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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, December 18, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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 9/3/2014 7:04am PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unspecified 'treatment program' may allow U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller to skip prosecution, according to his attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2014 7:05am PT  

Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman is currently serving a 6.5 year sentence in a federal prison for something that he did not personally profit from, did not know was a crime, and that 113 bi-partisan former state Attorneys General agree had never been a crime before Siegelman was convicted of it.

That's all thanks to a political prosecution orchestrated by Karl Rove, a corrupt federal prosecutor, the corrupt federal prosecutor's husband (who happened to be the Campaign Manager of Siegelman's political opponent) and others, most of whom were close friends and/or clients of Rove.

One of them, Mark Fuller, the Republican federal U.S. District Court judge who sentenced Siegelman to those years in federal prison, refused to recuse himself from the case, despite having a very clear conflict of interest and very specific grudge against Siegelman.

Two weeks ago, Judge Fuller was arrested for beating his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel. (You can read all of the, literally, bloody details from the police report, as covered them at the time, at that link.)

This week, as it turns out, Fuller may have figured out how to not only avoid any prison time at all, but he may be able to even avoid prosecution entirely...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2014 7:17pm PT  

Toons continues below...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The review will touch on several points, including

-- Whether such programs and funding are appropriate;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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