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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, October 22, 2017
Real News from the Land of Reality: 'BradCast' 10/20/17
And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
Trump's Reckless Disregard for Puerto Rican Lives is an Impeachable Offense
Ernest Canning makes the case for adding the President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to the list...
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks'
(Will They Get It Right in 2018?):
'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that stop gun violence...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
Hurricane slams Ireland; Deadliest fire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up another week in American politics where words fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos': 'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
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...


Could face fines, jail time, though corporate media downplay criminality, even as evidence suggests special treatment for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2011 2:28pm PT  

The words "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW" are famously chiseled above the main portico of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. But is one of the Justices seated in that building, with a lifetime appointment, now receiving special treatment under the law instead?

Evidence is mounting that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas violated federal law by failing to report his wife's annual salary of more than $120,000 per year from conservative political organizations by checking "NONE" on the box for "Non-Investment Income" for his wife Virginia on judicial Financial Disclosure Reports for the last 20 years.

According to the "self-initiated amendment" letters [PDF] signed by Thomas as dated Friday, January 21, 2011, and stamped as "RECEIVED" by the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Committee on Financial Disclosure on a Saturday, January 22, 2011, the Justice failed to reveal such sources of spousal income even on his original nomination disclosure forms during his contentious 1991 confirmation hearings.

One of the amendments hastily filed last week by Thomas states that he "inadvertently omitted" spousal income from as far back as 1989 "due to a misunderstanding of filing instructions." Though it has also been reported that he did report other spousal income on some disclosure reports up until 1996.

Virginia Thomas' income from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, totaling $686,589 from 2003 to 2007 according to Common Cause, was omitted from the forms entirely, as was her Heritage Foundation employment from 1998 to 2003 and other sources of "non-investment income" from as early as 1989.

When reached by phone for comment on Friday, two different officials at the Judicial Conference were particularly hostile in response to questions from The BRAD BLOG in regard to what appeared to be special treatment afforded the Supreme Court Justice, allowing him to deliver the amendment letters for twenty years of inaccurate financial disclosure forms on a Saturday when the federal government office is not usually open to the public. The swift processing of Thomas' documents, carried out as the news of his false filings was about to break in the media, allowed subsequent news reports to downplay the issue as having already been handled, old news.

Moreover, Thomas' 'inadvertent omissions' appear to be in violation of U.S. federal law, in contradiction to suggestions from the Los Angeles Times' original reporting on this matter last weekend. That report, breaking the story publicly, quoted a judicial ethics expert from Northwestern University School of Law as asserting that Thomas' failure to report his wife's income was "not a crime of any sort."

It would appear that the law professor was wrong.

Closer examination of the original disclosure forms that Thomas filed and signed year after year, quite directly suggests crimes were committed, though none of the mainstream corporate media reports on this issue, to our knowledge, have bothered to focus on that point. According to the statute clearly printed on the disclosure reports filed by Thomas, just below his signature on each, the Supreme Court Justice could be held accountable for his omissions by penalties under the U.S. Code including as much as a $50,000 fine and up to one year imprisonment, or both, for each violation of the federal law. Even stricter penalties are also a possibility --- at least if one believes that even U.S. Supreme Court Justices are subject to the Rule of Law...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2011 11:01am PT  

Here's what happened last night in Egypt (late last night in U.S.):

And with that, Egypt effectively "vanished from the Internet" yesterday as the uprising against a repressive, U.S. backed regime began to take full bloom and, as of this hour, continues to rage.

Meanwhile, back in these United States, folks like Sen. Joe Lieberman are pushing a bill, the "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset" act, to make provisions for a U.S. government "Internet Kill Switch" to allow them to do the same. Now why would folks like Lieberman want that?

The latest revision of this bill, according to FastCompany, "bans judicial review over executive decrees" to take down all, or portions of, the Internet.

On a very related note... Thanks to the Internet, you can watch the uprising in Egypt going on as we speak, via Al Jazeera English's streaming live coverage here, just in case you find that CNN and the others are still offering wall-to-wall coverage of Charlie Sheen. You can also follow ongoing Twitter reports on Egypt via the #Jan25 and #Egypt hashtags.

And on another very related note... The recent uprising, revolution and new government in Tunisia was triggered, in no small part, thanks to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks detailing the corruption of the ruling family. That revolution helped spark the one going on right now in Egypt, where the people have taken to the streets to challenge the thirty-year, iron-fisted rule of Hosni Mubarik, a long-time U.S. ally.

WikiLeaks has now released U.S. cables describing "routine and pervasive" use of police brutality and widespread torture by the Egyptian state, our allies, against "criminals, Islamist detainees, opposition activists and bloggers," as The Guardian describes the leaked cables today.

In Yemen, another ally of the U.S., citizen protests inspired by Tunisia and Egypt are also reportedly underway. And this morning, rumors of unrest in Syria were also spreading via Twitter.

With very real democratic revolutions happening in the Middle East --- one of the purported excuses once given for the U.S. invasion and mass murders in Iraq --- coming about through peaceful uprisings (but for governmental aggression in response) there, thanks in no small part to WikiLeaks, wouldn't folks like Joe Biden be wise to reconsider his recent, offensive assessment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a "high-tech terrorist"?

Perhaps not. Perhaps the Vice President has good reason to stand by that astonishing incitement of violence against a private Australian citizen and an organization neither charged with, nor convicted of, any crimes against the U.S.. After all, we have, for decades, been propping up the repressive Egyptian regime with billions of dollars in funding and armaments. And, by way of reminder, it is being reported that the tear gas canisters being hurled against Egyptian citizen demonstrators right now are clearly and proudly marked as "Made in the U.S.A."

But, of course, "they hate us for our freedoms." So remind us again, Mr. Vice President, who are the terrorists --- high-tech or low-tech --- here?




Would-be assassin Byron Williams referred specifically to Beck's June 2010 shows where he had warned of 'communist' takeover in DC by Pelosi and other 'revolutionaries'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2011 4:43pm PT  

But, of course, "both sides do it!"...sigh...[via Stephen Webster at RAW STORY]...


The video above was from June 10, 2010.

"You need to go back to June --- June of this year, 2010," said would-be mass murderer Byron Williams, referring to Glenn Beck in a jailhouse interview. Williams had been stopped by police in a San Francisco shoot out on his way to assassinate members of the ACLU and the progressive Tides Foundation in July of 2010. "Look at all his programs from June, and you'll see he's been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption," Williams, who viewed Beck as a "schoolteacher on TV," later said.

In case you are wondering about Beck's comments in the video above, thinking it must be out of context or something, it's not. The transcript (as taken from the Fox "News" website) revealing the context, follows below...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2011 11:34am PT  

So, despite all the sturm und drang, despite all the outraged comments from both Republican and Democratic officials, despite all the calls for its founder Julian Assange to be assassinated without trial, criminal charges of any kind, or any due process whatsoever, despite the Vice President of the United States even smearing him as a "terrorist" on network television, it turns out there has been no substantive damage at all from leaked documents published by WikiLeaks and their partner media outfits, according to Mark Hosenball at Reuters, as based on interviews with government officials.

In short, as Salon's Glenn Greenwald describes it today, "To say that the Obama administration's campaign against WikiLeaks has been based on wildly exaggerated and even false claims is to understate the case. But now, there is evidence that Obama officials have been knowingly lying in public about these matters."

According to Reuters...

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




The fine line between advocacy and incitement...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2011 9:33am PT  

[Update 4:26pm PT: Related to the story below, one of the victims of the Tucson shooting has just been arrested for issuing a threat against Rightwingers at a taping for an ABC News special. It seems incitements by some are taken more seriously than incitements by others. Story here... -BF]

* * *

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I find it chilling to hear so many U.S. government officials calling for the leader of this organization, Julian Assange, to be labeled an 'enemy combatant' and jailed --- or worse."-Letter from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to Tom Hayden

Recently, a number of prominent politicians and pundits have called for the violent targeting of other individuals who have been neither accused nor charged with any crimes whatsoever, calling into the question the legality of such incitements to violence.

This article will transcend the issue of "moral responsibility" on the part of those politicians and pundits for the horrific consequences that may, and often do, ensue as the result of their deliberate appeals to fear, prejudice and hate so as to examine when such rhetoric actually amounts to an actual crime under the laws of our land.

There can be little doubt that, as observed by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the combination of 24/7 "vitriolic rhetoric" on TV and radio (See video below for poignant examples of such rhetoric), the absence of gun control, with leading U.S. politicians calling for "Second Amendment remedies," and the placement of "crosshairs" over a political opponent's district while calling on citizens to "reload," can produce lethal consequences --- consequences that are not limited to the actions of the deranged.

Such rhetoric is both the product and cause of dehumanization --- a process defined by Professor Phillip Zimbardo in The Lucifer Effect as a means "by which certain other people or collectives of them are depicted as less than human..."

Zimbardo writes:

The process begins with stereotyped conceptions of the other,...conceptions of the other as worthless, the other as all-powerful,…the other as a fundamental threat to our cherished values and beliefs. With public fear notched up and enemy threat imminent, reasonable people act irrationally, independent people act in mindless conformity, and peaceful people act as warriors. Dramatic visual images of the enemy on posters, television, magazine covers, movies, and the internet imprint on the recesses of the limbic system, the primitive brain, with the powerful emotions of fear and hate.

Where we covered the scientific work of Zimbardo and others in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization," and in a follow-up, demonstrating how the process applies both when directed to foreign "threats" and domestic "foes," here the focus is the thin legal line, unique to the U.S. courtesy of the First Amendment, between advocacy and incitement, and whether some U.S. politicians and pundits may have, at least in the case of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange as they have now charged, crossed that line so as to possibly warrant criminal prosecutions...

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




Attorneys charge abuse of process, duplicity, public vilification
Shades of infamous McMartin Preschool trial, 'sex crime' fiasco...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/13/2011 8:24pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As the corporate media weighed in on the Jan. 11 decision to postpone a hearing on the Swedish request that the U.K. extradite WikiLeaks' spokesperson Julian Assange until Feb. 7, Assange's U.K. legal team filed a powerful, preliminary legal brief.

The Assange brief, citing extensive legal authority, not only sets forth why extradition will not lie merely for the purpose of questioning someone who has yet to be even been charged with a crime, but affirmatively alleges an abuse of process that includes duplicity:

  • on the part of Swedish prosecutors in releasing Assange's name to the press as a suspect in a rape inquiry in violation of Swedish law;
  • in disingenuously asserting that Assange must be extradited for questioning, when such questioning could be, as repeatedly offered, conducted in the U.K. under established international procedures;
  • in informing the Australian Ambassador that the evidence against Assange could not be released, even while granting a newspaper unauthorized access to the the prosecutor's files;
  • and in refusing to release documents which severely undercut the veracity of the case the Swedish prosecutors presented to the press and in their European Arrest Warrant ("EAW").

This latter allegation calls to mind the infamous McMartin Preschool Trial and the horrific and irreparable harm that can be wrought when irresponsible media fan public hysteria by joining in a public vilification that assumes, as true, volatile allegations of sex crimes.

The brief, citing Sweden's past role in facilitating the Bush regime's extraordinary rendition requests which led to torture, ends with concerns that Sweden's request to extradite Assange is a sham intended to facilitate his unlawful rendition to the U.S. for placement in Guantanamo, or worse...

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




Says organization 'target of unprecedented violent rhetoric'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2011 9:30pm PT  

Late this evening, via an announcement linked from Twitter, the whistleblower media organization WikiLeaks released a statement related to the Saturday attack in Tucson on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others.

The press release condemns "violent rhetoric by US prominent media personalities, including Sarah Palin" and urges that incitement of violence, including against their organization and its founder Julian Assange, be agressively prosecuted by U.S. officials.

Serving as spokesman for the organization, Assange --- who has personally been the target of a great deal of inflammatory rhetoric and violent threats by a number of prominent politicians including not only Palin, but even Vice President Joe Biden who referred to him recently as "a high-tech terrorist" --- is quoted in the press release as saying: "No organisation anywhere in the world is a more devoted advocate of free speech than Wikileaks but when senior politicians and attention seeking media commentators call for specific individuals or groups of people to be killed they should be charged with incitement --- to murder."

"Those who call for an act of murder deserve as significant share of the guilt as those raising a gun to pull the trigger," he said.

After offering condolences and sympathies for those injured and killed in the shooting spree, the press release, posted in full below, details several violent suggestions, or "incitements to kill," as directed at Assange and WikiLeaks by a number of prominent media personalities and politicians...

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




By Ernest A. Canning on 1/10/2011 4:35pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Follow @WikiLeaks on Twitter? If so, the U.S. government wants your details, and is trying to get at it through an extraordinary legal procedure.

Last month, in covering the landmark appellate court decision, United States vs. Warshak [PDF], which invalidated provisions of the 1986 Stored Communications Act to the extent that the Act permitted the government, without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause, to obtain electronic communications from an ISP (Internet Service Provider), we cautioned that it was unclear whether our courts would arrive at the same conclusion when the government invokes claims of "national security" issues.

That question is about to be tested as the Eric Holder Department of Justice has obtained what Salon's Glenn Greenwald described as a "sweeping" District Court order seeking --- in relation to WikiLeaks' Twitter account --- "all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the 'means and source of payment,' including banking records and credit cards." ...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2011 12:43pm PT  

Wonder if the former GOP U.S. House Majoriy Leader is still smiling.

From Austin American-Statesman moments ago...

Judge Pat Priest sentenced Tom DeLay to three years in prison.

The three-year sentence was on the charge of conspiring to launder corporate money into political donations during the 2002 elections.

On the charge of money laundering, DeLay was sentenced to five years in prison, but that was probated for 10 years. That means he would serve 10 years’ probation.

DeLay was taken into custody but he was expected to be released as soon as he posted an appeals bond.

UPDATE: WaPo now has more, including details on the only one to testify on behalf of DeLay at the sentencing hearing today: former Republican U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (who has his own legal issues).




By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2011 4:52pm PT  

This flier was circulated in Dallas in the days before John F. Kennedy was assassinated...

Any of that look or sound familiar?

If not, and if you didn't see the Tucson Shooting coming months and months ago, then you are living in a world of complete and utter delusion.

[Update 1/11/11: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., responding to the Giffords shooting at Huffington Post, draws a similar allusion to the atmosphere in Dallas in the days prior to the murder of his uncle.]

If you, like pretend media critic Howard Kurtz, are finding rationalizations and excuses to justify what happened yesterday, dismissing it all as little more than the work of a "lone nutjob," you are similarly deluded and among the most dangerous of apologists.

You are also anything but "conservative," since the core of that ideology used to include personal responsibility. Taking none, unfortunately, seems to be the new hallmark of the no longer any more than name-only movement.

Remember what happened after this video-taped moment in September of 2009, when Nancy Pelosi called for "taking responsibility for our words" before tearing up while recalling the assassination of Harvey Milk in her own district in the 70's, and while decrying the scores of death threats and broken windows at offices of Democratic members of Congress after they'd voted in favor of Health Care Reform?...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2011 5:19pm PT  

This afternoon, during my weekly "Muckraking Wednesdays" appearance with Harrison on KPFK/Pacifica out here in Los Angeles, we discussed the first day of the 112th Congress, Kindergarten Kapitol Kop Rep. Darrell Issa, the continuing intentions of the GOP to keep legal (Democratic) voters from being able to cast their vote, the seating of disgraced RNC vote cager Tim Griffin in the U.S. House of Representatives and the proposed new rules for filibuster reform [PDF] in the U.S. Senate.

Joining us on that last point was the great David "d-day" Dayen, news blogger from FireDogLake.

The lively hour follows in full below, if you'd like to give it a listen.

Download MP3 or listen online here...




By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2011 3:35pm PT  

Once again proving the well-worn axiom IOKIYAR ("It's okay if you're a Republican"), disgraced former U.S. Attorney, Karl Rove protege and the Republican Party's 2004 vote cager, Tim Griffin has not only been elected as a Representative to the U.S. House from Arkansas' 2nd district, he's also been assigned to a leadership position as deputy whip and has been given a seat on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, of all places. Guess they had to replace the previously disgraced anti-democracy champion Rep. Tom Feeney (FL-24) with someone, eh?

As Talking Points Memo notes...

A few years ago, Tim Griffin was a key figure in of the biggest scandals in the Bush administration. Democrats said --- and the Justice Department Inspector General later concluded --- that the Bush White House and Justice Department pushed out U.S. Attorney H.E. "Bud" Cummins III to give Griffin, a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, a plum spot as interim U.S. attorney that would pad his resume.

Now Griffin, who was elected to Congress from Arkansas in November, has been named by House Republicans to be a member of the House Judiciary Committee --- the very same committee which took a close look at his own role in the scandal that ultimately lead to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"Tim Griffin was a linchpin of one of the dirtiest, Washington-insider schemes that brought down the Bush-era Justice Department and now, ironically, House Republicans have appointed him to oversee the very department he helped undermine," Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement.

"Griffin loves to talk about his 6-month stint as a US Attorney but forgets to tell voters that he was forced to quit amid the national scandal about his hiring," Ferguson added. "It came to light that Tim Griffin was illegitimately appointed to the role of US Attorney as part of a massive controversy over unprecedented political influence over the Department of Justice. Arkansas families are right to question the character of Tim 'Dirty Tricks' Griffin and question his appointment to oversee our justice system knowing his rap sheet."

TPM has more on that aspect of Griffin's "rap sheet", but as The BRAD BLOG has detailed over the years, Griffin was also at the center of a dirty scheme to peel thousands of legitimate voters off the roles in Ohio in 2004, as revealed by his own "vote caging" emails sent to fellow George W. Bush/RNC campaign officials at the time...

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




Contests 'vague voter intent' determinations, reliance on Diebold op-scan tallies on Constitutional grounds
But GOP candidate's decision to drop contest of Murkowski certification could prove fatal to overall case...
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2010 6:53pm PT  

[Update 12/28/10: Federal judge dismisses Miller's complaint. Details now here...]

"We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future," Alaska's "Tea Party"-supported, Sarah Palin-endorsed GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe Miller said in a statement today calling for "fairness and transparency" in the election process, issued after filing an amended complaint in federal court. His statement concludes with the simple sentiment: "Election integrity is vital."

Miller has decided to press on in his election contest against the state's Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and their Division of Elections (DoE), as overseen by Treadwell, by filing a Substitute Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief in U.S. District Court in Alaska today. The filing comes after resounding losses in state court and --- if the state's hand-count of write-in ballots and the Diebold optical-scanner tallies of all the other ballots are to be believed --- to Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski in November's general election for the U.S. Senate. As the unofficial state count now stands, Murkowski reportedly defeated Miller (and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams) by more than 10,000 votes.

In the statement (posted in full at end of this article) Miller explains that his team has decided to forgo challenging Murkowski's official certification as the winner, allowing her to be seated in the U.S. Senate on January 5th.

"The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month." he said, "This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue."

But Miller's decision to drop his challenge to Murkowski's seating may prove to be a fatal blow to his case --- at least if precedent set by Republicans in Congress some years ago, ironically enough, is any indication. But more on that below.

After winning the GOP nomination against Murkowski, and then reportedly losing to her unprecedented write-in bid in November, Miller originally filed his election contest in federal court in November. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline subsequently responded by sending the case down to state court for initial adjudication on relevant issues of state law. Late last month, Beistline temporarily halted state certification of the race until those issues were decided, and last week the state's Supreme Court rejected Miller's appeal, siding with the state, on all counts.

Beistline had given Miller until today to re-file his amended complaint in federal court. His filing now includes just three counts asserting violations of the U.S. Constitution's "Election Clause" and "Equal Protection Clause" as based on both the DoE's liberal interpretation of state law in counting write-in ballots, as well as the disparate weight the hand-count of those ballots was afforded, versus those tallied by Diebold optical-scanners in the case of "pre-printed" candidates...

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




By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2010 1:09pm PT  

As this noteworthy New York Times editorial was buried by its publication on Christmas Day, it's worth highlighting here today in hopes that a few more folks may actually read it.

To date, the lack of alarm (by both media and, subsequently, the public) caused by the idea of major U.S. financial services companies serving as little more than instruments of unofficial U.S. governmental policy is troubling enough as is. That WikiLeaks, the organization being outrageously penalized by these enormous corporations, has been been charged with absolutely no violation of law, makes the actions of these banks even more extraordinary and chilling.

And finally, the entire affair is made most disturbing of all, perhaps, due to the fact that in 2010 none of this seems to come as much of a surprise to anybody, as reflected by the lack of concern expressed in the bulk of the mainstream media and, therefore, by the populace at large (most of whom, thanks again, MSM, likely have no knowledge of any of it, or why it's extraordinary in the first place)...

The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.

Visa, MasterCard and PayPal announced in the past few weeks that they would not process any transaction intended for WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, Bank of America decided to join the group, arguing that WikiLeaks may be doing things that are "inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments."
...
[A] bank's ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.

The fact of the matter is that banks are not like any other business. They run the payments system. That is one of the main reasons that governments protect them from failure with explicit and implicit guarantees. This makes them look not too unlike other public utilities. A telecommunications company, for example, may not refuse phone or broadband service to an organization it dislikes, arguing that it amounts to risky business.
...
The decisions to bar the organization came after its founder, Julian Assange, said that next year it will release data revealing corruption in the financial industry. In 2009, Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks had the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.

What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was “too risky”? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.




By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2010 3:28pm PT  
NORAD: Loses Contact With Santa Over Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan: December 24 - America's NORAD tracking facilities in Virginia confirmed that at 2:06 PM today they lost contact with Santa Clause's sleigh. At the time the signal showed Santa's slay over the autonomous tribal regions that share a border with Afghanistan.

"We have no further information at this time," said a NORAD spokesman. "The last transmission we had from Santa was when he filed his flight plan upon leaving Iranian airspace headed for Afghanistan. We had issued Santa the standard travel warnings about the region, but he insisted on keeping to his traditional flight track."

Pentagon sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said a CIA listening post on the Afghan/Pakistan border picked up a garbled distress call around the time NORAD lost Santa's signal. "It was barely legible," the sources said, "but there was something about going down and something about a drone. After that all we heard were jingle bells ringing like holy hell followed by twelve 'splat-like" sounds and then silence."
...
As we went to press al Qaeda in Pakistan issued a statement on Santa's disappearance.

"The infidel Claus was struck from our skies by the hand of Allah who caused a US drone to fire on his craft. Our fighters reached the crash site and report that reindeer taste like goat, but tougher. The infidel Claus is alive and is being held for interrogation. Our demands for his release will follow shortly. In the meantime, thanks for the printer cartridges. As for the mens' underwear, we clearly asked for briefs, not boxers. You are not only infidels but also stupid."

Full report...




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