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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, July 23, 2014
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record wildfires burn the Pacific Northwest; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Previous GNRs: 7/17/14 - 7/15/14 - Archives...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A Rightwing caller's admission in response to Brad on a radio show in NC underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's fake news show Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal the 1960 Election From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Adds Call to Overturn 'Citizens United' to Ballot
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama takes action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: California gets tough on water wasters...
Previous GNRs: 7/15/14 - 7/10/14 - Archives...
Koch Brothers' Radical Libertarianism Broke Kansas
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's Democratic opponent after tax cuts for the wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
Killing Zombie Myths Dead: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad takes on a bunch of lies this week that just won't die this week -- from e-cigs to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to 'global cooling' to the death penalty to marriage equality in Mississippi and more...
FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS CA DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES U.S. CONSTITUTION
George W. Bush appointee rules state system violates Constitution's ban of 'cruel and unusual punishments'...
'Green News Report' 7/15/14
Divesting from fossil fuels; Germany gives $1b to climate fund; Australia carbon tax repeal; All-electric Formula E racing revs up; PLUS: Climate denier Murdoch...
MO's Democratic Governor Discourages Quitting Smoking
Jay Nixon vetoes bill that would have exempted non-lethal e-cigs from being taxed like dangerous tobacco...
CNBC's Santelli Gets Schooled on CNBC
Fellow CNBCer slams the 'Tea Party' progenitor during on-air shout-fest in the perfect example of why people watch cable 'news' channels -- and why they don't...
GOP Voter Fraud Queen Ann Coulter Urges MS Senate Candidate McDaniel to NOT Pursue Fraud Concerns
Given her well-documented personal history, perhaps she shoulda stayed out of this one?...
'Green News Report' 7/10/14
Debunking the 70's 'global cooling' myth; Anti-science coal nuts in KY; BP oil in Gulf fish; Canada tar sands linked to cancer; PLUS: Pesticide killing birds & bees...
Challenging 'The Nation's Most Restrictive Voter Suppression Law': KPFK 'BradCast'
Journalist Ari Berman, just out of the federal courtroom in North Carolina, joins Brad to discuss the federal case; Plus MUCH MORE...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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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 Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2011 12:02pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Since taking power in statehouses across the nation in 2010, Republicans have been feverishly implementing new restrictions on democracy in advance of the 2012 Presidential election. A number of those laws, clearly --- and often deceptively --- designed to carve out blatant partisan advantage for the GOP next year, were examined during a recent hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The video of the hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot" can be viewed here.

This is the second of our two-part analysis of the hearing.

In Part 1, we covered the subcommittee's examination of new polling place photo ID restrictions designed to make it more difficult for lawfully registered (and disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters to cast their ballots at the precincts on Election Day. That issue --- which included some devastating cross-examination of long-time GOP "voter fraud" front-man Hans Von Spakovsky by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) --- was the first of three categories, as defined by committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) of new state voting laws covered in the hearings. All of the new voter suppression laws have been recently rammed through Republican-majority statehouses across the country.

In this concluding piece, we will cover the two additional categories examined: laws erecting barriers to the ability of individuals and non-partisan, non-governmental organizations to offer convenient registration for new voters and laws imposing significant reductions on early voting periods. Both are likely to restrict the number of voters able to cast their lawful vote in 2012 and, again, each is likely to disproportionately affect Democratic-leaning voters.

Finally, We'll also touch upon the status of legal challenges to these new laws by democracy proponents and challenges to the Voting Rights Act itself by operatives on the Right. Moreover, it's impossible to look at any of these issues without drawing inferences about what the combination of new laws in all three categories means, particularly in light of the fact that the models for these new laws were drafted by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 5:41pm PT  

There are two important late Friday announcements from the newly revived, post-Bush Voting Unit at U.S. Dept. of Justice's Civil Rights Division this afternoon. In both cases, they've raised serious concerns about discrimination by Republican Presidential front-runner Rick Perry's Texas against Hispanic and African-American voters.

Given the Lone Star State's history of discrimination against racial minorities, new laws and regulations which relate to elections and voting must be pre-cleared by the Dept. of Justice before they can be put into effect, as per Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act.

In one finding, the DoJ sees purposeful discrimination against minorities in the state's redistricting plans [PDF] for apportioning both new statehouse districts, as well as four new U.S. House seats being added in the wake of the 2010 census. The new seats are being added due to an increase in the TX population, thanks in no small part, ironically enough, to huge growth in the state's Hispanic population. The DoJ finds the proposed statehouse plan violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stating that it "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."

The TX plan for the U.S. House didn't fare much better (see below), with similar findings that minorities are likely to see a "retrogressive effect" in their ability "to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the United States House of Representatives" under Perry's approved scheme.

Moreover, in a letter that echoes questions recently sent by the DoJ to the state of South Carolina about their new polling place Photo ID restrictions, as The BRAD BLOG detailed earlier this month, the DoJ has a series of questions concerning Texas' new, very similar restrictions. As the law mirrors the one in South Carolina --- and in many of the other states where the GOP has been able to ram through similar voter suppression bills over the past year --- many of the questions from the DoJ to TX also ask about the their plans for notification about the law, and issuance of free IDs to the more than 600,000 otherwise-legally qualified voters who don't currently own state-issued ID that would meet the strict new requirements to cast a vote at the polls on Election Day.

In TX, the DoJ voting unit is curious about how many of those residents who don't have such IDs also happen to have Spanish surnames...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 12:40pm PT  

Lee Fang at Think Progress offers devastating coverage in response to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)'s recent claim to The Street's Mallory Factor (video here) that those who pollute streams with benzene should be thrown in jail.

"I don’t want to pollute the water. I don’t want to pollute streams," said Paul, "If you dump benzene in the stream, I want you to go to jail."

Really, Senator? Are you calling for the billionaire Koch brothers --- likely two of your biggest and wealthiest fans --- to be thrown in jail then?

As Fang details, Koch Industries was indicted by the DoJ in 2000 for knowingly dumping "at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams" at its Corpus Christi refinery, and for conspiring to cover it up in an attempt to deceive regulators.

After George W. Bush took office in 2001, however, "his Attorney General John Ashcroft dropped 88 counts against Koch for the benzene spill and cover-up" in exchange for a guilty plea to falsifying documents and a $20 million fine (a settlement from $350 million in potential fines.)

The Kochs made out pretty well in exchange for their $32,200 contribution to the 2000 Bush campaign. The job killing Koch brothers are making out even better under Barack Obama. But more on that later. [UPDATE: Those thoughts now here.]

Suffice to say, neither the Kochs, nor anybody who works for them, went to jail for "dump[ing] benzene in the stream," as Paul is calling for, even as he calls for doing away with even more environmental regulations in his remarks to The Street.

As we've been highlighting of late, the Republicans have been on a tear against clean air and water regulation by the EPA recently, and have shown themselves willing to partner with their various front groups in the media, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and with folks like the Koch brothers to simply make stuff up about such regulations "killing jobs", in their 2012 "mother of all wars" to retake the White House.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/23/2011 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.

The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, and a witness in the second three-member panel, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.

Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.

In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...

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

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Paper ignores calls for criminal investigations of Supreme Court Justice, growing record of judicial lawlessness...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2011 3:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

However historically inaccurate the phrase may have been, the idea that Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned seems apropos the appearance of a David G. Savage fawning Clarence Thomas puff piece on the front page of the Sunday, July 3 edition of Los Angeles Times.

On March 7, as part of our coverage of a Daily Beast article, in which Univ. of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos called for Thomas to be thrown off the bench, we noted:

The BRAD BLOG was among the first to specifically detail Thomas' years of "knowing and willful" violations of the U.S. criminal code, even as the mainstream corporate media largely ignored or downplayed those violations of the Rule of Law in their limited coverage...

In a March 6 Los Angeles Times op-ed, George Washington Law School Prof. Jonathan Turley found allegations that Virginia Thomas received monies from the groups that had a direct interest in the outcome of Citizens United to be "particularly alarming." He went on to compare Thomas' cynical effort to equate criticism of his ethical lapses with an attack on the integrity of the Court to Louis XIV's infamous view that there was no distinction between himself and the state.

Yet, on July 3, Los Angeles Times gave page-one coverage to Savage's uncritical piece that begins with a self-serving description in which Thomas seeks to portray his radical and, at times, outright bizarre legal positions, such as his stand-alone position that prisoners have no constitutional right to be protected from beatings by their guards, as simply a reflection of a rugged individualist who is not afraid to be a minority of one when he thinks he is right.

During Thomas' contentious Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings in 1991, the late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA) took a very different view as he likened the Thomas nomination to a game of "Russian roulette":

If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.

The firestorm of controversy surrounding questions about Thomas' conflicts of interest, severe ethical lapses, and possible crimes has momentarily slowed a bit over the past month of Congressional (almost) recess and the usual D.C. media "summer vacation." But the list of reputable individuals and organizations calling for the embattled Associate Supreme Court Justice to be investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, removed from office, and possibly prosecuted is likely to grow again once politics as usual resumes following the Labor Day holiday, according to The BRAD BLOG's discussions with a number of those individuals and organizations.

In the meantime, the question remains as to why Los Angeles Times saw fit not only to publish a ridiculous puff piece on Thomas as the firestorm was still cresting in July, failing to so much as reference these serious issues, but why they even found it necessary to elevate such a softball article to their front page.

Before reaching that, however, let's again examine the real issues...

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

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State AG vows to litigate 'up to U.S. Supreme Court'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2011 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an Aug. 29, 2011 letter, T. Christian Herren, Jr., Chief of the Obama DOJ's Civil Rights Division, not only demanded that South Carolina, within 60 days, provide additional information about its recently enacted polling place photo ID restriction law, but stated that if SC failed to provide a timely "response...the [U.S.] Attorney General may object to the proposed changes consistent with the burden of proof placed upon the submitting authority."

Herren noted that SC has the "burden of demonstrating" that the new polling place photo ID law was neither enacted "for a discriminatory purpose nor will have a retrogressive effect."

SC's Republican Attorney General, Alan Wilson, in an apparent recognition that pre-clearance is likely to be denied, told those in attendance at a GOP fundraiser that he had "no faith" that the DOJ "will do the right thing." He vowed to litigate the matter "up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary."

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, on Aug. 5 the ACLU submitted a 15-page letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking a denial of pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of South Carolina’s polling place photo ID restriction law. The letter argues that proponents’ unsubstantiated claims of "voter fraud" were but a pretext for unlawful discrimination and that statistics suggest that the new law would operate as an illegal poll tax, especially for the disproportionate number of African Americans who live below the federal poverty level in the state.

Last Friday, SC's Senate Democrats weighed in as well, asking the DOJ to deny pre-clearance for what they contend is the nation's harshest polling place ID restrictions, which could potentially disenfranchise, for example, someone whose driver's license has been suspended.

While denial of pre-clearance due to the retrogressive effect of photo ID restrictions in SC would be a positive step, it will not serve to protect democracy and the sanctity of the vote in other jurisdictions not subject to pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As described by John Nichols in The Nation (see video below), and again by Ari Berman in Rolling Stone --- as we detailed yesterday --- state-after-state across the nation has come under a well-coordinated assault by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and GOP legislators bent on rigging electoral outcome as part of their war on the middle class...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2011 7:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last Friday, Aug. 5, in a 15-page letter [PDF], the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the U.S. Department of Justice to deny pre-clearance of South Carolina's photo ID law, as signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley (R), pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Pre-clearance must be denied if the law was enacted for a discriminatory purpose or if it has "the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color."

As the Voting Rights Act of 1965 addressed specific barriers to voting that had been enacted by the Jim Crow South, the ACLU letter, of necessity, focuses upon the disproportionate impact upon South Carolina's African-American electorate who are amongst the 178,175 registered South Carolina voters who do not possess the forms of photo identification required by the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law. However, the ACLU's discussion of pretextual justifications for the Palmetto State's new law exposes a GOP intent to suppress the vote on the basis of class as well as race not only in South Carolina but in the spate of similar photo ID laws that are being pushed in state after state by the GOP, and supported by their paid partisan shills in the right-wing media...

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

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DoJ deploying election monitors in 11 counties today...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2011 4:42pm PT  

It's Primary Election Day in Mississippi and so, in a preview of next year's nightmare to come, a quick look at the early reports of voting machine problems coming out of the Jackson metro-area as reported by the Clarion Ledger who, as is required by law for MSM reporting on such things, refers to the reported voting machine failures as little more than "technical glitches." That, even in one case where 3 out of the 4 voting machines in use at a single precinct had failed. Good thing they had paper ballots on hand --- and that this wasn't a Presidential election!

So here's a quick roundup, from the Clarion-Ledger's running blog earlier this morning, of some of the technical "glitches", "hiccups", "snags" and "snafus" reported before noon near Jackson where, unless they break down, fail, won't start up, have the wrong names on the "ballots" or feature other problems that keep voters from being able to cast their vote on anything but a verifiable paper ballot, they use 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines.

Oh, and the Dept. of Justice is deploying monitors to 11 counties in the state today for some reason...

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

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Why same MSM that hounded Weiner from office stays mum on Senate's serial hooker chaser and ethically bankrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/22/2011 2:06pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) submitted a complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics [PDF] alleging that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) violated a federal bribery statute when he submitted a May 23, 2011 letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar threatening to block legislation that would provide Salazar "a nearly $20,000 salary increase" until the Interior Secretary began to issue permits for deepwater exploratory wells in the Gulf at the same pace that permits were being issued before Salazar's moratorium issued in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year.

The statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201 (b) "Bribery of Public Officials and Witnesses" makes it a crime to offer or promise "anything of value to any public official" in order "to influence any official act" and CREW alleges that "Vitter's conduct is exactly the type of quid pro quo the bribery statute was intended to prevent."

While a scant reference to the bribery allegation can be found in the Wall Street Journal, and more extended coverage was provided by The Hill and by Politico, the same corporate-owned media outfits which hounded Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) from office for sexually inappropriate Twitter messages that did not amount to a crime, have remained largely mum about Vitter, the Senate's serial hooker chaser's alleged criminal activities, and his role in a taxpayer-funded "Con-Air."

Want to know why?...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/17/2011 1:44pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On his Tuesday radio show, syndicated over the public airwaves on some 200 stations, Rightwing talk show host Neal Boortz said:

This town [Atlanta] is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are - you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city.

His entire rant, appearing to encourage the vigilante murder of unnamed "thugs" across the major Atlanta metropolitan area, can be heard below.

The question now is: Did Boortz incite murder over our public airwaves and should he be prosecuted for it? Moreover, will complaints be filed by the public at the FCC's website (hit the "Take Action" button there, if you'd like to file your own complaint), demanding an investigation and prosecution for the potential crime and/or sanctions against the affiliate stations who broadcast it to the public?...

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

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Vetoed in MN while significant legal challenges likely elsewhere...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/30/2011 2:21pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Republicans in state after state across the country today, Memorial Day 2011, are remembering those who fought and died to protect our democracy by celebrating recent victories in their renewed effort to remove the right to vote for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of legal American voters.

It's been just days since we filed "GOP Voter Suppression Shifts Into High Gear in State After State as 'Tea Party' Shell Game Exposed" on May 23, detailing new GOP-passed polling place Photo ID restrictions in states like SC and FL, but since then we can report that Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a bill legalizing polling place photo ID restrictions in TX and Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a photo ID restriction bill in WI.

Both of them, as opponents have documented over and over again, will serve to do little more than to disenfranchise far more legal (largely Democratic-leaning) voters than those who will be kept from fraudulently impersonating other voters at the polling place, which, as even most proponents admit when forced, happens almost never --- if it all.

Thankfully in at least one instance since our last report, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) of MN vetoed a photo ID measure passed by Republicans in his state. So there is one case, at least, where the memories of our fallen soldiers might be appropriately honored this weekend, as one governor has remembered to protect the very thing that so many of them died for.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enactment of Indiana's photo ID law in Crawford vs. Marion County Election Bd. (2008), both the new WI photo ID law, which may cost WI taxpayers $7 million to implement, and both the SC and TX photo ID laws, which do not even recognize student photo IDs, may be subject to significant legal challenges...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2011 6:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I don’t want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, said while addressing a right-wing Christian audience in 1980. "[O]ur leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added after he denigrated those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation as people who suffer from the "goo goo syndrome."

Voter suppression has long been a staple of American politics, but the tsunami of new restrictions on the polling place now being rammed through by newly-elected Republican majorities in state after state is unprecedented, certainly since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have been ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While most Americans may think of the poll tax and literacy tests as forms of voter suppression associated the Jim Crow South, the confirmation hearings of the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist included sworn testimony from former U.S. Attorney James Brosnahan and others reflecting that, as an early 60's GOP activist, Renquist intimidated African-American and Hispanic voters in AZ by challenging their ability to read.

1965's Voting Rights Act outlawed both the poll tax and literacy tests. In more recent times, pursuant to a 1987 federal court consent decree, and a subsequent provision of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, another GOP suppression tactic, "caging lists," was banned, though as documented by the BBC's Greg Palast, the Bush administration-led Plutocrats didn't let a little matter like illegality get in the way of their use.

21st Century voter suppression operates under cover. Or it had, until the new wave of legislation being passed by GOP legislatures across the country began hitting its stride. Until FL's then-governor Charlie Crist overturned it, for example, the state banned convicted felons from voting even years after they'd been released from prison. In Armed Madhouse, Palast asserts that prior to the 2000 Presidential election, FL's then Sec. of State Katherine Harris, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of candidate George W. Bush, purged 94,000 "felons" from the state's computerized voter rolls, though the only "crime" at least 91,000 were guilty of was "being Black, Democrat or both."

Over much of the past decade, voter suppression efforts have been bolstered by bogus "voter fraud" claims leveled at groups like ACORN, who aided in the registration of those who might be likely to vote against the GOP (minorities and the working class); "non-partisan" GOP astroturf groups like the phony American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) created after the 2004 election solely to create and spread false propaganda about a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic; laws meant to increase the legal risk to real non-partisan organizations for assisting in registration; draconian polling place "photo ID" restriction laws, and in a reduction of opportunities for early voting.

With the tide of GOP victories at the ballot box last November, those efforts have now been ramped up and are now front and center in some 30 state legislatures across the country...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Chernobyl 25th Anniversary edition
By Desi Doyen on 4/26/2011 1:39pm PT  


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ALSO: HBGary's CEO finally resigns, VR files D.C. Bar complaint...
[Now UPDATED with full text of letter]
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2011 1:05am PT  

Washington Post's Dan Eggen reports tonight for Tuesday's paper that "more than a dozen" Democrats in the U.S. House are now calling on "Republican leaders" to open an investigation into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot which had been set to target the Rightwing lobbying firms' perceived political enemies (which turned out to include me and my family at the top of their list, as reported in detail previously) with a proposed $12 million smear, forgery, fraud, and disinformation campaign.

While the Democrats letter calling for a Congressional probe will not be released until Tuesday [Update: The full text of the letter is now posted at the end of this article below], Eggen's reportage makes it clear that their concerns focus on the same disturbing point which we highlighted in one of our first detailed reports on this matter. Namely, that the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams was organizing the plot with three government-contracted cyber-security/intelligence firms that had planned to turn tools developed for the "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens, journalists, and progressive organizations [emphasis added]...

A group of House Democrats is calling on Republican leaders to investigate a prominent Washington law firm and three federal technology contractors, who have been shown in hacked e-mails discussing a "disinformation campaign" against foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In a letter to be released Tuesday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and more than a dozen other lawmakers wrote that the e-mails appear "to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics," including "possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech."

The lawmakers say it is "deeply troubling" that "tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens."

As we also noted some weeks ago, Eggen reports, "The companies proposed forming a 'corporate information reconnaissance cell' and discussed tactics such as creating online personas to infiltrate activist Web sites; planting false information to embarrass U.S. Chamber Watch and other groups; and trolling for personal information using powerful computer software."

Those "other groups" would include the non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization VelvetRevolution.us, as co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, in response to VR's StopTheChamber.com campaign launched in late 2009 to help expose the U.S. Chamber's perfidy and mafia-like tactics in their extremist Rightwing corporate "advocacy". The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the nation's largest corporate lobbying firm and has spent millions in disinformation campaigns fighting against clean energy legislation and health care insurance reform, just to name two of their recent projects.

While a Congressional investigation would normally be a no-brainer in a plot as pernicious as the one exposed here --- revealed by the release of tens of thousands of emails detailing highly dubious, and most likely illegal, schemes of this sort --- the fact that the U.S. Chamber and its member corporations also spent millions as the top funders of Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010 makes the likelihood of such hearings questionable in the now-GOP-controlled House.

A letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, demanding a special prosecutor be assigned to this case would be equally, if not more appropriate. Unfortunately, the DoJ is also compromised in this affair, having been the ones, incredibly enough, to refer the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams to the Bank of America for a parallel plot with the same three private security firms, in order to target WikiLeaks with a focus on discrediting their perceived supporters such as Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald. Given the DoJ's dubious involvement here, it seems similarly unlikely that they would take up such an investigation themselves either, but a letter calling for same from Congressional members might help.

In more new developments in this story tonight...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2011 10:41am PT  

On Thursday night, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert waded into the HBGary muck with an explanation of the scam that the cyber-security intelligence firm, along with two other firms (government contractors all) were putting together for law firm Hunton & Williams on behalf of Bank of America, in hopes of discrediting journalists and organizations that supported WikiLeaks.

As readers of The BRAD BLOG likely know by now, a parallel $12 million scheme was being hatched by the same law firm and same three cyber-security firms on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, targeting me and my family, as well as other citizens and progressive organizations the U.S. Chamber had regarded as their enemies.

(I was likely targeted due to my roll in The BRAD BLOG's co-founding of the non-profit, non-partisan VelvetRevolution.us which has, since late 2009, been running a StopTheChamber.com campaign to expose the insidious, mafia-like tactics of what has become the largest, most extreme corporate lobbying outfit in the nation. Relatedly, late last week, VR filed a complaint with the D.C. Bar Association against the three H&W attorneys heading up these schemes. I hope to have more on that at a later date, but you can now read the complaint yourself right here [PDF]. Legal Times coverage is here, Washington Post's coverage today is here.)

Though the U.S. Chamber side of the plot is not discussed here, here's Colbert summing up the scheme as proposed for Bank of America...


...And here is the short interview that followed with Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald who, the same as I in the U.S. Chamber plot, was placed front and center in the Bank of America plot...

By the way, though I didn't notice it while watching a Tivo'd verison of the interview above on Thursday night --- so don't know if it was in the actual broadcast, or just added online, by someone --- PC Magazine noticed a curious anomaly at the 3:22 mark of the above video. For no more than a moment, the infamous Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta, often used as a sort of trademark by the "hacktivist" collective Anonymous (the group which inadvertently exposed both of the above described plots when they broke into HBGary's corporate servers and stole the emails describing all of this) is briefly superimposed over Colbert's face, for reasons unknown --- but amusing.

* * *

For much more on the U.S. Chamber Plot, please see the links below for The BRAD BLOG's previous coverage of this disturbing story...

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