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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 2, 2014
After a Year of Digital Detox, David Roberts Returns
The great climate blogger from Grist is finally back on the Internets, with some very helpful thoughts for the information overloaded...
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
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...


'Fair or unfair...You gotta plow through that. You have to know what you're gettin' into'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2009 10:23am PT  


We hate to pile on, but we've been on the roll much of this week, and haven't had time to post this until today. But it's worth noting it here, if only for the historical record.

The soon-to-be Community Organizer, then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, in March 2008, was critical of then Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's complaints about perceived unfair media bias against her. Here's what she had to say about it back then (video above right):

PALIN: Fair or unfair, I think she does herself a disservice to even mention it, really. I mean you gotta plow through that. You have to know what you're gettin' into, which --- I say this with all due respect to Hillary Clinton, and to her experience and to her passion for changing the status quo also --- but when I hear a statement like that, coming from a woman candidate, with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think 'Man, that doesn't do us any good'. Women in politics, women in general, wanting to progress this country, I don't think it bodes well for her, a statement like that.

Because, again, fair or unfair, it is there. I think that's reality. And I think it's a given. I think people can just accept that she is going to be under that sharper microscope. So be it. I mean, work harder. Prove yourself to an even greater degree that you're capable, that you're going to be the best candidate and that, of course, is what she wants us to believe at this point.

So, it bothers me a little bit hearing her bring that attention to herself on that level.

Palin seems to have had a change of heart since her video-taped apperance early last year criticizing Clinton for not sucking it up in the face of "fair or unfair" media scrutiny, since she is now "bring[ing] that attention to herself on that level" by "whin[ing] about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her" by media, and even local bloggers, who she has now threatened with defamation lawsuits in a statement issued by her private attorney on the Fourth of July.

We don't think it bodes well for her, a statement like that, or for her passion for changing the status quo also.

[Hat-tip Paul Rosenberg at Open Left via BRAD BLOG commenter "Another Joe"]

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Which Franken will we now get in the U.S. Senate?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/8/2009 11:02am PT  

TheUptake continues their important role of sharing with the citizenry every step of the long U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, with some "backstage" video of Sen. Al Franken, thanking supporters at a luncheon in his honor, following his swearing-in yesterday...

And now we'll find out --- over time I'd think --- which Al Franken we'll get in the U.S. Senate. Will it be the feisty, funny, dogged, hypocrite-busting, pre-Air America best-selling author Franken? The too-careful, not-so-funny, conservative Air America stalwart party-Democrat Franken? Or will it be the independent, heroic, and courageous Paul Wellstone progressive Franken, whose seat Franken now fills, and whom he so often nods to, as he does with a few tears at the top of the video above, and again at the end when he notes, through more tears, what Wellstone "said politics is about...It's not about power, it's not about elections, it's about improving people's lives."

Good luck, Senator. Please choose wisely.

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By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2009 10:54am PT  

UpTake.org interviews Senator-Elect Al Franken: "I want to thank the UpTake for what you did during the recount and the contest, for making it so transparent, what the process was, the transparency of it. It was an unbelievable great service."

On that point, we'll concur with Franken wholeheartedly. Their coverage alone helps make specious, partisan propaganda disguised as commentary, like the WSJ's, even more laughable and baseless than it already was.

The UpTake's live video, radio, and live-blog coverage and analysis of every step in the Franken/Coleman hand count, election contest, etc., set the standard for the very best of indispensable citizen journalism. Big thanks and kudos are owed Michael McIntee, Noah Kunin, et al! Take a well-deserved victory lap, guys!

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Debunking evidence-free, sore-loser wingnuttery from John Fund and fiends. Again...
By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2009 9:45am PT  

In an unbylined Wall Street Journal editorial (why a liar and sore-loser like WSJ/GOP operative John Fund is so ashamed to put his name on his own writing we'll never know...okay, maybe we do), the once-respectable paper shamelessly asserts: "Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election."

In response, we'll associate ourselves with TPM's Eric Kleefeld's take on it, calling it "an essay that is so full of factual errors and distortions about what happened, it can drive you nuts if you'd spent countless hours following all the gritty details like I did."

It's all par for the cowardly John Fund course, of course.

But since the sore-losing, sour-grapes, tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists of the Wall Street Journal have taken the opportunity to propagandize the transparent Franken/Coleman election results by comparing them to the 2004 Washington state Gubernatorial race, where the Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire defeated Republican Dino Rossi during a long, sloppy post-election contest and court case, let's remind folks for the record, here in the reality-based community, what the judges in each case found in regard to the keyboard wingnut claims of "fraud"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2009 10:05pm PT  

Please check out my editorial in response to the Franken election, as published at the UK's Guardian yesterday just after the MN Supreme Court verdict. Here's a taste...

When ballots are counted in secret (or, in many cases, not counted at all), democracy is dangerously imperiled. Lucky for Minnesotans, that wasn't the case up there, even if it meant some eight months without proper representation in the US Congress. It was worth the wait.

Transparency was no match for the conspiracy theorists, including the RSCC, the head of the Republican party and even the Republican National Lawyers Association, who embarrassingly joined the black helicopter crowd in touting evidence-free claims of Franken's "efforts to steal a seat in the United States Senate."
...
When democracy is visible to all, it works. When it becomes buried behind secrecy, insider tabulations and computerized black boxes, the very basis of our system of government is put dangerously at stake.

Transparency wins again. Along with the voters of Minnesota. Nice to see the voters win one for a change.

Check out the whole thing, if only for some of the whacky comments posted by some of the wingnut dead-enders over there. One of them, "MikeMichigan" wrote in response to my piece, channeling every nutball with a primetime show over in Crazy Land (aka Fox "News")...

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

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Former Republican Senator's appeal unanimously rejected by state's high court; Franken 'entitled' to certification
[Update] Brad at UK Guardian: 'Voters win one for a change'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2009 11:14am PT  

[Updated several times at end of article...]

The Minnesota Supreme Court has just ruled that Democrat Al Franken will be the state's next U.S. Senator, bringing to a close the months-long contest against former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

The decision was a unanimous 5 to 0 ruling, finding that Franken was "entitled" to be certified by the state's Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and its Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

Pawlenty has recently said he would sign the certification for Franken, if ordered to do so by the MN Supremes. The state requires a signature for certification from both the Governor and the Sec. of State before Congress members may be seated. State law also allows for all election contests to be settled in the state before certification is signed.

Franken's seating would give Democrats a theoretical 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, following Arlen Specter's recent move to the Democratic party.

Franken, an author, former radio talk-show host, and comedian, was found, by a three-judge, tri-partisan election contest panel to have won the election by 312 votes following an historic, painstakingly careful hand count of nearly 3 million paper ballots cast in last November's election. Coleman may now appeal the decisions of the state canvassing board, the three-judge election contest panel, and the unanimous decision of the state Supreme Court to the U.S. Supreme Court...

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

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Or, 'Why corporate control of the media may be hazardous to your health'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/5/2009 2:15pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

"Americans think that it’s healthcare that produces health, when there really is very little evidence for that. What turns out to be really important is the nature of caring and sharing in society….Where societies are more equal --- and economic equality is the thing that is most important in this --- people look after each other…and pretty well everyone does better. There’s almost nothing that is better in a society that tolerates the extreme levels of inequality in the United States. And so, we end up dying younger than people in all the other rich countries, despite spending half the world’s healthcare bill." - Dr. Stephen Bezruchka, March 30, 2009

"Who are we? Is this what we have become --- a nation that dumps people off like garbage who can't pay their hospital bills?" - Michael Moore, following a segment in which a confused elderly woman in a flimsy hospital gown is dumped curbside near a Skid Row rescue mission, in his documentary Sicko!*

In Failed States (2006), Prof. Noam Chomsky, a preeminent linguist and one of this nation’s most prolific political writers, concludes that the U.S. suffers from a “democracy deficit” --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their elected representatives --- which he attributes to the manner in which “elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population…freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people.”

The deficit is especially acute in what Chomsky describes as “the most dysfunctional healthcare system in the industrial world.” Chomsky notes that a single-payer system --- that is a system in which all medical providers would be paid by a government entity as now occurs with Medicare --- has long been overwhelmingly favored by “a considerable majority” of the American people, but routinely dismissed by both the corporate media and the leaders of both political parties as “lacking political support” and not being “politically possible.”

The issue touches on the core contradictions which arise because we have allowed private authoritarian entities, corporations, to subvert democracy by controlling our economy, our mass media and the manner in which we conduct elections.

This piece will focus on the irrationality of a privatized health care system which values the wealth of a handful of CEOs of the parasitic and entirely unnecessary middle-men --- for-profit carriers and HMOs --- over the health and very lives of our people. It will explain what corporate America and their bought-and-paid-for politicians do not want you to hear...

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

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Update: Coleman may throw in towel if he loses at MN Supreme Court, according to Roll Call 'sources'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/3/2009 4:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) informed MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell:

I can't sign the certificate until the State court process is complete. We don't know who the winner is, but as soon as that process is complete and they give direction as to signing the certificate, I'm going to sign it…

Pawlenty's remarks are consistent with MN Election Law as interpreted [PDF] by the MN Supreme Court in Franken v. Pawlenty. (The latest MN Supreme Court action in Coleman v. Franken was recently covered here). MN law prevents either Governor Pawlenty (R) or Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D) from signing the certificate once an election contest has commenced and before it is completed in state court. It is also consistent with the legal argument presented by Al Franken in his MN Supreme Court brief [PDF] that the MN Supreme Court should order the Governor and Secretary of State to perform what amounts to a "ministerial duty" to sign and countersign the certification of election upon the completion of the state court process. This statement follows, within one day, Pawlenty's announcement that he would not seek a third term as Governor.

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter 'FreedomOfInformationAct']

UPDATE 6/4/09: Roll Call now reports that Coleman also may be ready to throw in the towel if he loses at the MN Supremes: "Sources close to Coleman say the former Senator would likely give up his legal battle and accept defeat if the Minnesota Supreme Court decides in Franken's favor. That's because Coleman anticipates that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) would ultimately sign Franken's certification papers."

The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...
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Coleman Attny: 'Send it back to 3-judge panel'; Franken Attny: 'Confident' he'll be seated...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/1/2009 10:42am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

From their respective press conferences following today's oral argument at the Minnesota Supreme Court on former Senator Norm Coleman's appeal of the results of his U.S. Senate election contest...

"We are asking that the court send it back to the three judge panel to apply the same standard as election night...Our case is in the offers of proof." - Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg

"The most important question is how long it will take to enfranchise 4,000 Minnesotans." - Former Senator Norm Coleman

"With a ruling from the State Supreme Court we’ll be at the end of this process...I am confident that at the end of the process...Al Franken will be seated." - Franken attorney Marc Elias

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

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'Virtually identical' to previous arguments, legal team says; Also seeking order directing Gov & SoS to certify Franken's electoral victory
Oral argument set for June 1...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/12/2009 3:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

During a news conference yesterday (video here courtesy of TheUptake.org) Marc Elias, representing Sen.-elect Al Franken in the election contest brought by former Sen. Norm Coleman, announced the filing of Franken's brief [PDF] responding to Coleman's appeal [PDF] of the decision by the tri-partisan, three-judge election contest panel's ruling which found: "Franken received the highest number of lawfully cast ballots in the November 4, 2008 general election for United States Senator and is entitled to receive the certificate of election."

Noting that, because of its ability to make credibility determinations, a trial court's factual findings are entitled to "great deference" in an appeal, Elias observed that Coleman had a "heavy burden" in showing that the three-judge panel erred on the facts and the law. He says it's a burden the Coleman team has not met in their appellate arguments. Elias noted that the legal contentions made in Coleman's opening brief were "virtually identical" to those that were made and rejected by the three-judge panel.

We discussed Coleman's arguments, and the three-judge panel's rejection of them, last month in 'For Coleman, the End is Near...'. As our legal analysis detailed, we agree with Elias' May 11, 2009 assertion that the Coleman legal challenge is "without merit."

For example, per Elias, Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg continues to tell the media that 4,400 uncounted absentee ballots were improperly rejected, but as we observed...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2009 12:22pm PT  

A few quick-hit gems worth noting from Josh Marshall and David Kurtz at TPM over the last day or two...

SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER

Anticipate Karl Rove's long-awaited testimony before Congress about the US Attorney firings sometime in early June, Rove's lawyer tells TPMmuckraker.
...

FIRST THEY CAME FOR ARLEN, NOW JOE

Not to be outdone in an effort to eke out a few more minutes in the spotlight, Joe The Plumber announces he too has had enough and is leaving the Republican party.

Of course, in Joe's case, it does raise the question of what party or militia he's leaving the GOP to join. Any ideas?
...

NOT AS BRAVE AS WE USED TO BE

Number of Gitmo detainees that the GOP hopes to keep off mainland U.S. soil with its "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act": roughly 250.

Number of Axis POWs detained in camps on the U.S. mainland at the end of WWII: roughly 425,000.
...

SOME THINGS NEVER FAIL TO SURPRISE

Can it really be true that the list of Americans who will appear on the Sunday shows this weekend is David Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and John McCain?

I guess it really is a center-right nation.

Our observation on the final item above: Looks like those old "Liberal Media" are still partying like it's 1999 2007. Color us shocked. Shocked!

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By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2009 4:45pm PT  

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "My hope is that our Democratic colleagues - if you start listening to the bloggers - if we're going to let the bloggers run the country, then the country's best days are behind us."

Out of touch much, Senator? We suspect if the bloggers actually did run the country, we'd be much better off (if only because you'd be out of office.)

But perhaps Graham is confusing responsible, educated "bloggers" with the right-wingnut "bloggers" he's likely more familiar with. For example, here's the very popular (on the Right) Dijon deranged wingnut "Gateway Pundit," Jim Hoft, with his insightful perspective on the important news of the day yesterday:

They're just two ordinary metrosexual guys going out for a burger ... Obama and Biden, two ordinary guys, go out for a sandwich and Obama asks for Dijon mustard at Joe's Hell Burger. ...I hear it's delish with arugula lettuce. Yum-Yum.

If that's who you meant by "bloggers," Senator --- and we're ashamed that Hoft represents our former hometown of St. Louis, MO --- we might agree with you.

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The former FBI translator and whistleblower suggests blackmail may be at the heart of Congressional refusal to bring accountability and oversight to its own members - such as both Hastert and Harman - in matters of espionage and national security
Exclusive to The BRAD BLOG...
By Sibel Edmonds on 5/4/2009 1:41pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Sibel Edmonds

I have been known to quote long-dead men in my past writings. Whether eloquently expressed thoughts by our founding fathers, or those artfully expressed by ancient Greek thinkers, these quotes have always done a better job starting or ending my thoughts - that tend to be expressed in long winding sentences. For this piece I am going to break with tradition and start with an appropriate quote from a living current senator, John Kerry: "It's a sad day when you have members of Congress who are literally criminals go undisciplined by their colleagues. No wonder people look at Washington and know this city is broken."

The people do indeed look at Washington and know that this city is 'badly' broken, Senator Kerry. The public confidence in our Congress has been declining drastically. Recent poll results highlight how the American people's trust in their Congress has hit rock bottom. A survey of progressive blogs easily confirms the rage rightfully directed at our Congress for abdicating its role of oversight and accountability. Activists scream about promised hearings that never took place - without explanation. They express outrage when investigations are dropped without any justification. And they genuinely wonder out loud why, especially after they helped secure a major victory for the Democrats. The same Democrats who had for years pointed fingers at their big bad Republican majority colleagues as the main impediment preventing them from fulfilling what was expected of them.

The recent stunning but not unexpected revelations regarding Jane Harman (D-CA) by the Congressional Quarterly provide us with a little glimpse into one of the main reasons behind the steady decline in the integrity of Congress. But the story is almost dead - ready to bite the dust, thanks to our mainstream media's insistence on burying 'real' issues or stories that delve deep into the causes of our nation's continuous downward slide. In this particular case, the 'thank you' should also be extended to certain blogosphere propagandists who, blinded by their partisanship, myopic in their assessments, and ignorant in their knowledge of the inner workings of our late Congress and intelligence agencies, helped in the post-burial cremation of this case.

Ironically but understandably, the Harman case has become one of rare unequivocal bipartisanship, when no one from either side of the partisan aisle utters a word. How many House or Senate Republicans have you heard screaming, or even better, calling for an investigation? The right wing remains silent. Some may have their hand, directly or indirectly, in the same AIPAC cookie jar. Others may still feel the heavy baggage of their own party's tainted colleagues; after all, they have had their share of Abramoffs, Hasterts and the like, silently lurking in the background, albeit dimmer every day. Some on the left, after an initial silence that easily could have been mistaken for shock, are jumping from one foot to the other, like a cat on a hot tin roof, making one excuse after another; playing the 'victims of Executive Branch eavesdropping' card, the same very 'evil doing' they happened to support vehemently. Some have been dialing their trusted guardian angels within the mainstream media and certain fairly visible alternative outlets. They need no longer worry, since these guardian angels seem to have blacked out the story, and have done so without the apparent need for much arm twisting...

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

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Senator-elect Franken, when seated, will give democrats a filibuster-proof majority...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/28/2009 1:06pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The New York Times just reported:

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration’s new agenda.

Specter's announcement reflects an estrangement from the increasingly authoritarian, hard-right ideologues who now control the shattered remnants of the Republican Party. In California, the Republican Party passed a resolution to deny funding to six Republican lawmakers who joined with Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats, passing a budget to prevent this state from falling into an economic abyss. In the U.S. House of Representatives, every Republican acted as one to say “no” to a vital stimulus, offering only the very measures that led to the current economic meltdown—tax cuts for the wealthy. Three Republican Senators, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, had no sooner broke ranks in voting for a compromise version of the stimulus package before they found themselves targeted by conservative groups, with Specter facing a primary challenge from hard-right Republican Pat Toomey.

It is a testament to how far the remnants of the Republican Party have moved to the right that RNC Chairman Michael Steele suggests Specter would have been defeated by Toomey because of the former moderate Republican's "left-wing voting record."

As we pointed out previously, upon the anticipated denial of former Senator Norm Coleman's appeal by the MN Supreme Court, Senator-elect "Franken...would be in a solid position --- legally and politically --- to then lobby the Senate hard and directly for an immediate seating, even if Coleman chooses to continue his fool's errand with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court." Franken would become the 60th member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, ending the ability of the 'Party of No' to block the Democratic agenda --- unless either Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe beat him to it.

UPDATE 4/29, 5:55pm PT: In an op-ed appearing in today's New York Times Senator Snowe observed that "being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of 'Survivor' --- you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe." Whether that means that she would be prepared to follow Specter off the reservation remains to be seen.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/20/2009 9:51pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Operating out of an undisclosed location, former Sen. Norm Coleman's attorney, Ben Ginsberg, announced that the Coleman legal team had filed a notice of appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the three-judge panel decision [PDF] declaring that Al "Franken received the highest number of lawfully cast ballots in the November 4, 2008 general election for United States Senator and is entitled to receive the certificate of election."

Ginsberg asserted that the appeal was based on the same contentions made during the course of the election contest, especially as it relates to equal protection and an alleged disenfranchisement of some 4,400 Minnesota voters.

Franken attorney, Marc Elias, responded, noting that five of the six claims made by Coleman's appeal seek not to add additional votes but to delete votes already counted. Elias announced on TheUptake.org that he plans to file a motion on Tuesday with the MN Supreme Court asking that the court order expedited briefing, with Coleman's brief to be filed by Monday Apr. 27, and Franken's response on May 2.

There's not a whole lot new or unexpected yet here, for the moment, though a review of the political balance of the MN Supreme Court who will hear Coleman's appeal is probably worth a quick look, right about now...

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

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