiers and civilians and caused increased rates of cancer and birth defects," as discussed in the segment below from last night's TYT show, the reported rate of birth defects in Fallujah, for example, is now said to be 14 times higher than it was in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs there.

The use of depleted uranium in U.S. weapons is believed by some to be one of the reasons for that alarming statistic, as Desi discussed along with TYT regulars Ana Kasparian and Steve Oh last night. [WARNING: Some of the photos shown in the segment are graphic and disturbing]...

A couple of the other (less graphic) segments from TYT in which the lovely Desi helps with righteous rants and the raking of various muck include...

• Amazing backlog of Veteran Benefits begs question as to who actually "supports the troops"? (A particularly sharp, and personal, Desi rant in this one!) Watch it here...

• "Catfight" breaks out between current and former GOP chairs Reince Priebus and Michael Steele. Watch it here...

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Tells 'Democracy Now!' his decision to end life comes after years of being 'sick and tired of being sick and tired'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2013 4:05pm PT  

Yesterday we published Tomas Young's "Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a Dying Veteran", in which the 33-year old U.S. Army veteran, paralyzed from the chest down during an ambush on a rescue mission in Iraq in 2004, announces his plan to soon allow himself to die, as his physical condition has intolerably deteriorated.

We included a link to our own interview with Tomas in 2005 when he first came down from Kansas City to "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX, on his honeymoon, in support of Cindy Sheehan whose son Casey was killed on the same day, in the same city --- 4/4/04 in Sadr City --- where Tomas was shot twice and gravely injured in the unarmored truck his platoon had been sent out in.

Tomas has been a tremendously heroic and outspoken anti-war voice over the years, as we were reminded once again today during this morning's heart-wrenching episode of Democracy Now! devoted to his story. Phil Donahue, co-director of the 2007 documentary film about Tomas, Body of War, (in which our '05 interview with Tomas is briefly seen) is on hand as well for the discussion. The hour included a live satellite interview with Tomas, who now struggles to speak. His thoughts seem very coherent, but what is left of his body and its functions are clearly breaking down. He is joined by his wife Claudia.

It is all worth watching, if you can spare the time. The clips from Body of War, especially the one in which Tomas speaks with the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-VA) as they read off the names together of the "Immortal 23" who voted against the Iraq War in the U.S. Senate, are particularly moving.

This is the story of the Iraq War ten years later --- and how it broke this nation just as surely as it broke Tomas Young's body and eventually his spirit and will to live...

After the lengthy segment above, Donahue is asked about his plight at MSNBC where he was fired just before the war began, as we would later find out from an internal executive memo, because his show included too many anti-war voices.

He says the episode reveals "how corporate media shapes our opinions and our coverage."

"They were terrified of the anti-war voice. And that is not an overstatement," Donahue says. "If you're General Electric, you certainly don't want an anti-war voice on a cable channel that you own. Donald Rumsfeld's your biggest customer!"

He explains again how he was required to have two pro-war voices for every anti-war voice he had on his show. "I could have [Bush Admin Iraq war hawk and architect] Richard Perle on alone, but I couldn't have Dennis Kucinich," he explains. "I was considered 'two liberals'." That segment can be watched here.

Finally, in the last moments of the show, Tomas reads his "Last Letter" to Bush and Cheney aloud and answers Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman's question as to whether there is anything that might lead him to change his mind about his decision to soon stop using his feeding tube in order to allow his life to end.

That video segment, including Tomas' answer to Goodman's question, follows below...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/21/2013 3:32pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: L.A. to be 100% coal-free; TN conservatives slam mountaintop removal coal mining - by China; NV coal company faked air pollution reports; Green jobs are the fastest growing job sector in the nation; PLUS: Leave it to beavers - 'hero' beaver dam halts oil spill ... 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): State Dept. hid ties to Keystone XL pipeline company; Toyota Unveils New I-Road; NOAA: ‘Robust’ independent evidence confirms thermometer measurements; Climate Science Denier Leads House Science Subcommittee; Pope Francis calls for defending environment; Report: Security risks of climate change; Enviro groups criticize Obama's DOE nominee energy industry ties; Polar bear habitat shrinks even more... PLUS: How to cut U.S. gasoline use in half by 2030 ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Tomas Young on 3/20/2013 10:29am PT  

NOTE FROM BRAD: On August 28, 2005, I was the first in the national media to interview U.S. Army Specialist Tomas Young at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX. He and his then wife Brie had come down from Kansas City on their honeymoon to support Cindy Sheehan, the "Gold Star Mom" who was famously demanding a meeting with George W. Bush. Tomas' unarmored vehicle had been ambushed in Sadr City, Iraq on the same day that Sheehan's son Casey was killed in the same city. The attack left Tomas paralyzed from the chest down.

Since Bush had refused to meet with Sheehan --- claiming he had already met with her some months earlier, prior to proclaiming those who had died in Iraq had done so for a "noble cause" which he refused to define --- Tomas wanted to find out if he might be able to meet with Bush himself to ask what the "noble cause" was. We came up with the idea to paint a sign to help the media notice his plight. Some of the other veterans who were there as well helped to create the sign and it was, indeed, picked up by AP at the time.

Some years later, Tomas' story would be told on 60 Minutes, and then in a heart-wrenching 2007 documentary film, Body of War, by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro. (My interview on the ground at "Camp Casey" with Tomas and Brie is seen briefly in both. The full audio of my interview with them is posted in full at the bottom of this article, after Tomas' letter.)

He and Brie have since divorced and Tomas remarried last year. Now, ten years this week after the launch of the War on Iraq, what was left of Tomas' body is failing and, as Chris Hedges recently reported, he has decided to let himself die. Now in hospice care, Tomas, who was 25 when we met and is now just 33-years old, plans to end his long fight. He says he will remove his own feeding tube sometime after his first anniversary with his new wife Claudia in April and before the second birthday of his niece in June.

The following open letter, which Tomas says is his "last", was originally published this week at TruthDig and republished in full here with their permission.

* * *

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all-the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans-my fellow veterans-whose future you stole...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/19/2013 3:43pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: On the one hand, Obama moves the environmental ball forward --- on the other hand... not so much; Oil leak in CO; Fish populations rebound (thanks, Big Government!); BP trial update; Abu Dhabi opens world's largest solar plant; Power failure at stricken Fukushima nuke plant; PLUS: Wind turbine sickness caused by anti-wind propaganda ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

Link:
Embed:

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): High-resolution charts show carbon impacts skyrocketing; Democratic senators intro legislation to end oil industry tax breaks; March's extreme weather swings; Emergency cleanup at abandoned gold mine; Canada scientists muzzled by Harper Administration; Debunking the Daily Mail -again; Days of promise fade for ethanol ... PLUS: "De-extinction": Why we shouldn't bring back extinct species from the dead ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters charges $2,000/hour --- $20 per ballot --- in recent mayoral election 'recount'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2013 7:35am PT  

Early last month, The BRAD BLOG offered an exclusive special report on how a single Registrar of Voters in Fresno County, CA effectively stopped a citizen-organized attempt to confirm the results of last November's Prop 37 initiative dead in its tracks. She was able to stop an attempted post-election hand count of the paper ballots in her county by charging the proponents of the count an outrageous and seemingly arbitrary high price to carry out the count.

Now, a very similar story is being reported in regard to an attempt to confirm the results of a mayoral race in another California county where the "losing" candidate is said to have lost by just 53 votes. In that case, rather than an outrageous $4,000 per day to count the paper ballots again, as was the case for Prop 37 in Fresno, the candidate has been charged $2,000 per hour for her attempt to verify that the results of her contest were accurately reported by the computer system.

The much-watched Prop 37 initiative last November, had it passed, would have required Genetically Modified foods to be labeled as such. The measure was opposed by corporations such as Monsanto, DuPont and Hershey with a $44 million propaganda blitz against the landmark initiative in progressive California.

The proposition's loss surprised supporters of the measure, some of whom joined in a post-election effort to hand-count the paper ballots from the contest in a number of counties to ensure the secretly-tallied computer results were accurate. After hand-counting ballots in Orange and Sierra Counties, where no unusual irregularities were discovered, the effort was stymied in Fresno County by outrageously high and seemingly illegal pricing set for the "recount" by the county's recently-appointed Registrar Brandi Orth.

As we detailed, while the County Clerk in Orange had charged the proponents a reasonable $600/day for hand-counting ballots, and the Registrar in Sierra had charged just $500/day, Fresno's Orth had attempted to charge some $4,000/day. And that was in addition to a "start up" fee of $14,000 that proponents and Election Integrity advocates were also told they'd need to cough up in cash before a single ballot could be hand-counted there.

The seemingly arbitrary pricing for confirming the results in Fresno ended up putting the kibosh on the attempted statewide count. As we described in the report, the case echoed a similar attempt by Election Integrity advocates to hand-count paper ballots in a contested Special Election for the U.S. House in San Diego County in 2006. There, the county Registrar had attempted to charge approximately $1.00 per ballot (with some 150,000 cast) to confirm the results. That was in contrast to the .14 per ballot charged by neighboring Orange County for a separate hand-count not long before.

The extraordinary $2,000/hour costs being charged in Stanislaus County, however, put all of that to shame. And it underscores, once again, how the lack of standards for "recount" pricing make laughable the notion that computer-tallied paper ballots are just fine because "they can always be counted later if there are any questions about results later on."

As we learn once again in California, where the "recount" laws are actually amongst the most liberal in the country, the ability for citizens to confirm the results of secretly-tallied computer-results after they are certified is no easy feat. It's often impossible. Making the matter more outrageous, a single county clerk can effectively block the entire process...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2013 11:33am PT  

Before things turn too ugly this week, let's take a moment to flag four great progressive things --- arguably, four great conservative progressive things --- which all happened on Friday.

The first two items got a fair amount of notice, the second two, not so much. But since they all happened on the same day, and that day was Friday, when such stories tend to disappear all together, they are all worth briefly flagging here to make sure you're aware of them...

  • Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a co-sponsor of the unconstitutional "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) in 1996, became the first sitting Republican Senator to come out in favor of marriage equality for all. It took him learning that he had a gay son two years ago before he was finally able to do the right thing, but we'll take what we can get. It's another in a string of victories and very encouraging signs for conservative progressivism, specifically the right of equal protection under the law for all.
  • The Maryland legislature voted to ban the inhumane, abhorrent, expensive, ineffective and unequally applied Death Penalty. They become the 6th state in as many years to do so, and the 18th state overall. As Governor Martin O'Malley (D) notes in an op-ed today: "Across our ever-more-closely connected world, the majority of public executions now take place in just seven countries: Iran. Iraq. The People’s Republic of China. North Korea. Saudi Arabia. Yemen. And the United States of America." This is another clear victory for those who believe in the Constitutional value of equal justice for all under the law and who hate Big Government --- the biggest --- allowing itself to kill its own citizens.
  • A federal court ruled that the use of so-called "National Security Letters" --- essentially, a warrantless statement from the FBI handed over to banks, libraries, phone companies, etc., demanding unlimited private information about a specific person for supposed "national security purposes" --- is unconstitutional. Specifically, the gag order on those banks, libraries, phone companies, etc., disallowing them from notifying the target about the intrusion on their privacy, is what the judge found in violation of the First Amendment. The case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation(EFF). The use of these letters have been one of the most insidious and abused elements of the PATRIOT Act for a very long time, ever since its passage following 9/11. The court ruling is likely to be appealed by the DoJ, but the finding is, for now, a positive step in the right direction --- at least for those of us conservative progressives who give a damn about unwarranted search and seizure, freedom of speech, etc. AP notes that "the FBI made 16,511 national-security-letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011" alone.
  • A federal appeals court has re-instated a case filed by the ACLU arguing that the CIA must, at the very least, respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests concerning the use of the drone strikes. The FOIA requests in question had sought information on "the legal basis for carrying out targeted drone killings; any restrictions on those who may be targeted; any civilian casualties; any geographic limits on the program; the number of targeted killings that the agency has carried out; and the training, supervision, oversight, or discipline of drone operators." Even if the ACLU is ultimately victorious in this case, the CIA would not necessarily have to provide the information sought in those requests, but they would at least have to respond to them and state which responsive documents they may have and why they are not responding. The ACLU notes that the drone program "has already been responsible for the deaths of more than 4,000 people in an unknown number of countries."

After the two court rulings above on Friday, former Constitutional attorney and civil liberties champion Glenn Greenwald tweeted wryly: "Wow ... it's like we have a 3rd branch or something."

Much of this nation's government, all three branches, are largely stuck and broken in the muck and mire of partisan, corporate-sponsored quagmire or worse. So the fact that we had four important, not-horrible, arguably excellent things happen within that quagmire all on the same day on Friday are worth, at least, noting here for the record.

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Eugene Iredale discusses Juan Carlos Vera's settlement 'victory'; PLUS: Scalia's Voting Right Act hypocrisy and more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2013 9:05pm PT  

Today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show --- after breaking the news about the newly elected Pope --- I interviewed Eugene Iredale, attorney of the former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera who received a $100,000 settlement from Rightwing con-artist James O'Keefe last week. (Vera also received $50,000 from O'Keefe's former partner Hannah Giles in a separate settlement last summer.)

Vera's California Invasion of Privacy Act lawsuit, filed in 2010, stemmed from O'Keefe and Giles' surreptitious wiretapping of a "confidential" conversation with Vera. The conversation (during which Vera played along to learn about the duo's pretend plot to smuggle underage prostitutes into the country, so he could turn them in to law enforcement) was then deceptively edited for misleading use in the infamous ACORN "pimp" hoax tapes published by Andrew Breitbart and blatantly misreported by New York Times, et al.

Iredale discussed O'Keefe's illegalities at the center of the suit; why other ACORN workers hadn't similarly sued the three con-artists; why Breitbart was not included in Vera's suit; why he didn't also sue for defamation; whether these settlements can be seen as a "victory"; and much more.

In the second part of today's BradCast, I offered my opinion ranted a bit on Justice Antonin Scalia's obnoxious, not-conservative, not-constitutionalist, activist attempt to legislate from the bench on the landmark Voting Rights Act during a recent Supreme Court hearing on the Act's important and ground-breaking Section 5 provision...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

P.S. I invited O'Keefe to join today's show to offer his side of the story (live and not deceptively edited), but last night he seems to have decided he didn't "have the guts" to show up.

* * *
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 --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- 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...

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Or, it's hard out here for a guy who never posed as a pimp...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2013 2:05pm PT  

I'm prepping for my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today, when I'll be joined by Eugene Iredale, the attorney for former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera who won a $100,000 settlement from federal criminal and professional liar James O'Keefe last week in an invasion of privacy lawsuit (and a $50,000 settlement from O'Keefe's former partner Hannah Giles last summer). You can listen live at 6pm ET / 3pm PT right here. [Update: Here's the interview...].

We will not be joined as well by O'Keefe himself, unfortunately, despite my invitations to him after his 'I'm the victim here!' tweets last week when news of the settlement broke. He had described media coverage of the settlement agreement as "lies and lies and more lies from journafascists" and attempted to taunt the media to "have the guts" to allow him to tell his side of the story. We took him up on that offer and invited him to appear on The BradCast today, live! Which is impossible to deceptively edit! (You're welcome, Jimmy!) But until late last night he didn't "have the guts" to even respond to my generous invitation.

After a second invite last night, however, I finally heard back from him...

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News of payment follows on James O'Keefe's agreement last week to pay $100,000 to same secretly-taped former ACORN employee...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2013 7:52am PT  

[This article cross-posted by Salon...]

Pretend journalist and Republican activist Hannah Giles agreed to pay $50,000 to former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera as a part of a legal settlement struck last summer in response to an invasion of privacy lawsuit filed against her and her former partner James O'Keefe, Vera's attorney Eugene Iredale has confirmed to The BRAD BLOG.

Last week, in a scoop by the website Wonkette, it was disclosed that O'Keefe, a federal criminal and professional liar, agreed to pay $100,000 in his own legal settlement with the same former ACORN employee, after heading up the scheme to secretly videotape him in violation of California's Invasion of Privacy Act (Cal. Penal Code § 632).

O'Keefe and Giles' illicit taping of Vera was carried out as part of the deceptively edited series of hit videos released by the pair in 2009. The tapes were published, and paid for, by the late con-man Andrew Breitbart. Vera had been portrayed in the misleading video as having been willing to help the pair smuggle underage prostitutes into the United States across the Mexican border. In fact, Vera had played along with the duo's ridiculous proposed scheme only long enough to collect information from O'Keefe and Giles (and take their photographs), before contacting law enforcement immediately after the secretly video-taped meeting.

Giles played the role of a prostitute in the ACORN "pimp" hoax videos. O'Keefe played her boyfriend. O'Keefe did not play the part of a "pimp", as he had knowingly misrepresented in both the videos and to the public, and as repeatedly misreported by the bulk of the mainstream media at the time, and even still today.

During the course of Vera's lawsuit, it was revealed that Breitbart, who died in March of 2012, had agreed to pay the pair some $120,000 for their hoax tapes in $5,000 monthly installments to each. O'Keefe ended up collecting $65,000 before he was terminated around the time of his CNN "Sex Boat" scandal in September of 2010. Giles' payments, on the other hand, were reduced from $5,000 month to $3,000 at some point, before being terminated for what she described, according to Vera's attorney, as "a conflict of visions".

Accordingly, Giles only ended up collecting $32,000 from Breitbart, but thanks to the settlement last Summer, she was forced to hand all of that, plus $18,000 more, over to Vera.

Despite the real facts of the Vera case being known since at least April of 2010 --- when a criminal investigation by the California Attorney General found "no criminality" by Vera or any of the other ACORN employees seen in the videos --- the original stories on the hoax videos remain published on the Breitbart website without correction, as we noted in our detailed report on O'Keefe's settlement with Vera last week.

As we reported once again at the time, every official law enforcement investigation on the matter --- including those by the former MA Attorney General [PDF], by the Kings County, NY District Attorney, and by the CA Attorney General --- determined that there were no violations of law performed by any ACORN worker as seen in any of the several surreptitiously taped videos. Each official investigation found that the tapes were "highly" and "deceptively" edited to present a false case against ACORN.

O'Keefe had attempted to fight for dismissal of Vera's July 2010 lawsuit but lost in court on every attempt to do so. While it took O'Keefe until this past week to see the writing on the wall and finally agree to settle with Vera, Giles was smart enough to settle her own part of the lawsuit with Vera last Summer. Giles' settlement agreement had been reported by Dave Maass of the San Diego City Beat at the time, but the conditions of that settlement and Giles' agreement to pay out $50,000 to the former ACORN worker had not been known.

Asked during his sworn deposition why he didn't attempt to confirm the false story given to him by Vera before publishing his videos tapes, O'Keefe, who still pretends to be a "journalist", explained: "I did want to follow up. I just didn't end up following up"...

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Or, What's Wrong With the Entire Goddamn System in 2 Short Videos...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2013 8:34pm PT  

This exchange --- by Congressional committee proxy --- got a bit more buried than it deserved to be amidst a week of important (Rand Paul's drone filibuster) and not so important (Presidential/Congressional dinner dates!) news items last week.

You may have already seen both of these clips. But just in case you haven't, the remarks made during two different Congressional hearings last week illustrate the very heart of the most broken part of our broken government, so I wanted to be sure to at least flag these two short videos here.

The first was Attorney General Eric Holder's remarkable admission last week, when asked about why one the world's largest banks, such as HSBC --- which admitted to some $881 million dollars in drug cartel money laundering and working with regimes in a number of countries around the world in blatant violation of human rights sanctions against them --- have not been brought to trial by the Obama Dept. of Justice...

"The concern that you have raised is one that I, frankly, share," Holder responded to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-NE). "I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."

"It has an inhibiting influence --- impact --- on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate," he continued. "So, the concern that you raise is actually one that I share."

With all due respect to AG Holder --- and he is due very, very little --- what he just said is, to the best of my knowledge, complete bullshit. While I'm not an expert in financial law, I am familiar with no clause in any of those laws which offers a "get out of jail free card" to institutions who have become so large that prosecuting them would have "a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."

I know of no provisions in the criminal code which says that if your corporation has become large enough that facing criminal prosecution might make the world markets jittery, you don't have to face prosecution for those crimes. In fact, we still have anti-trust laws on the books to deal with exactly those situations --- cases in which corporations have become so powerful, have such a monopolistic effect on the market, that they may be broken up by the Dept. of Justice, or even taken over and then sold off piece meal to bring the company back into manageable size again.

The next day, in another U.S. Senate hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), expressed a similar sentiment, in a must-see video clip, absolutely slamming U.S. Treasury regulators for their lack of willingness to take action against some of the most criminal corporations, such as HSBC.

"What does it take to get you to consider shutting down a bank for money laundering?!," she asked the regulators who couldn't respond as to the last time a bank had been prosecuted for this sort of thing. "How many billions of dollars before somebody says we're shutting you down?"...

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Cites O'Keefe's prior alleged criminal violations in phony Planned Parenthood 'sting'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/11/2013 12:44pm PT  

Appearing on MSNBC's The Ed Show on Friday night, Eugene Iredale, the attorney for former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera, made short work of the chiseling claim made by federal criminal and professional liar James O'Keefe, that he had agreed to pay Vera $100,000 simply to bring to a close a "ridiculous lawsuit."

"If he wants to get out of the settlement and wants to fight us in court," Iredale told host Ed Schultz in response to O'Keefe's fundraising bluster, "we're ready any time. We can go right now!"

O'Keefe agreed last week to settle the lawsuit filed by Vera in July of 2010 against him and his partner Hannah Giles. Vera had been fired by ACORN after deceptively edited video tapes of him, secretly recorded by O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles, were published by Andrew Breitbart in 2009. While the edited tapes made it appear as though Vera, whose English is poor, was interested in cooperating in a scheme to smuggle underage prostitutes across the Mexican border, in reality, Vera had played along with the pair in order to gain information, including taking their photos, and then immediately notified law enforcement about the ridiculous scheme O'Keefe and Giles were proposing.

After word of the settlement with Vera leaked to Wonkette's Matthew Phelan and Liz Farkas last week, O'Keefe took to Twitter to play the victim, describing his payout to Vera as the necessary result of a "nuisance lawsuit".

"Sadly, this is the cost of exposing the truth," he explained to his gullible fundraising base in a statement posted to his ironically named Project Veritas website late last week. "That's why so few people do it. There are liability issues inherent in undercover journalism."

Many of those paying attention to this long shameful saga would be right in responding in turn: "Um, what 'journalism'"?!

O'Keefe continued his post-settlement Twitter tantrum to describe media coverage of his settlement agreement as "lies and lies and more lies from journafascists," taunting them to "have the guts" to allow him to respond on TV.

The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman responded to O'Keefe in turn with an invitation to appear live with him on his KPFK/Pacfica Radio show this coming Wednesday, at which time he could, among other things, explain how deceptively edited videotapes deserve to be labeled "journalism" or why he describes Vera's complaint as "meritless accusations". O'Keefe has yet to respond to the invitation...

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

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Who will sue the federal criminal next?...
UPDATE: Original false stories still posted, uncorrected, on Breitbart 'News' site...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2013 5:35am PT  

Former San Diego ACORN worker, Juan Carlos Vera will receive $100,000 in a settlement from federal criminal and professional liar James O'Keefe, after being secretly video-taped in violation of California law by the Rightwing propagandist. The tape was just one in a series of similar videos, all deceptively edited as part of his 2009 ACORN "pimp" hoax series.

The story of the settlement to Vera's July 2010 civil lawsuit was originally broken by Wonkette, which published the 3-page settlement document [PDF], yesterday.

Several different official investigations, including those by the former MA Attorney General [PDF], by the Kings County, NY District Attorney, and by the CA Attorney General all determined that there were no violations of law performed by any ACORN worker seen in the several surreptitiously taped videos. The officials found the tapes were "highly" and "deceptively" edited.

The ACORN "pimp" hoax videos were published originally by the late Republican con-man Andrew Breitbart who, before he died of heart failure just over one year ago, was likely to have been pulled in to the civil case as well, after O'Keefe disclosed in his deposition that Breitbart had advance knowledge of the scheme to secretly video tape workers in violation of CA's Invasion of Privacy Act.

After Breitbart's publication, the edited tapes were widely covered, without fact-checking, in both the Rightwing media such as Fox "News" and non-Rightwing media such as the New York Times. The Times was eventually forced to issue partial-corrections for their inaccurate reporting after a six month effort by The BRAD BLOG to point out how they'd been duped by O'Keefe, who had lied about appearing as a 70s era blaxploitation "pimp" in the offices of ACORN.

A 2010 investigation by the CA Attorney General determined there was "no criminality" by ACORN workers seen in any of the raw video tapes. O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles agreed to turn over the unedited tapes in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution in the state. "The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality," California's then AG Jerry Brown said in a statement accompanying the release of his office's investigation which "involved attorneys from all three legal divisions – Criminal Law, Public Rights, and Civil Law – as well as Special Agents from the Department’s Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence."

"Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor," he added.

While the deal left the AG's office unable to prosecute the duo, the criminal investigation found that O'Keefe and Giles likely violated the civil provisions of CA's Privacy Act and could be sued under those provisions "for recording a confidential conversation without consent." Vera, who, after his odd meeting with O'Keefe and Giles had the wherewithal to contact the police, sued both of them in July of 2010 for violations of the act...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/7/2013 3:24pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama's Interior nominee promises "balanced" use of public lands; Extreme weather forces Republicans to cancel climate science denial hearing; Colorado city defies Governor, bans fracking; Conflict of interest in State Dept's glowing Keystone XL pipeline report; PLUS: Hottest summer ever on record in Australia ... 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): Why are sinkholes swallowing Florida?; 'Carbon capture and storage will never pay off'; Jump In atmospheric CO2 brings climate catastrophe closer; U.S. clean energy trade surplus with China; Climate change will open up surprising new Arctic shipping routes; Ice Age study bolsters CO2 and warming link; CA town requires all new homes to have solar power; GOP legislator seeks a new carbon tax on bicycle riders; Infections with 'Nightmare Bacteria' on the rise in U.S. hospitals ... PLUS: Don't Worry: Keystone XL pipeline would be safe from the climate impacts it would cause ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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