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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 1, 2014
'Green News Report' 9/30/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama creates world's largest marine sanc- tuary; Humans wiped out 1/2 of world wildlife; Also to blame for AUS' hottest year ever; PLUS: Oil co. joins Google to dump ALEC...
Previous GNRs: 9/25/14 - 9/23/14 - Archives...
'BRAD BLOG May Be Sued for Telling the Truth About GOP Operative': Hartmann TV
Brad discusses bizarre threat of legal action by longtime Republican voter registration schemer Nathan Sproul...
BREAKING: 5-4 SCOTUS Ruling Restores GOP Restrictions on Early Voting in OH
Bad news for voters. Good news for Republicans who like to win elections by trying to limit voters' ability to cast their vote...
7th Circuit Deadlock Means WI Photo ID Law Still in Place
Longtime court vacancy likely made difference in 5-5 tie; Scott Walker, GOP rejoice as 'electoral choas' reigns in 'toss up' re-election race; SCOTUS likely next stop for plaintiffs...
Too Much Voting Going On!: GA County Repubs Block Early Sunday Voting
Board of Elections votes against 'partisan' proposal to make voting more convenient, even though County already funded it...
Stewart Explodes Over GOP Climate Science Deniers on House SCIENCE Committee
And who can blame him? As White House Science Advisor forced to 'push a million pounds of idiot up a mountain'...
Federal Court Panel Denies OH Attempt to Avoid Restoration of Early Voting
State Republicans keep trying and trying to make voting harder (for some). Courts keep denying and denying their attempts...
'Green News Report' 9/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate Week Special Coverage continues: China will cut emissions; Experts say we're not doing enough; Admin makes econ case for action; PLUS: Corporate titans step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/23/14 - 9/18/14 - Archives...
GOP Values: Beating Wives, Suppressing Votes, Threatening Journalists - KPFK 'BradCast'
Latest on cases of GOP wife-beating judge Fuller; GOP voter operative Sproul; MORE...
Sproul Threatens BRAD BLOG With Legal Action After FL Confirms Our 2012 Reporting
GOP operative linked to years of registration fraud allegations sends bizarre email after yet another arrest of one of his workers...
'Green News Report' 9/23/14
GNR Special Coverage: Climate Week 2014 -- Climate March (largest in history), Wall Street protests (can ya hear us now?), special U.N. Climate Summit...
Report Cites Armed Walker Supporters Plotting to Target Democratic Voters in WI
'We can get our agents to watch polling location, identify the individual, and follow them to their residence'...
Resignation or Impeachment Would Be a Gift for Wife-Beating Judge Mark Fuller
2012 docs suggest domestic abuse of two wives and children by federal judge w/ lifetime appointment...
ACLU Files Emergency Petition to Halt 'Electoral Chaos' in WI
Seeks full 7th Circuit hearing after three-GOP judge ruling reinstates Photo ID law just weeks before election...
'Green News Report' 9/18/14
DiCaprio's UN climate role; Jindal plays dumb; Fracking confirmed (again) to contaminate; Black lung coal disease on rise; PLUS: Polluter front groups newest attack...
Audio of 911 Call from Judge Mark Fuller's Wife as She's Heard Repeatedly Struck
Chris Hayes plays horrifying audio from wife-beating incident by U.S. District Court Judge; ALSO: Calls for accountability from two Alabama U.S. Congresswoman...
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...


With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/30/2014 2:49pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Good news: President Obama creates the world's largest marine sanctuary; Bad news: humans have wiped out half of the world's wildlife; Scientists find humans to blame for Australia's hottest year in history; PLUS: A major oil company joins Google in breaking up with Rightwing climate change-denying front group ALEC... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): World War Fee: Utilities Holding Action on the Solar Revolution; Auditors Fault EPA for Lax Chemical Safeguards; California becomes first state to ban plastic bags; Tiny Spanish Island Nears 100 Percent Renewable Energy; Alaska Judge Dismisses Pebble Lawsuit Against EPA As Premature; Willie Nelson, Neil Young Lend Their Talents to Keystone XL Fight ... PLUS: China’s Haves and Have Nots: Clean air, water only for those who can afford it ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2014 2:49pm PT  

Bad news for voters in the Buckeye State. Good news for partisan Republicans who prefer to win elections by making it more difficult for voters to vote.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court have now overturned the 6th Circuit's earlier ruling that had blocked Ohio Republicans' attempt to limit early voting by shortening the Early Voting period by one week, eliminating the week where voters could both register and vote on the same day, and by doing away with Sunday voting before the election...

From UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen...

Via SCOTUSBlog comes this Supreme Court order staying the district court's order preventing various cutbacks in early voting (including a cutback from 35 to 28 days, and elimination of one of the two early voting days on a Sunday, a day African-American churches had been using for "Souls to the Polls" voter drives). [It is not clear from earlier orders which Sunday might be eliminated.]

Although the order is "temporary" in the sense that it will be in place pending a ruling on a cert. petition ultimately to be filed by Ohio in the Supreme Court, that won't happen before this election, and so for this election the new shorter voting period is in effect --- and not the old rules put back in place by the district court and affirmed by the 6th Circuit.

That the Court divided 5-4 along liberal conservative lines is no surprise...

See Hasen's coverage for his analysis of what happened here, and why he believes it was a mistake to even challenge the OH Republicans' new restrictions on early voting. Please note: We don't necessarily agree or disagree with his analysis, at this time. But you can read it and decide for yourself.

Our most recent coverage of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the lower District Court decision blocking the GOP voting restrictions is here.

The GOP in Ohio has been attempting to shorten and otherwise restrict Early Voting in the state ever since reforms put in place in 2005 --- in response to the embarrassingly disastrous 2004 Presidential Election there --- worked well enough that most of the problems voter had voting had disappeared by 2008. As we have documented over the years, every time they tried to limit those successful reforms, the courts had blocked them from doing so. They did so again this year, until today's 5 to 4 ruling by the Supremes.

It should also be noted that it is, arguably, because John Kerry failed to keep his promise and fight to make sure every vote was counted in Ohio's contested 2004 election, that the U.S. Supreme Court has now gone so hard to the right, with the addition of Justices Roberts and Alito during George W. Bush's second term.

With today's SCOTUS ruling, and the bad news from the partisans on the 7th Circuit concerning WI Republicans' draconian Photo ID voting restrictions, as our legal analyst Ernie Canning detailed this morning, it seems many of this year's most important elections may be won, or lost, in the courts --- before Election Day even gets here.

* * *
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Vacant seat on court since 2010 likely made the difference; Ruling, unless overturned, could result in re-election victory for Walker; Emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court likely...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/29/2014 6:02am PT  

With just weeks to go before mid-term elections and a "too close to call" Gubernatorial contest, disenfranchisement and electoral chaos in Scott Walker's Wisconsin reign supreme. And only the U.S. Supreme Court may now be able to do anything about it.

In a 5 to 5 ruling, an evenly divided, en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a Cursory Order [PDF], summarily denying an ACLU Petition for an Emergency Rehearing to put the brakes back on the state Republicans' Photo ID voting restriction in advance of the November election.

The ACLU petition followed on the recent extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench that had vacated a permanent federal court injunction of the law. That injunction, until it was lifted by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel just weeks ago, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing a Photo ID voting law which a U.S. District Court judge had found would likely result in the disenfranchisement of up to 300,000 perfectly lawful registered voters who lack the now-requisite, state approved photo IDs.

As we recently reported, the ACLU, in its emergency petition, argued that it will be virtually impossible for the Badger state's Department of Motor Vehicles to process the number of official state photo IDs that would be required to insure that every lawfully registered voter who desires to vote would get the opportunity to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. Moreover, thousands of absentee ballots that had already been mailed prior to the 7th Circuit panel's lifting of the injunction may not be counted since they did not include notice of the new rules requiring that they must be accompanied with copy of the voter's photo ID.

Following the 5 to 5 decision of the full 7th Circuit (one seat remains vacant, more on that below), the ACLU and other plaintiffs' only recourse for now will be an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Given the deadlock by the 7th Circuit and reasoning applied not only by the original U.S. District Court Judge in this case, and also by a 6th Circuit panel in an Ohio early voting case, as well as by six (6) of the (9) U.S. Supreme Court Justices who took part in a landmark 2008 Photo ID decision --- all decisions which were inconsistent with the reasoning applied by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel in the Wisconsin case, which has now been essentially upheld --- a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court has at least a reasonable prospect of success.

If you're confused, read on. We'll help you make sense of this...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen
Special Climate Week Coverage Continues...
By Desi Doyen on 9/25/2014 4:16pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'GNR' Special Climate Week Coverage continues: China's first-ever pledge to cut emissions; Environmental experts say we're not doing enough; Administration officials make the economic case for climate action; PLUS: Corporate titans step up to the challenge ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): India's emissions will increase, official says; Brazil refuses to reduce deforestation; Liberia signs 'transformational' deal to stop deforestation; ALEC lashes out at Google for "lying" charge; USFS proposes limits on journalists on public lands; Futurist predicts free solar in 20 years; Why Republicans went insane; BP loses in court again; Oil industry secretly preparing for carbon pricing; Endangered wolves get a reprieve in Wyoming... PLUS: Obama To Designate World's Largest Marine Sanctuary in the Pacific ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2014 6:05am PT  

Well, it took long enough for Washington Post's editorial board to take notice of wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, but at least they finally have...

THE CONSTITUTION says that federal judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour" - for life, that is, unless they commit an impeachable offense. Which brings us to the allegations of domestic violence against Mark E. Fuller, a U.S. District Court judge in Montgomery, Ala.

The paper then details the police response to the horrifying 911 call from Fuller's wife Kelli after the Judge reportedly "threw her to the ground, pulled her by the hair, kicked her and hit her in the face" (the actual 911 call is more horrifying still), leaving her bloodied inside their Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Atlanta on August 9th, and the disturbing similarities to the case of the NFL's Ray Rice, who was also allowed off the hook by the court system after beating up his then-fiancee/now-wife, as "first time offenders". (Even though Judge Fuller's previous wife alleged similar physical abuse during their divorce trial).

And then...

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

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But 2012 docs suggest resignation - even impeachment - would let the apparently repeated domestic abuser off far too lightly
TWO wives AND children allegedly beaten by federal judge with lifetime appointment...
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2014 6:24pm PT  

[A version of this article now cross-published by Salon...]

Over the last 48 hours or so, during which time I've been largely off the grid on jury duty, the story of wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller has finally taken off in the corporate media, as well as among a number of the elected officials who would be responsible for impeaching the 2002 George W. Bush lifetime-appointee to the federal bench.

I couldn't be happier to finally be playing catch-up on this story for a change, as calls for accountability for the federal judge from Alabama's Middle District have now become a "virtual chorus" over these last few days. The state's Governor, as well as both of Alabama's U.S. Senators and its entire Congressional delegation, save for one member (Rep. Mike Rogers), have now called for Fuller's resignation and/or impeachment.

His resignation, however, and arguably his impeachment, would be far too generous for Fuller, as I'll discuss below, given previous allegations --- by his first wife --- that mirror what we now know about him, concerning drug and alcohol abuse, as well as physical abuse of both the first wife and their children...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/18/2014 12:28pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Leo DiCaprio takes on his most important role yet; Louisiana's Gov. Bobby Jindal plays his dumbest role yet; Fracking operations confirmed to contaminate water supplies --- again; Black lung coal disease on the rise --- again; PLUS: Polluter front group attacks scary actors and musicians for speaking out on global warming ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Oceans smash all-tim temp record set 2 months ago; Red Tide off Florida smothering everything in its path; High-stakes climate summit aims to be turning point for climate change; US moves to reduce HFCS; US launches $70m fund to train veterans to install solar panels; Mine spill devastates Mexican farmers; Cuteness: Archbishop Desmond Tutu 'walks the walk' on climate ... PLUS: VIDEO: Naomi Klein on market capitalism vs. climate change ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2014 7:13pm PT  

On Monday's Politics Nation with Al Sharpton on MSNBC, during a segment on the NFL/Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, the issue of the wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller finally made it on to air, thanks to MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor who was joining Sharpton along with CBS Sports Radio reporter Dana Jacobson to discuss the latest in the NFL case.

Fuller, as The BRAD BLOG has been fairly relentlessly covering over the past month, was arrested for beating his wife bloody in a hotel room in August, before being allowed to take a plea deal allowing him off the hook with a pre-trial diversionary program that would expunge his record entirely, and leave him to continue his life-time appointment to the federal bench in the Middle District of Alabama. Fuller, a George W. Bush appointee, can only be removed from his $200,000/year job via impeachment by the U.S. Congress.

While the Rice case has been covered extensively over the past week by both the corporate media and elected officials, following the public release of a video showing the NFL star knocking out his wife in a hotel elevator, the Fuller matter has received very little coverage. As we reported last week, it's also received very little outrage from elected officials in Congress who might otherwise have brought articles of impeachment by now, had their been video tape of Fuller's bloodied wife pleading for an ambulance and help from police at Atlanta's Ritz-Carlton hotel in early August.

Following a segment concerning the 16 female U.S. Senators who wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week to demand a "zero tolerance policy" for domestic abusers in the league, Taylor noted the irony of the Senators failing to call for the impeachment of Fuller, despite the fact that, unlike in the NFL, those elected officials actually have direct control over the removal of federal jurists from the bench.

Beginning at around the 7:10 mark in the video posted below, in response to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)'s appearance on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS explaining the Senators' demand for accountability from Goodell, Taylor broached the topic of Fuller...

GOLDIE TAYLOR: ...But what I have to ask Sen. Gillibrand and the others who signed that letter --- I am very pleased and very proud that they stood up and called the NFL out on this --- but what about Judge Mark Fuller down in Alabama? Why haven't they called for his impeachment? Why this case [Rice], and why not the other [Fuller]? I've heard a lot of people talk about this...

REV. AL SHARPTON: Mark Fuller, for our viewers who don't know, is a federal judge who had been...

TAYLOR: Absolutely, a federal judge...who beat his wife here in Atlanta, got a diversionary program, but no one has called for his impeachment...

SHARPTON: ...and still on the bench!

TAYLOR: ...why not that?

SHARPTON: Still on the bench.

TAYLOR: ...and still on the bench, and still has his job.

DANA JACOBSON: Because the NFL is in the spotlight right now, and I think that's a big part of it...

Note to Jacobson: The "NFL is in the spotlight right now", because you folks in the corporate media have finally helped put them there. That's fine, and certainly long overdue. But you can also help put a member of the federal bench who sits in judgment of others, and who arguably beat his wife far more viciously than Rice did, and who also appears to be a repeated wife abuser, in that same spotlight.

As a Twitter user aptly commented tonight in response to the MSNBC segment this afternoon, "#MarkFuller is more of a threat to society than Ray Rice ever will be."

True. In any event, thanks to Taylor for finally bringing this issue to MSNBC viewers. Perhaps it'll catch on. It damned well should.

Here's the complete video from the 9/15/2014 episode of Politics Nation with Al Sharpton. Much more of our coverage of this case is linked below it...

* * *

UPDATE 9/17/2014: MSNBC's Chris Hayes plays portion of 911 call from Fuller's wife, in which she is heard being repeatedly struck. Full story now here...

* * *

Recently related stories at The BRAD BLOG:

8/11/2014: "Federal Judge in Don Siegelman Case Arrested, Charged with Abusing Wife in Atlanta Hotel"
8/25/2014: "Federal Judge Who Was Arrested for Beating His Wife (and Who Sentenced Don Siegelman) Is Now Hoping to Avoid Prosecution Altogether"
9/5/2014: "BREAKING: Federal Judge Who Presided Over Siegelman Case and Who Recently Beat His Own Wife Bloody Strikes Deal to Avoid Prosecution"
9/10/2014: "NFL's Ray Rice Loses Job for Knocking Out Wife, Federal Judge Mark Fuller Keeps Lifetime Appointment After Beating Wife Bloody"
9/15/2014: "Republican Senior Federal Judge, Domestic Abuse Experts Call for Accountability for Wife-Beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller"

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By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2014 11:36am PT  

Part 1 of this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio: How the NFL's Ray Rice knocked out his wife in a hotel elevator, lost his job and outraged America --- and how U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller beat his wife bloody in a hotel room, will have his arrest record expunged, gets to keep his lifetime appointment to the federal bench and very few in America seem to give a damn.

Part 2: What would you do about ISIS if you were President? Callers, lots of 'em, share their thoughts. I share a few of mine in kind. Nobody gets a free pass.

Plus, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, and a few more items here and there in what was a very lively show this week. You should listen to it.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Vote against ending debate underscores importance of 2014 elections; Rand Paul, Koch Brothers cut from same cloth...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2014 7:35am PT  

On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted to move forward with a final vote on a joint resolution to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision.

The 79 to 18 vote to end debate and move on to a final vote on the measure included 25 "yes" votes from Republicans. However, The Hill reports, many of the GOP Senators are expected to vote against the resolution, "but by allowing it to proceed [they] ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week." The Senate, which just returned from its 5-week summer recess on Monday, is in session for just two weeks before breaking for mid-term elections. A vote on the resolution may help to run out the clock on other Democratic priorities before the next recess.

Citizens United, as we wrote just after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 decision, has "opened the door to the creation of a new master-class under the aegis of the most undemocratic of institutions --- the private corporation." In fact, it has proven to have opened the floodgates for would be oligarchs, like the self-described "libertarian" Koch brothers, to further undermine the very foundation of our representative form of democracy --- a strategy that has resulted in their spending as much as $300 million to win control of the U.S. Senate for Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections alone.

"We should have debate on this important amendment," Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) declared before casting his vote for cloture, in order to end the debate on Monday. "The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics."

One Republican Senator who voted against cloture, who is apparently not even in favor of allowing the U.S. Senate to vote on the measure, is Kentucky's Rand Paul. The similarly "self-described libertarian" Paul, who is not up for re-election this year, but is currently a front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, joined a minority of his GOP colleagues in voting against allowing the proposed amendment to receive an up or down vote. That vote, as well as his past efforts to shield corporations from democratic and legal accountability, underscore once again that the Kentucky Senator and the infamous Koch brothers are cut from the same cloth.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a co-sponsor of the amendment, observed, the measure entails the "major issue of our time": to wit, "whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interest."

If it's up to Rand Paul, clearly he favors the latter.

Monday's vote is also a reminder that the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections are far more important than ordinary citizens may realize. The long-shot resolution, S.J. Res 19, would require two-thirds approval in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives before moving on for ratification as an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by three-quarters of the state legislatures. Given that extraordinary requirement, those voters who may oppose unlimited "dark money" political spending by corporations and billionaires would have to ignore a blizzard of Koch propaganda this year and vote Democratic or independent candidates into control of both chambers of Congress in order for the Amendment to become a reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/26/2014 3:51pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuclear plants; Scott Brown's amazing climate science flip-flop; Another coal plant bites the dust in NC; Cutting emissions will save more money than it costs; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'. Yep --- a salmon cannon ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Japan industry now fighting 'Minimata' toxic mercury treaty it supported last year; Methane bubbles discovered seeping in Atlantic Ocean; UN draft report: irreversible damage from human-caused climate change unless faster action taken; Daming dams - large dams destroy communities; Oil trains compete with grain trains; Which kills more birds - coal or solar? ... PLUS: Climate science geo-engineering pioneer fears it's all about to blow up ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The review will touch on several points, including

-- Whether such programs and funding are appropriate;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2014 11:09pm PT  

I was joined on this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), to discuss his "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] which he plans to introduce when the U.S. House returns from their endless recess in September.

He's been at work on the bill long before the local "RoboCops" hit the streets when Ferguson, Missouri blew up recently after the police killing of Michael Brown. As Johnson described the legislation in his March 2014 USA Today op-ed, presciently headlined "Small town American shouldn't resemble a war zone", the bill would "ban MRAPs, other armored personnel carriers, drones, assault weapons and aircraft" from being transferred to local police departments under the Pentagon's "1033 Program" and "ensure that the Department of Defense undertakes an annual accounting of what's been transferred, by whom and to whom to prevent military items from being auctioned on eBay or sold to friends."

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

But has the horse already left the barn on this issue? And does the Congressman stand a chance of getting his bill through our broken U.S. Congress, even with some apparent bi-partisan support for curbing police militarization from folks like Republican 2016 Presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, who recently called for the same in a Time magazine op-ed? You'll have to listen below to hear Johnson's thoughts on those questions.

After the Congressman left, I discussed a few other related items, such as the voter registration drive now taking place in Ferguson, and took a bunch of calls on all of the above, including at least one amazing one, in which the caller named "Al" insisted that "minorities are in worse shape than they've ever been" in this country. He says that "since 1965 we have been going down hill as a nation." Hmm... I wonder what might have happened during that year to make him feel that way?

I hope you'll enjoy this week's program...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Is it even fair? And could it have been even worse?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2014 1:39pm PT  

A very bizarre situation is occurring right now in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Hawaii, where last Saturday's Election Day was disrupted by a hurricane. While voting was successfully carried out in most of the state's precincts, 2 out of 247 were unable to open for voting due to the storm.

The result is that the contentious U.S. Senate primary race between incumbent, recently appointed, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and his challenger Colleen Hanabusa now stands with a little more than 1,600 votes between them out of about 225,000 cast, according to the "too close to call" reported results of those who voted on Saturday.

But the election is now being extended to allow those 2 precincts --- and only those two precincts --- to vote this Saturday.

The approximately 7,000 or so voters from those two precincts will determine the final results of the primary --- and probably the next U.S. Senator from Hawaii --- as Rachel Maddow explains below, while appropriately asking: "Is that fair? And if that isn't fair, what would be fair?...Is holding a new election for just those two precincts fair to either candidate? Does it advantage one or the other of them? Should we expect more voters to go vote now that they know just how important their votes are?"...

I don't pretend to have any answers to the question of "fairness" in this bizarre case, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. The current solution, as unfair as it seems to be, at least seems to be equally unfair to everybody, for whatever that may be worth.

One wonders, however, if Hawaii had a polling place Photo ID restriction, how many voters wouldn't be able to vote at all simply because all of their belongs were lost in the storm? That particular point, while a seemingly exceptional circumstance here, isn't actually all that exceptional. Remember when, for example, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy threatened the Presidential election in NJ, NY, CT, PA, VA and OH?

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

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