w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
The federal judge who oversaw the political prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was arrested over the weekend after allegedly beating his wife in a posh hotel room in Atlanta...
Fuller, 55, is a judge in the Middle District of Alabama and presided over the 2006 bribery trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
Police responded to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 181 Peachtree Street at 10:47 p.m. According to Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones, officers spoke to Fuller's wife, "who stated she was assaulted by her husband." Fuller's wife, who was not named by police, was treated by paramedics but refused treatment at a hospital.
According to Dan Whistenhunt of Decaturish.com, the Atlanta Police report says "The wife explained that she accused Fuller of having an affair with his law clerk. She said Fuller pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her. She told police that Fuller dragged her around the room and struck her in the mouth several times with his hands."
"Fuller said his wife threw a glass at him. Fuller said he grabbed his wife's hair 'to defend himself," Whistenhunt reports. "'When asked about the lacerations on her mouth, Mr. Fuller stated that he just threw her to the ground and that was it,' the report says."
"Police later discovered blood in the bathroom on the tub. Fuller did not have any marks or bruises, the officer noted. After medical personnel arrived, they noted additional bruises on his wife's legs."
"Fuller has faced allegations of domestic abuse before," Whistenhunt goes on to report. "The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press reported in 2012 that a Montgomery circuit judge sealed Fuller's divorce records. The divorce file is, 'wrought with accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse and the judge's alleged affair with his court bailiff,' according to the Reporters Committee."
When asked for comment this afternoon, Siegelman's daughter Dana described the news as "shocking" and "disturbing", but said the matter "seems to fall in line with the Buddhist philosophy of karma."
The BRAD BLOG has covered the Siegelman case in great detail over the years. The former governor, who is now serving time in a federal correctional institution in Louisiana for what 113 bi-partisan former Attorneys General agree had never been a crime before his promising political career was derailed by it, has long alleged that Fuller, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, had deep conflicts of interest on the case, and should have recused himself. Siegelman was found guilty on charges of bribery, though he insists, and the evidence shows, he never received any personal enrichment. (See 60 Minutes' 2008 coverage of the outrageous Siegelman prosecution right here.)
There has been a great deal of criticism of Fuller's refusal to recuse himself from the case against Siegelman, who has been described by supporters as "America's political prisoner". His work on the trial has been characterized as a "grudge match" by an extremely partisan judge with deep ties to GOP strategist Karl Rove against a very popular Democrat whose appointee had once investigated him.
Yet, even as efforts to free her father continue, and as Fuller was released from jail late today after posting a $5,000 bond, Dana Siegelman went on to offer a note of sympathy to Fuller's wife, family, and even Fuller himself...
Ari is in NC covering this week's hearings in federal court challenging what we've described as "the nation's most restrictive voter suppression law", as enacted by state Republicans just days after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act last summer.
This case --- and NC's law --- are really amazing. Most importantly, the results of this challenge, and the way the VRA must now be used to fight to protect voters from discriminatory laws, will be very important to similar challenges now pending across the country. In other words, this fight is important to NC, but it's arguably even more important to the entire nation.
Next up, we discussed the Rightwing stooge "reporter" Matthew Boyle, responsible for the fake 2012 story about a U.S. Senator and Dominican prostitutes, and my run-in with that same fake journalist back in 2011.
Then, Desi Doyen joins us for a few thoughts on Kentucky's genius climate change denying state Senator Brandon Smith and, as usual, for the latest Green News Report.
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
Yesterday we covered the story of 93-year old Willie Mims, the African-American man who was turned away from the polling place in Alabama for lack of a Photo ID, after having voted successfully in nearly every election since WWII.
Mims had a drivers license, but it had expired. So, according to the polling place Photo ID restriction law enacted by state Republicans, even though Mims would have had his photo on it and even an address that matched his voter registration, he was not allowed to cast his vote during yesterday's primary election.
But Mims was hardly the only one who was kept from voting yesterday, under the first official statewide run of the AL GOP's polling place Photo ID law. (The law was passed in 2011, but didn't take effect until now, since the state was waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to knock down the section of the Voting Rights Act that would likely have blocked the racially discriminatory statute from taking effect.)
Kay Campbell of AL.com shared this story yesterday of another long time voter who lost her right to vote thanks to the same law...
The voter, a great-grandmother to five, was deeply embarrassed by the whole incident and declined to talk directly with AL.com, but she gave her go-ahead for her neighbor, who took her to the polls, to relay the incident, with the provision that her name not be used.
The license had expired in August 2013. She had not renewed it because her eyesight is failing and she has made the tough decision to quit driving. But she thought since it was so recent, it would work. She uses it to cash checks and in other rare incidences when she is asked for an ID.
As we also noted yesterday, via MSNBC's Zachary Roth, Alabama has a loophole built into the law, which the NAACP Legal Defense fund describes [PDF] as "an illegal relic of the Jim Crow South". It allows a voter without the very specific state-issued Photo ID now required to cast a ballot, to vote anyway so long as two poll workers at the precinct can vouch for them.
Campbell reports that Libba Nicholson, the neighbor who drove the elderly woman to the polling place, "said that the woman in charge of the Help Desk asked the other poll workers if any of them recognized her - just one more verification would have done it, Nicholson said, but no one did."
And then there was this...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
Here is just one more of the hundreds of thousands of reasons that have led the U.S. Dept. of Justice to file suit against Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID restriction law.
The same law had been previously blocked by the DoJ and again by a federal court under the federal Voting Rights Act, after the state's own data showed the law discriminated against racial minorities and others, while failing to deter actual voter fraud in the state.
But, literally minutes after SCOTUS gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act last Summer, the section which was used to strike down the law previously, Texas Republicans announced their intention to re-enact the law which, of course, they knew to be discriminatory.
As the Waco Tribune reports, 92-year old Ruby Barber has tried, but has so far failed, to obtain one of those so-called "free" Photo IDs from the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS), now that one is required for her to cast her legal vote this year, as she had for decades, until now, without a problem.
Barber's story is heartbreaking and maddening but, unfortunately, probably not entirely rare. The DoJ estimated, based on the state's supplied data when the federal agency blocked the law in 2012, "the total number of registered voters [in Texas] who lack a driver's license or personal identification card issued by DPS could range from 603,892 to 795,955."
Barber's driver's license expired in 2010 and she's now having difficulty locating "her nearly century-old birth certificate that she'd need to obtain a voter ID under a new state law." As the New York Daily News reports, the details of Barber's story and her fight to try and cast her vote are simply absurd...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
Very big news out of a federal court in Wisconsin today, where the state's polling place Photo ID law (Act 23) has now been struck down as both a violation of the federal Constitutional as well as under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
While similar laws, all enacted by Republicans, have been struck down by state courts before --- indeed, Wisconsin's, was already found in violation of the state constitution in state court --- and in federal courts under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, today's ruling is the first to strike down such a law under Section 2 of the VRA.
The landmark ruling will almost certainly have national implications for federal challenges in other states against similar restrictions recently enacted by Republicans.
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the VRA by making Section 5 unenforceable until Congress passes new legislation to determine which jurisdictions must pre-clear new elections laws with the U.S. Dept. of Justice before they are put into effect, due to a history of racial discrimination in elections in those jurisdictions. Section 2, however, bars discrimination in all 50 states, even though, unlike Section 5, it cannot be applied until after the new law in question goes into effect.
Judge Lynn Adelman's ruling [PDF] today, finding WI's version of the law discriminatory and in violation of both Section 2 and the 14th Amendment of the federal Constitution, is likely to have an impact on federal challenges to similar laws in states such as Texas and North Carolina, where federal cases are pending to block similarly discriminatory polling place restrictions.
Moreover, the judge placed the racial and class discrimination and disenfranchisement that would be caused by this law in stark terms, in regard to how many otherwise legal voters in Wisconsin might lose their right to vote, and how such a law might have directly affected the results of the state's 2010 election, had it been place at the time...
The leaked release [PDF] of the conclusions from the long-researched and much-debated U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's still-unreleased 6,600-page report on the CIA's Bush-era secret detention and
enhanced interrogation torture program reveals illegalities by the agency that include lying to Congress (and potentially the White House), the leaking of classified material and the misleading of federal investigators at both the CIA Inspector General's office as well as the Dept. of Justice.
The conclusions allege that the conditions for imprisonment and the torture that often accompanied it were "brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers." But that's not all.
The report finds the CIA was incompetent in their handling of the program, endangered national security in the process, and appears to have committed international war crimes. There is also the small fact that the interrogation techniques used by the CIA failed to reveal any actual intelligence and, as the report concludes, "damaged the United States' global reputation, and came with heavy costs, both monetary and non-monetary."
Other than that, the program worked great!
It's little wonder then that the CIA has gone to such lengths --- including spying on and attempting to sabotage the work being done by the Senate committee itself since 2008 --- to try and cover it all up. It's also little wonder that one of the program's most ardent supporters, Dick Cheney, has been working so hard to lie about it all for so many years. If you were likely a war criminal, wouldn't you do the same thing?
What may be considered more of an outstanding question is why the Obama Administration decided that it was okay to not prosecute the perpetrators of the blatant and broad swath of U.S. and international crimes detailed in the report as having been allegedly carried out by the CIA, its agents, its contractors, and any number of other high-ranking federal officials who knew about some or all of it.
The Senate Intel Committee has voted to release about 500 pages of the report, though those pages must be first redacted and then released by the White House (which may have its own complicity in a number of the crimes detailed.) The Senators have argued that the release is necessary to avoid this country ever going down this path again. But, in truth, only actual prosecution will deter that eventuality. As long as those who committed such vile and abhorrent crimes are not actually held accountable, all of this will almost certainly be repeated in the future.
Furthermore, if we fail to prosecute, we will also have little ground to hold other rogue countries accountable for the same crimes in the future.
The report should be released in full, even if it must be leaked to the media, and the perpetrators of the crimes detailed within should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If the U.S. won't do that, other countries are obligated to try and do so themselves under treaties that both they and we are a party to.
The twenty bullet point findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report, as leaked to McClatchy, which released them on Friday, follow in full below...
Just over a week ago, it was North Carolina legislators ordered by the court to cough up documentation relating to passage of new, draconian restrictions on voting rights in their state. Now, legislators in Texas are facing much the same thing, as that state's extreme polling place Photo ID restrictions also face legal and Constitutional challenge.
By way of an eight-page Order [PDF] issued late last week, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has directed the State of Texas to serve upon the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) documents that relate to the question of whether "state legislators, contrary to their public pronouncements, acted with discriminatory intent in enacting SB 14," the Lone Star State's polling place Photo ID restriction law.
That law had previously been found to be discriminatory against minority voters in TX, and thus rejected by both the DoJ and a federal court panel as a violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). It was then re-enacted by the state of Texas almost immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a central provision of the VRA in the summer of 2013.
As reported by The BRAD BLOG last September, the DoJ, and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), filed separate federal lawsuits (now consolidated into a single case, Veasey v. Perry) in which they allege that the Photo ID law enacted by the Texas legislature (SB 14) violates another section of the VRA, Section 2, as well as the U.S. Constitution.
The documents in question, created by Republican officials and lawmakers, which must now be turned over to the court, may shed light on the actual intent of those officials in enacting the restrictive voting law...
A U.S. District judge has ruled that Republican legislators in North Carolina must provide documents revealing their work in passing and implementing a radical election reform bill which, when it was passed last year, was described by opponents as the "worse-than-anyone-would-have-ever-imagined voter suppression bill."
Late last week, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake issued an Order [PDF] in which she rejected a blanket refusal by NC Republican state legislators to provide any documents that relate to the question of whether the sweeping legislation known as the Voter Information Reform Act ("VIVA" aka HB 589) amounted to nothing less than a racially-motivated attempt to deprive African-Americans of their constitutional right to vote.
As we observed when the law was hastily enacted last year, among the law's myriad ways of making registration and voting much more difficult, VIVA includes "draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite the absence of any evidence of polling place impersonation in the state), shortens the early voting period and eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program."
VIVA was quickly passed last year on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial, 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The decision resulted in the gutting of a central provision of the federal Voting Rights Act. Before that, most of the measures in VIVA could not have taken effect unless they received advance approval from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a federal court. Such approval could have been obtained only if NC established that VIVA was neither intended to nor would have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or being the member of a language minority.
The new ruling may help plaintiffs establish violations of both the still-standing elements of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, the order to compel documentation concerning the law's genesis in NC, if upheld, could also have a broader national significance...
Big news on the Big 'Clean Coal' front today, just breaking from AP's Dina Cappiello [emphasis added]...
The proposed settlement is the largest ever of its kind.
The Associated Press obtained details before the settlement involving Alpha Natural Resources Inc. was filed in court in West Virginia.
The government says the company and its subsidiaries violated water pollution limits in state-issued permits more than 6,000 times between 2006 and 2013.
The government says they discharged heavy metals harmful to fish and other wildlife directly into rivers and streams.
The companies agreed to take measures to reduce discharges from 79 active coal mines and 25 processing plants in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In January of 2011, Alpha Natural Resources, then the third largest coal producer in the U.S., purchased Massey Energy Co. for $7.1 billion to become what Bloomberg News described as "the world’s third-largest metallurgical coal producer" and "the second-largest U.S. coal company by sales, with almost 14,000 employees."
The acquisition happened just months after the horrific April 5th, 2010 explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine near Montcoal, West Virginia. 29 people were killed in the explosion, described as "the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 years."
The tragedy at the Upper Big Branch mine would be upstaged just 15 days later, on April 20th, when BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and dumping some 5 million barrels of crude oil into the water over the next 87 days.
As coal and oil families mourned in WV and elsewhere, and as the country watched the unprecedented and unstoppable toxic discharge in the Gulf, it seems that Alpha was quietly poisoning rivers and streams in at least five states and fighting, along with fellow supporters of Big Fossil Fuel, to block the nation's transition to clean, renewable energy.
Proving once again that he is neither the radical reformer the Right pretends that he is, and that the non-Right had hoped he would be, President Obama attempted to conservatively thread an impossible needle in his speech today [full transcript] calling for a number of reforms to the government's current, sweeping collection of the private telephone data of Americans who are in no way related to terrorism investigations.
Once again, while ignoring many of the recommendations offered by his own special commission convened to make such recommendations for reform of NSA surveillance and other intelligence gather techniques, Obama is trying to split the baby and, in doing so, appears to be gaining the great admiration of...largely no one.
During a speech at the Dept. of Justice on Friday, he announced what he described as "a series of concrete and substantial reforms that my administration intends to adopt administratively or will seek to codify with Congress." Those reforms are, in fact, a series of limited changes that, almost all honest brokers agree, would never have happened were it not for the historically-important leaks by former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden. The President side-stepped what should have been "thanks" offered to the now federally-charged fugitive forced into political asylum in Russia.
"Given the fact of an open investigation, I'm not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden's actions or his motivations," the President said, before taking a shot at him by referencing the importance of "the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation's secrets" and "the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out." Those disclosures, of course, led to this moment and these reforms, however meager and/or cosmetic they may turn out to be. "Regardless of how we got here though," Obama continued quickly, in hopes of marginalizing the facts of Snowden's contributions to the reality of the moment.
Since he was not given his proper due this afternoon by the President himself, it fell to the Huffington Post's front page splash today to offer exactly that...
"True the Vote" (TTV), the Orwellian-named Republican "voter fraud" front group with a long and sordid history of deception and fraud won't take 'no' for an answer. Release the hounds.
The group has filed a formal notice of appeal [PDF] of U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos' recent refusal to permit TTV to intervene as a party defendant in the U.S. Justice Department's (DoJ) federal legal challenge to SB-14, the Texas polling place Photo ID statute.
Judge Ramos found that the interests of the organization --- which masquerades as an "election integrity" group in order to actually advocate for voter suppression --- were already adequately represented in the lawsuit by the state of Texas itself.
As they were filing their notice of appeal, the disgraced GOP "voter fraud" front man, Hans von Spakovsky --- who also just happens to serve on the "advisory board" for TTV --- challenged the court's rejection of the groups Motion to Intervene in an article published at the right-wing National Review. His work there, as usual, represents a masterful example of deception, dishonesty and well-remunerated cherry-picking. That is, apparently, what Hans von Spakovsky does for a living.
He is amongst good friends in the Republican Fraud community this time out...
A federal judge has found the bulk collection of metadata of U.S. phone calls to be "indiscriminate" and "arbitrary" and, therefore, in violation of the Constitution's 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. His opinion was hailed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden who has been asserting that point as the central basis for his having leaked thousands of classified documents in regard to programs run by the federal agency.
Politico's Josh Gerstein, who appears to have been the first to break the news today, reports it this way...
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.
Acting on a lawsuit brought by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, Leon issued a preliminary injunction barring the NSA from collecting so-called metadata pertaining to the Verizon accounts of Klayman and one of his clients. However, the judge stayed the order to allow for an appeal.
Now, Klayman is, in fact, a Rightwing loon who is separately in the process of, literally, attempting to overthrow the U.S. government. But, as journalist Glenn Greenwald --- the man who has been most intensely reporting on Snowden's leaks --- notes today: "the ACLU has a virtually identical lawsuit against the NSA as the one where the judge today ruled against NSA".
Judge Leon went on to write in his scathing opinion...
A federal District court judge has nixed a rightwing "voter fraud" group's Motion to Intervene on behalf of the state of Texas in the U.S. Dept. of Justice's lawsuit to block the Lone Star state's polling place Photo ID restriction law.
Last month, The BRAD BLOG reported on the DoJ's Opposition motion filed in response to the motion by the Republican "voter fraud" fraudsters who call themselves "True the Vote" (TTV). In its motion, TTV sought to become a party to the DoJ's federal legal challenge to SB-14, the state's polling place Photo ID restriction law which TX Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) instituted just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished one of the central protections of the long-standing federal Voting Rights Act this past summer.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos tersely dismissed TTV's motion, issuing a two-page order [PDF] finding that the organization's "interests are generalized and are adequately represented by the State Defendants."
"The Court finds that True the Vote's intended contribution to this case may be accomplished without the necessity of, or burden incident to, making it a party," Ramos said.
The Judge's ruling was in line with the DoJ's own response to TTV's motion. They had argued that the group had not established a right to intervene because their motion detailed little more than a generalized grievance and because its allegation "that illegal voting might be prevented by enforcement of SB 14 is, at best, speculative." Permissive intervention was inappropriate because, the DoJ argued at the time, since the group was adequately represented already by the State of Texas itself. Its participation in the case, the DoJ claimed, would be unduly burdensome in that the group seeks to divert the court's attention from the legal issues relating to polling place Photo ID restriction laws "to issues concerning True the Vote's numerous allegations of purported voter registration irregularities."
In our previous piece on the DoJ's response to True the Vote, we highlighted the group's extraordinary track record of deceptive voter suppression tactics and noted that it would be "absurd" that the hapless TTV should be ever be taken seriously by anybody, much less allowed to intervene in a critical federal lawsuit.
Although the court will still permit TTV to file amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, last week's ruling should serve to help expedite the proceedings without unnecessary diversionary tactics from this unreliable, deceptive Republican voter suppression front group.
Judge Ramos has set a September 2014 trial date in the case, which will come just two months before Abbott, defending the state as AG, will likely face his own election contest for Governor as the Texas Republican Party's currently-presumptive nominee. This past September, we detailed how the TX law at issue had already been found in violation of both federal law and the Constitution in previous cases that had come before the courts prior to the U.S. Supreme Court carving out the heart of the federal Voting Rights Act in late June of this year.
Oh, what fun. This, of course, is just one of the reasons why it's important that you help support and fund the work we do here at The BRAD BLOG. We're up against the unaccountable hoodlums and thugs like the far rightwing U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest lobbying organization in the world. So we must be doing something right.
And there is no tactic too dirty for the slimeballs at the Chamber, as we're reminded again in a new report by Gary Ruskin released Wednesday by the Institute of Public Accuracy titled "Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations" [PDF].
As Ruskin notes on page 22 of the new report...
Long time readers will recall the sleazy, likely criminal, $12 million 2011 scheme plotted by the mafia-like thugs at the U.S. Chamber targeting me, my family (who have nothing to do with my work), and other progressive organizations and activists who dared oppose their corporatist, anti-American agenda in even the slightest way. Their plot involved using tools developed by private government contractors (with taxpayer dollars) for the so-called "War on Terror", and turning them against private U.S. citizens for their corporate espionage benefit...
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