w/ Brad & Desi
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson
In the October issue of O magazine, Democratic consultant and commentator Donna Brazile did the unthinkable: she used the "F" word --- in Oprah Winfrey's publication, no less! Eyebrows are being raised across the political spectrum.
Okay, not that "F" word, a different one which is, apparently, far more controversial these days: Brazile says that if she "were in charge" her first priority would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine." She says that that would require "holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in an honest, equitable, and balanced fashion."
To the uninitiated, bringing Fairness to the public airwaves --- broadcast radio and TV --- is a no-brainer. But to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and an army of 550,000 amassed to keep the nation's radio airwaves under "conservative" control, Brazile's declaration of priorities could be a call to arms. Is it possible that the Democratic establishment is finally ready for a fight to take control of their message? While no longer with the DNC, Brazile is still closely aligned with the Democratic power establishment after all.
Okay, time for a bit of history.
Our elders will remember a time when radio was America's number one source of news and information. And they remember being horrified at how Tokyo Rose and our enemies used the radio airwaves to promote hate and propaganda against the U.S.
So they watched as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and radio station owners worked together to prevent propaganda from ever being broadcast over the public airwaves in these United States of America. This coalition of government and business put the "Fairness Doctrine" in place to ensure a healthy, reasoned discourse so critical to our democracy.
The thing is --- and a point important for those who believe much more information is now available on cable and the Internet --- radio is still America's number one source of news and information. More people listen to radio than watch television, read newspapers, or go online. Nearly fifty million people in the U.S. listen to talk radio.
But Fairness? Equal Time? Reasoned discourse? Those went out the window in 1987 with - drumroll, please - President Ronald Reagan...
It's getting incredibly difficult to keep up with the amount of The Crazy out here of late. So here is a very quick round-up of the latest today (so far)...
• She Did What?!: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' activist Tea Bagger wife --- and, apparently, long-term denialist --- Virginia leaves a voice message to Anita Hill asking her to apologize for Hill's accusations, twenty years ago, that she was sexually harassed by Thomas. Hill's attorney was "shocked" by the call. In 2007, in a New York Times op-ed, as we noted at the time, Hill said she stood by her testimony. Hill repeated the sentiment again today, saying she has "no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony," as WaPo reports on yet another woman who knew Thomas back then coming forward today to say "The Clarence I know was certainly capable not only of doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then."
• Kreepy Scam: Matt Osborne from Osborne Ink notices our report on the insane email from Gary Kreep, Esq, Executive Director of the group calling themselves "United States Justice Foundation", sent out to the Tea Bag set on Monday, warning that ACORN is "still alive and ready to steal the November 2 elections" with "MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD". (Never mind that the org has been knocked out of business by the O'Keefe/Breitbart/MSM "pimp" hoax, and that they've never been shown to have stolen even one vote, much less an entire election.) Osborne tweets to us that Kreep is the same cretin who actually aired an Obama Birther Infomercial asking viewers to send him money for...something or other. He's doing the same thing in his latest ACORN "voter fraud" email scam.
• More Birther/Voter Fraud Fraudster Connections: TPM picks up on Mother Jones' report that the so-called "voter integrity program" discussed by Illinois' GOP candidate Mark Kirk on a recorded phone call "was launched by the Illinois Republican Party, working with a conservative political action committee and an anti-Obama birther". Without evidence for the claim, Kirk had cited two predominately African-American areas of Chicago as "vulnerable" and "where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat."
• He's back!: And speaking of phony "voter fraud" allegations, we reported some weeks ago on the Houston group calling themselves "King Street Patriots" and their "True the Vote" campaign warning about, as usual, massive Democratic voter fraud!!! (Sans evidence to support the actual claim, naturally). Their call to draft "poll watchers" has now reportedly led to voter intimidation charges such as "poll watchers 'hovering over' voters, 'getting into election workers' faces' and blocking or disrupting lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots" as early voting has opened in Houston where a fire recently destroyed all 10,000 of their 100% unverifiable e-voting machines (don't worry, they borrowed more from neighboring counties). The DoJ has now been called in to investigate the complaints. But, as it turns out, one of the folks supposedly responding to the complaints of voter intimidation on behalf of the county attorney's office is none other than John Tanner, George W. Bush's disgraced Voting Section Chief at the DoJ. Tanner was forced to step down from his post after The BRAD BLOG, in 2007, infamously caught him, on video, downplaying concerns of racial discrimination and intimidation at the polls by telling folks at an L.A. seminar that white people are more likely to be disenfranchised because "minorities...die first". He looks to be making a similar "both sides do it" play now in Houston, telling TPM "There are a lot of allegations out there on both sides." Really? Where are the complaints of voter intimidation by Democratic poll watchers in Houston? None have so far been reported, but we'll try to get more info on this.
• Uhhhh...: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)'s opponent, businessman Ron Johnson has a "deer in the headlights moment", caught on tape, during an interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial board when he was asked what he plans to do to bring back jobs for the middle class. He can't think of anything other than cutting government spending and freezes up when asked for more specifics. The moment helped lead to the paper's endorsement of Feingold for the first time ever (previously, they've always endorsed his opponent.)
• Mythgivings: If you missed it in yesterday's Green News Report, WV's GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, in a debate Monday, discussed "the myth...and I say myth, that there is Global Warming." His Democratic opponent in the coal state, Gov. Joe Manchin, while not necessarily believing GW is "a myth", none the less ran a campaign ad last week displaying his manliness by shooting a hole, literally, through "Cap and Trade" legislation (which had been killed months ago anyway in the U.S. Senate.)
• Louder Than Words: Obama's Dept. of Justice appeals for an "Emergency Stay" of the Federal Judge's recent order for a "worldwide injunction" on the military's unconstitutional "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. This comes after Obama has repeatedly claimed he will end the policy "on [his] watch"; after the Military instructed recruiters yesterday to begin accepting openly gay applicants; and after Arabic translator Lt. Daniel Choi --- who had been discharged from the military for being gay --- walked into the Times Square recruiting office yesterday to sign up again (great video there, btw! Choi says there was plenty of "unit cohesion" in the office, even after his application to serve his nation openly.)
• Man in the Mirror: Glenn Beck, The Crazy personified, says the idea of evolution is "ridiculous" because he hasn't "seen a half-monkey, half-person yet". Sigh...
Seeing more of The Crazy out there? Let us know about it in comments.
Just in. Yet another in the recent string of victories for (real) conservative values and the U.S. Constitution...
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.
U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal. Legal experts say they are under no legal obligation to do so and could let Phillips' ruling stand.
More details in the full AP story.
The order follows a successful lawsuit by the Log Cabin Republicans in which Judge Phillips found the military's policy --- which President Obama has chosen not to end with an executive order as he could have --- to be unconstitutional on First Amendment free speech grounds and a violation of the due process rights of gay and lesbian service members.
The decision also follows a string of other recent victories in federal courts for real conservative values, as confirmed by Republican-appointed judges, such as the U.S. District Court judge's finding this past August that California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause.
As we noted recently, while it often takes far too long in this nation, the good news is that, eventually, Constitutional rights win and the haters lose. Today's ruling underscores that hopeful point --- in an otherwise dark period in this nation's history --- once again.
UPDATE 4:08pm PT: 21 Democratic U.S. Senators have sent a letter to the Obama Administration asking them to not appeal Judge Phillips' order. There are no GOP Senators signed on to the letter despite the fact that it was a GOP group who won the decision in court. While, to be fair, we also don't know if the Dem Senators asked the Republicans to sign or not, the fact that all of them voted against a repeal of DADT (if it were to be approved by the U.S. military) in the recent Defense Authorization bill suggests that it's likely none of the Republican Senators would have done so anyway. The letter from the Democratic Senators is now posted here....
UPDATE 10/15/10: Confusion reigns. Incredibly, the DoJ is asking the Judge to stay the order pending appeal after all. (Which part of "Unconstitutional" do you not understand, Mr. President?!) Of course, in truth, the decision is the DoJ's, not the President's directly. The Pentagon, earlier this week, has said for the moment they will not be enforcing DADT, though later in the week they told folks to not come out yet! Apparently. As mentioned, confusion reigns. Details on the appeal here. Memo from the Pentagon here.
Not to say "we told ya so," but we did tell ya so, the day after Obama's election in 2008...
Anyway, now he's gone. Perhaps this will be the change we can believe in. Though we are not holding our breath.
From @PeterDaou during Obama's presser this morning:
...Or disallowing torture victims a day in court, for that matter.
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
In her Sept. 9 decision [PDF] in Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips, a 1995 Clinton appointee, determined that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (D.A.D.T) is unconstitutional as it violates First Amendment rights even within the more restrictive confines of military speech.
The court rejected the government's argument that Log Cabin Republicans lacked standing to initiate the action, noting that at least one member of the group, John Nicholson, was discharged from the armed forces because of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It expressly found that D.A.D.T "does not significantly further the government’s interest in military readiness or unit cohesion," and directed plaintiff's counsel to prepare a "Proposed Judgment, including a Permanent Injunction" by no later than Sept. 16.
Whether the Eric Holder Justice Department will appeal, despite President Obama's pledge to seek a repeal of D.A.D.T., is an open question...
From Charlie Savage at New York Times [emphasis added]:
Gosh. Can't understand why Obama's approval ratings keep falling.
In any case, the heart of this matter is the Government's "alleged" right (the President of the United States' actually) to use the so-called "state secrets privilege" to keep victims of alleged torture from ever even having a day in court --- even when one of those victims, as in this case, charges that his torture included "cutting his penis and other body parts with a scalpel and then pouring stinging liquid on the wounds."
Good thing none of this was done by Iran. We'd be outraged...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
"Without a well-informed public, humanity itself and all species on the planet are threatened."-Dr. James Hansen, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.
That 'Tea Party' backing Koch Industries, an oily conglomeration which is ranked as one of the nation's worst polluters, has joined with two other Texas-based oil industry polluters, Tesoro Corp. and Valero Energy Corp., aka the "Toxic Twins," comes as no surprise. After all, Koch has already been aptly described by Greenpeace as "the kingpins of climate science denial."
It also comes as no surprise that California's Prop 23 measure on this November's ballot, which would require the state "to abandon implementation of [Assembly Bill 32's] comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries," was submitted [PDF] to the CA Secretary of State's office bearing an Orwellian label, the "California Jobs initiative" --- an initiative that has the backing of "Tea Party" darling and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, whose idea of "jobs creation" entails the transfer of domestic jobs overseas.
This corporate deception mirrors Pacific Gas & Electric's effort to use the ballot box as a vehicle for acquiring monopoly power. PG&E deceptively described its failed Prop 16 initiative, on last June's ballot, as the "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act."
There's a good chance that, just as they defeated Prop 16, CA voters will see through the "jobs creation" scam of Prop 23. But, if current polls are indicative, a large segment of an under-informed electorate who, in their disgust with President Obama's betrayal of "change we can believe in," are being taken in by billionaire-funded "poison populism" --- moving to the Right when the health of our economy and of humanity itself cries out for a sharp turn to the Left...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
"Dr. Laura's radio career ended in disgrace tonight because of the bigoted, ugly and hateful remarks made on her show. Americans have had enough. Listeners are now holding hosts, affiliates, and sponsors accountable for the offensive and inexcusable content on the airwaves." Media Matters 08/17/2010.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Ph.D. in physiology), whose brief television career ended after she referred to homosexuality as a "biological error" and compared LGBT parenting to pedophilia, announced that she was ending her worldwide syndicated radio broadcast in December.
Previously, Media Matters covered "Doctor" Laura's Aug. 10 broadcast in which she castigated an African American woman (“Jade”) who had called in to complain about her white husband’s silence in the face of racist remarks made by his white friends and family. During the contentious colloquy, "Doctor" Laura dropped the N-bomb 11 times. (Audio and transcript below).
While the same content was appropriately addressed by Media Matters, some additional observations are in order…
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
On Sunday, Brad Friedman posted a "Toon of the moment" in which a hypnotist sits dangling a watch in front of two stupified voters as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) look on. The hypnotist tells the voters:
Replace the hypnotist and watch with "illegal immigrants" or a "Ground Zero Mosque" (what the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten refers to as a "rising tide of Nativism") and the cartoon would be equally spot on, though this form of hypnosis is utilized by the billionaire-funded hard-right not only to "forget" the disaster that was the Bush/Cheney cabal but to avoid a debate on the Republicans' cold and heartless, class-based decisions to oppose an extension of unemployment benefits, to block funds for state governments intended to prevent a layoff of thousands of teachers, to block vital environmental legislation, to engage in never-ending privatization schemes, which by design are intended to destroy government's ability to provide vital public services (police, fire, health care, education), and to repeatedly level false charges of insolvency as part of their scheme to permit the thieves of Wall Street to raid the Social Security trust fund.
Those who are rational and see the mosque as an issue of First Amendment religious freedoms (and common sense) fail to appreciate the visceral appeal of Republican race-baiting, which, in the case of the mosque, seeks to tap into a deep-seated, cultural anxiety that has been created not only by 9/11 but --- as I explained in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization" here at The BRAD BLOG, and in its follow-up --- by the vilification of Arabs and Muslims in books, films and on television over a span of decades. It was this same deep-seated and subconscious loathing which permitted the Bush/Cheney cabal to conflate Saddam Hussein --- just another swarthy, mid-Eastern bad guy --- with al Qaeda for the purpose of invading Iraq.
The politics of Republican fear-mongering and race-baiting exploits cultural dehumanization so as to conflate all Muslims with 9/11. The result is a perversion of that seminal event --- which, even under the Bush/Cheney Administration's own "official theory," entailed only al Qaeda --- into an unprovoked assault by the Muslim world on "Christian America."
"You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back..."
Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Sorry, Mr. Gibbs, but your description of a "professional left" whose critiques of your boss, President Barack Obama, should be disregarded as the "crazy" musings of "people who ought to be drug tested" reflects that you are both authoritarian and out-of-touch.
The vast majority of citizens who supported the President in 2008 favor positions on policies that are far more progressive than anything which has emerged from either the corporate-controlled Democratic "leadership" in Congress or the Obama White House. The majority of Americans are by no means obligated to ignore the "democracy deficit" or the betrayal of the President's promise to bring "change we can believe in."
While one can readily agree that many of the Obama administration's policies are an improvement over those which are advanced by the reactionary fascist billionaires, and their mindless "Tea Party" followers, there are many instances in which the policies of the current administration threaten more harm than those of its predecessor. E.g,, those documented by a recent ACLU report (see Democracy Now video below) in which the current administration has created policies that may "enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration."
Perhaps most disturbing is that the President's zeal to please his true constituency --- corporate America, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex --- comes from the same Presidential candidate whose soaring and lofty, yet deceptive campaign rhetoric gave rise to hope in so many that Election Day 2008 would mark a return to economic fairness, transparency, a restoration of the rule of law, an end to the fear-driven perpetual "war on terror," and a restoration of nature's ecological balance.
The title of Studs Turkel's powerful book is Hope Dies Last.
Even during the darkest days of the Bush/Cheney cabal, there was the hope that the foundering American ship of state could be righted by way of the electoral process. By raising the hopes of the American people during the course of the 2008 campaign, only to dash those hopes by betraying his own rhetoric, President Obama has, in some measure, caused more harm than the Bush/Cheney regime...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
"There's no difference between one's killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It's exactly the same thing, or even worse." - Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir
In a March 25, 2009 article, "Prosecute or Perish," in which I urged that "the survival of our Constitutional Democracy may hinge on factually justified criminal prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal," and again in "Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy," I took dead aim at the sophistry employed by President Barack Obama to evade his constitutionally mandated obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed. The same Harvard Law School-educated President who said that, in torture, America had lost its "moral bearings," suggested we must only look forward --- an "illogical formulation [that] was incompatible with the very essence of the rule of law."
I was naive. I thought the President was merely evading his constitutional obligation out of political expediency; that he actually intended to restore the rule of law and salvage what was left of our nation's honor.
A growing body of evidence, including confirmation contained in the recently exposed Afghan "Pentagon Papers," suggests the President did not look back at his predecessor's war crimes because he saw, in the failure to prosecute, the ground work for his own round of "Unitary Executive" lawlessness --- an expanded, illegal and increasingly covert "war on terror" in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of paramilitary assassins, operating in secret and beyond the rule of law, carry out targeted killings of "suspected" terrorists on a global scale --- a program that has already produced massive collateral casualties amongst innocent civilians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Worse, as revealed by a newly filed lawsuit, the Obama administration has moved beyond the Bush/Cheney cabal's assertion of unchecked Executive lawlessness in the form of extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and torture. The Obama administration has now not only asserted a right to assassinate anyone that the Executive branch labels a terrorist, including U.S. citizens, but has gone so far as to place lawyers in legal jeopardy should they seek a court order to block an extrajudicial execution unless the executive branch grants the lawyer permission to do so...
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