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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, September 20, 2014
Resignation or Impeachment Would Be a Gift for Wife- Beating Judge Mark Fuller
2012 documents suggest years of repeated domestic abuse, of two wives and children by federal judge with lifetime appointment...
ACLU Files Emergency Petition to Halt 'Electoral Chaos' in WI
Seeks full 7th Circuit hearing after remarkable three-GOP judge ruling reinstating Photo ID restrictions just weeks before election...
'Green News Report' 9/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
DiCaprio takes climate role at UN; Jindal plays dumbest role yet; Fracking confirmed (again) to contaminate; Black lung coal disease on rise; PLUS: Polluter front groups newest attack...
Previous GNRs: 9/16/14 - 9/11/14 - Archives...
Oil & Water: KPFK 'BradCast'
BRAD BLOG's Desi Doyen sits in for Brad with guests Matthew Heberger on water wars, David O. Atkins on CA's latest fracking fight, and Margot Paez on Mars!...
Audio of 911 Call from Judge Mark Fuller's Wife as She's Heard Repeatedly Struck
MSNBC's Chris Hayes plays horrifying audio from the wife-beating incident of Federal Judge Mark Fuller; ALSO: calls for accountability from two Alabama U.S. Congresswoman...
Bobby Jindal: Climate Denier, Boy Genius
Louisiana's governor and pretend 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful pulls the old 'I know you are, but what am I?' maneuver by calling the Obama Administration 'climate deniers'...
'Green News Report' 9/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hottest year on record in CA, hottest Aug. on record for planet; Record hurricane hits Cabo San Lucas; Warm-water fish found in Alaska; PLUS: Burlington, VT now 100% renewable!...
Previous GNRs: 9/11/14 - 9/9/14 - Archives...
Wife-Beating Federal Judge Finally Mentioned on MSNBC
MSNBC contributor asks about lack of outrage, impeachment for federal judge Mark Fuller who beat his wife bloody in August...
Outrage Slowly Grows After Wife-Beating Federal Judge Avoids Prosecution
Fellow GOP District Court judge calls for accountability, says 'no one should trust Mark Fuller's judgment in a federal trial courtroom'...
GOP PHOTO ID RESTRICTION LAW RESTORED IN WI
Republican voter suppression laws getting huge boosts from GOP-appointed federal judges in NC, where 100s recently disenfranchised, and now in WI, in advance of critical mid-terms...
Not Taking the ISIS Bait
The media and the U.S. Government have decided to give the latest barbaric idiots to rise up in the Middle East all the publicity they crave, despite the 'exaggerated' threat posed to the U.S., or even in the region. We're not interested in playing along...
'Green News Report' 9/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Greenhouse gas emissions jump at record rate; Australia's emissions soar after carbon tax axed; Oceans acidifying at historic rate; PLUS: Some good news: Ozone Hole begone!...
Previous GNRs: 9/9/14 - 9/4/14 - Archives...
Accountability for Judge Fuller?; O, Mighty ISIS!:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Will Alabama's wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge face impeachment? Plus: Callers, lots of 'em, on what to do about ISIS...
Wife-Beaters: Rice Loses Job; Judge Fuller Continues Lifetime Appointment
America was outraged by the NFL superstar. So, what about Alabama's federal judge who beat his wife bloody and is now off scot-free?...
'Green News Report' 9/9/14
Floods: Catastrophic in Pakistan, Historic in Phoenix; Hillary on Global Warming; Rand Paul dismisses; PLUS: Lobster Boat Blockade wins!...
GA GOP State Senator: Too Many Black People Will Vote in DeKalb County!
Vows to close 'election loophole' allowing convenient Early Voting in area 'dominated by African Americans'; UPDATE: Says just wants 'more educated voters'...
GOP Allows 'Citizens United' Amendment to Move Forward, Will Vote Against
Koch Brothers' beneficiary Sen. Rand Paul wouldn't even allow that much...
NYT Public Editor Calls Out Paper for Phony 'Balance' on 'Voter Fraud', Global Warming
Margaret Sullivan's no weasel (unlike a predecessor). She's calling out the 'paper of record' again for misreporting on GOP myths...
Siegelman's Judge Strikes Deal to Avoid Trial After Beating Wife Bloody
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller to have record expunged following drug/alcohol evaluation, domestic abuse counseling...
ObamaCare 'Nightmare': 2015 Premiums Rates to DECLINE in Many Major Cities
This whole 'tyrannical government takeover of health care' thing is really a disaster...for Republicans...
Federal Judge Orders Restoration of Early Voting Hours in OH -- Again
'Ohio GOP keeps trying to cut early voting and federal courts keep striking the cuts down'...
'Green News Report' 9/4/14
Accountability for BP in Gulf Oil Spill Disaster and for PG&E in deadly pipeline explosion; CA bans plastic bags, regulates groundwater for first time in history...
The Corruption of U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman: KPFK 'BradCast'
GUEST: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
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...


A short film in two parts by Brad Friedman...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2009 5:10am PT  

So we went out to Griffith Park out here in L.A. on Sunday to check out the kick-off day for the new "Tea Party Express II" national tour. Thought we might meet some interesting people and file a quick video report. Met a lot of interesting people, and so ended up making a short film of sorts. Enjoy. Spread the word. Go tell the story ("both sides")...


Part 1...


Part 2...

UPDATE 10/29/09: Boy, it's tough to compete with the Tea Baggers in the satire department, even when they're not actually trying to be satirical. As God is my witness, coming to you with a straight face this Thanksgiving --- Tea Party: The Documentary Film!...

UPDATE 11/9/09: As of today, we've had more than 11,000 views of Rise of the Tea Bags at YouTube. By Tea Bagger math, that's more than 3 million views! And yet, the media refuses to report it!!! Also, here's my interview on Air America Radio's Ring of Fire discussing the video...

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Progressive group pledges withholding contributions to Dems until healthcare initiative with 'robust public option' signed into law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/24/2009 11:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Coinciding with an internal Senate Democratic Caucus debate over health care reform that Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) described as only “slightly less raucous than the town hall meetings,” the non-affiliated progressive activist group Democrats.com has launched a petition campaign aimed at curtailing donations to official Democratic fundraising organizations [emphasis in original] until "the Democratic Congress passes --- and President Obama signs --- healthcare reform with a robust public option."

That "robust public option" is defined in the petition as being "based on Medicare rates, not negotiated rates," available "nation-wide, with no state opt-outs," "administered by Medicare, not a for-profit insurance company." and "available immediately."

The idea that the public option would be managed by a private insurance company has recently emerged in reports of Congressional negotiations aimed at merging various versions of the legislation passed by separate committees in the House and Senate, as noted by RAW STORY's John Byrne today.

The progressive activists campaign calls for signatories to respond to requests for donations from the three major Democratic campaign/fundraising organizations --- the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) --- with a http://www.democrats.com...rike-for-public-option\">link to the petition, instead of funds, until such legislation has been passed and signed by the President.

"Until then," the petition states, "I will only support individual Democrats who support single-payer Medicare for All (the 88 sponsors of HR 676)."

"We elected solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democratic President to fulfill Democratic promises of progressive change," the statement continues, "We did not elect Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to break those promises."

The complete short petition follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2009 11:38am PT  

Please see below for Jeremy Scahill at The Nation who, last week, covered the outrageous hypocrisy of federal legislation targeting ACORN (who committed no crimes), while the top 100 government contractors, who made "nearly $300 billion from federal contracts in 2007 alone" paid some "$26 billion in fines to settle cases stemming from fraud, waste or abuse".

By way of contrast with the federally favored criminal corporations, Scahill notes, "Over the past fifteen years, ACORN has received just $53 million in federal funds, much of it for low-income housing." Despite that, "In mid-September all but seventy-five House Democrats and seven senators voted with their Republican colleagues to bar the group from receiving federal funds."

The corporate welfare queens, of course, face no punitive legislative by Congress and are allowed to carry out their waste, fraud, abuse and often extraordinarily criminal behavior while on the tax-payer dole and nobody --- Republican or Democrat --- bats an eye.

Following the Scahill quotage on these points below, you'll find a must-see video clip of Florida's tenacious Rep. Alan Grayson, handing it to his Republican colleagues in a committee hearing this week, for their attempt to pass an "unconstitutional bill of attainder" meant solely to punish the GOP's favorite stalking-horse, ACORN. (See Rachel Maddow's expert coverage on the unconstitutionality of such bills, as posted late last month, for more details.)

Grayson's flat-out, apologetically cold-hearted unwillingness to yield the floor to the disingenuous wingnut cabal, and his shaming of them for pushing such an outrageously unconstitutional bill, is something to behold. Would that he were the model for what all Democrats sounded and acted like on behalf of the people. [Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG reader David Lasagna for the heads-up on that video. Now go watch it below!]

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2009 2:04pm PT  

Following on Rachel Maddow's tremendous coverage last Thursday of the GOP's years-long witch-hunt of ACORN, and the media's abysmal job at telling the truth about the lies used to smear the community organization, the MSNBC journalist calls it an "outrage" and kept her promise of following up with another episode on Friday. The video is below.

We welcome her coverage of so much of what we have been reporting, sometimes almost completely alone, for years, and as further detailed now by a new academic study titled "Manipulating the Public Agenda: Why ACORN Was in the News, and What the News Got Wrong."

Maddow continued her long-overdue exposé, by examining the "Defund ACORN Act of 2009," which recently passed both houses of Congress by large margins, after sting videos showing low-level ACORN employees behaving stupidly (but breaking no laws) were created and posted by rightwing operatives. As she notes, the Congressional bill appears to be both unconstitutional, and incredibly hypocritical, given that other, still-federally funded organizations --- such as Halliburton, Blackwater, and many, many more --- often receive far more federal funding in a single day than ACORN has received during the organization's entire lifetime.

Furthermore, those other organizations, which still receive billions from the U.S. government, were actually found to have committed actual crimes, such as millions of dollars worth of fraud, have been charged with murder and the deaths of U.S. troops, and even involve child prostitution and sex slavery!

It's odd that Fox "News," Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, et al. (including the bulk of the non-wingnut media!) have yet to point these matters out, isn't it? So thanks to Maddow, again, for doing so, along with credit to both Joe Conason, who pointed out some of this hypocrisy recently at Salon and, yes, ourselves, who similarly opined at the UK's Guardian.

Be sure to see her must-watch Thursday report back here. Her Friday report follows below, along with our repeated "thank you" to Rachel, and offer to help on any number of still-unreported points in the continuing GOP witch-hunt that both the media and Democrats have embarrassingly fallen for, and about which we have been reporting for years...

UPDATE 9/29/09: The third report in Maddow's must-see series is now posted here...

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$900 billion insurance carrier gift leaves 36 million uninsured...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/14/2009 1:07pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Last week, in his address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama correctly noted:

Our collective failure to meet this challenge --- year after year, decade after decade --- has led us to a breaking point. Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy...

We are the only advanced democracy on Earth...that allows such hardships for millions of its people….In just a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage...

But the problem that plagues the health care system is not just a problem of the uninsured. Those who do have insurance have never had less security and stability than they do today…More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won’t pay the full cost of care. It happens every day.

That was the easy part. Anyone who has paid attention understands that the core problem lies in the profit motives of the private insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Thus, the President's diagnosis of the U.S. health care system was accurate, but did he prescribe "change we can believe in?"...

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

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Former Clinton Advisor, Representing Honduran Oligarchy, Justifies Presidential Ouster and Continuing American Empire
And why liberalism and progressivism have so little in common...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/30/2009 4:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Lanny Davis is an exceptionally talented lawyer, so much so that his close friend, the infamous Watergate mastermind, G. Gordon Liddy, reportedly said that Davis "can defend the indefensible.”

After watching Davis's skillful, yet deceptive, Aug. 7, 2009, performance on Democracy Now (video below), I had to admit that this is one of the few Liddy assessments with which I can concur.

It was supposed to be a debate between Davis, who represents a group of Honduran business elites formally operating as the Latin American Business Council of Honduras (CEAL), and Greg Grandin, professor of Latin American history at New York University, pertaining to recent events in which, as reported by The New York Times, "Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup after betraying his own kind: a small clique of families that dominates the economy." Zelaya imposed "a 60 percent increase in the minimum wage" in a nation where, per a Business Week article, quoted by Grandin, "two-thirds of its 7.8 million citizens live below the poverty line...The country has one of Latin America's most unequal distributions of wealth."

A well-prepared Davis, seeking to defend the indefensible, had no intention of permitting real debate. His strategy was to dominate the discussion and denigrate any comments that did not square with his distortions as "ideological rants." His dissembling would later be exposed in a fact-check article authored by Grandin, who had trouble getting a word in edgewise during the "debate."

While Davis's slick performance, which began with an unwarranted assault on Amy Goodman's impartiality as a moderator, should be seen, the core issue to be addressed here pertains to the fact that Davis, who served as Special Council to President Bill Clinton, actively supported Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (I-CT) campaign against Ned Lamont and the Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, describes himself as a "liberal."

Perhaps. But if so, that only makes ever clearer the difference between Davis's brand of "liberalism" and true progressive values...

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

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But is it a fair fight? Why hasn't House Leadership asked CBO for a real cost comparison to public-option plans?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/4/2009 10:01pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an update to Small Victory for a Long-Term Single-Payer Strategy, I reported that “Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D-NY) will...make a motion before the House Energy & Commerce Committee to...replace H.R. 3200 [the hybrid, "public option plan] with H.R. 676 --- single payer Medicare for All."

In exchange for Weiner's agreement to withdraw his amendment during the House Energy and Commerce Committee health care markup session, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised to permit Weiner to bring H.R. 676 to a vote on the House floor.

But will the House leadership direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide a comparative cost analysis between single-payer and alternative plans so that Congress and the American people can make an informed choice? And why have they refused to do so so far?...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2009 9:52am PT  

AllSpinZone's Richard Blair comes out of self-imposed blogging hiatus --- writing via email that he's "not sure what it means that my internal levy finally broke this evening" --- to notice:

Healthcare. Afghanistan. Iraq. Unemployment. TARP. State-level governments going tits up. Homelessness. Hunger. Veteran’s affairs. Torture. Gitmo. Not one piece of the progressive agenda is being meaningfully addressed, and congress is about to go on a month’s vacation.

Is there a reset button for the reset button? If so, the coming Congressional recess would be a good time to hit it, boys and girls on Capitol Hill.

"The Mendacity of Nope"...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2009 10:45am PT  

In response to AP's Friday headline announcing "Conyers wants criminal probe of Bush 'abuses,'" David Swanson posts this "important breaking sarcasm"...

Holder Joins Conyers in Demanding Action

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.

Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.

Holder, in reply, has insisted that Conyers reissue all of the subpoenas his committee has failed to enforce over the past two and a half years and use the Capitol Police to enforce them at once.

In response, Conyers' office has issued a new report on the need to weed out corruption and undo politically motivated prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.

This morning, the attorney general remarked at a televised press conference, "Chairman Conyers proposed five months ago to extend to 10 years the statutes of limitations on crimes allegedly committed under the previous administration. Introducing a bill might be a way to begin making that happen. Just an idea. I'm no expert."

Surprisingly, John Conyers removed a large Easter bonnet that had been disguising him, stood up in the back of the room and shouted...

See Swanson for the rest...

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Makes clear he's not 'in league' with 'lunatics' on the Right, before attacking Dems, media, for abandoning Progressive values
'We have a center-Right party and a crazy party'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2009 12:01pm PT  


In last week's "New Rules" segment on HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher blasted President Obama for "not getting the job done," adding "this is not what I voted for." He had been critical of Obama's lack of fight for health care reform, and "nibbling" that's leaving insurance companies "still running the show," bailed out banks "laughing at us about how easy it was to get back to 'business as usual,'" and scientists' vital warnings about serious climate change being largely ignored.

We ran that video last week, and found it was linked to by an enormous number of rightwing websites, using the opportunity to suggest that Maher now agreed with them about Obama.

This week (video above-right) Maher clarified the record. He first noted: "Last week in this space, I criticized President Obama for not fighting corporate influence enough, and it made some Liberals very angry. My phone rang off the hook." But he then removed any doubt about whether he was actually "in league" with those on the Right.

"As far as you folks on the Right that think that we're somehow in league --- we're not in league! I was criticizing Obama for not being hard enough on the corporate douche bags you live to defend. I don't wanna be on your team. Pick another kid."

"So I stand by my words," Maher said, before launching into a no-holds barred attack on the Democrats and Obama for their failings, yet again. "There is another side to the story. And that is, that every time Obama tries to take on a Progressive cause, there's a major political party standing in his way --- the Democrats."

"We don't have a Left and a Right party in this country anymore. We have a center-Right party and a crazy party. And over the last thirty-odd years, Democrats have moved to the Right, and the Right has moved into a mental hospital."

He went on to criticize Democrats for becoming the party of "hedge fund managers, credit card companies, banks, defense contractors, big agriculture and the pharmaceutical lobby [who] sit across the aisle from a small group of religious lunatics, flat-earthers, and Civil War re-enacters...who mostly communicate by AM radio and call themselves the Republicans."

The major concluding thesis in his scathing criticism: "Bottom line, Democrats are the new Republicans"

Diane Sweet of RAW STORY observed in her coverage: "If Maher had finished by declaring his candidacy for public office, by the sound of the applause in response to his monologue, he would have left the studio Friday evening with an audience full of supporters."

If you're unable to watch the video (above right), a text-transcript of the key quotes from this week's must-see monologue follow below. As with last week's, we find ourselves hard-pressed to disagree with a word of it...

--- 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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But will Democrats have a clue what to do with it?...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2009 12:57pm PT  

The faux Republican outrage over Nancy Pelosi's perceived slight, in charging that CIA briefers directly misled Congress, has been amusing to watch. Even as the Democrats' seeming inability to either defend her, or fear of sinking into the same phony political sandtrap, is disappointing. But Democrats seem to excel at disappointment these days, so that part of the ginned-up story is hardly surprising.

The GOP hypocrisy in charging that Pelosi has somehow hurt the morale of The Agency in the bargain (and, as bonus, that Obama's release of the Bush Torture Memos has endangered CIA operatives) has been all the more amusing to witness, in their complete and entire selective amnesia of their party's own 100%, unqualified support of a White House which, for the first time in the history of this nation, had publicly outed the identity of a covert CIA operative. In unapologetically exposing Valerie Plame-Wilson, and completely destroying her entire, crucial network monitoring the trafficking of WMD in the Middle East along with it, untold damage was brought not only to CIA operatives risking their lives in the defense of this nation, but also to the national security of the nation itself, which was significantly blinded in the Middle East --- and on the issue of WMDs, of all things --- at a time when we were theoretically going to war there, over that very issue. Yet, the Republicans chose to side with the criminals in treason, over the "morale" or "effectiveness" of The Agency in their shortsighted and inexcusable politicization of the matter.

It doesn't get much more absurd than all of that...unless you add to it the Democrats' near-complete incapacity to take on, and tear down, the opportunistic Republicans on their own, absurdist argument in phony defense of the CIA of late.

Ernie Canning, here at The BRAD BLOG, has been documenting the CIA's rich, and often ugly, 50-year history in the use of torture, and other illegalities, as a direct tactic to control foreign populations in the march towards the growth of U.S. Empire in the twentieth, and now twenty-first, century, well-prior to the Bush Administration's claims of the necessity for so-called "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" in the post-9/11 era. Canning's third, and latest chapter in his exclusive four-part series was published here last week.

But more germane, for the moment, to the continuing, cynical, and disingenuous Republican "outrage" over Pelosi's charges that the CIA misled Congress during classified briefings --- as happily amplified by the corporate broadcast media on all of the Sunday News Shows today --- is 42-year CIA veteran Melvin A. Goodman's brief summary of the CIA's rich history in bamboozling Congress published over at The Public Record. As with the use of torture by the CIA, no, The Agency's lies to Congress did not begin in the post-9/11 period, but they certainly reached a high-point (or low-point, depending on your perspective) during that period which the GOP has now chosen for their fully-politicized, hoped-for distraction, in targeting the current Democratic Speaker of the House.

Goodman's summary is worth a quick review --- particularly by Democrats who seem to be caught flat-footed, yet again, in having a clue about how to dismantle, and defang this latest absurd strawman argument mustered by a party with no tools left in their toolbox, other than a fully-compliant corporate media, and a startlingly-inept opposition party.

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And the Repubs haven't even gotten their own claws into it yet...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2009 3:59pm PT  

With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?...

Even as House Democrats are celebrating their deal with conservative-leaning colleagues on climate change legislation, the real winners under the compromise have been the coal, electric and auto industries, who are largely the source of the nation’s carbon emissions to begin with.

Details of the compromise are still emerging, but already the chief sponsors of the measure — Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) — have been forced to lower carbon-reduction targets, cut renewable fuel standards and dole out billions of dollars in benefits to the nation’s largest polluting industries. Many environmentalists say the compromise comes at the too-high cost of undermining the bill’s very purpose, which is to slash emissions dramatically enough to prevent a warming planet from heating further. Some are asking Democrats either to bolster the environmental protections or to scrap the proposal altogether.
...
the concessions from Waxman and Markey to this point have been made to satisfy Democrats representing regions heavy with coal, oil and automaker interests.

Details on some of those "compromises" follow, along with a reminder that it'll get even worse once the Republicans get to water down the legislation further still...

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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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Will the shameful former Senator allow himself to be sacrificed as 'Republican Sore Loser for All Time'?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2009 12:24pm PT  

As we wait for the 3-judge panel in Minnesota to issue their verdict in former Sen. Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate race, in which the Democratic challenger Al Franken was found to be the winner by a bi-partisan state canvassing board, D.C. lawmakers are cranking up the political battle which awaits beyond that decision, which could come any day now, and its predictable appeal to the MN Supreme Court by the loser (who will "probably" be Coleman, according to his own attorney).

Sen. "Big Bad" John Cornyn (R-TX), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Conspiratorial Committee (NRSC), is now threatening "World War III" if the Dems try to seat Franken before a U.S. Supreme Court appeal is completed, or even a new federal suit that could be filed by Coleman in U.S. District Court if he chooses...even if those additional judicial processes could take "years"...

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

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