From cartoonist Ed Stein's blog item on the above toon:
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...|
From cartoonist Ed Stein's blog item on the above toon:
As you might imagine this time of year, I've been doing a lot of media appearances around the country to discuss this year's elections. Most have been in regard to the failed e-voting systems used in early voting and on Election Day tomorrow. But NY's WBAI ran an excellent piece this morning, on which I appeared, to discuss the ongoing disaster that is the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision asserting, again, that corporations are the same as "people" and thus deserve the "free speech" right to spend as much as they want to affect the outcomes of U.S. elections.
My contribution to the segment is heard near the beginning, in the background description of what the case was, what it means, and what has happened since it was decided last January. A lot of interesting discussion follows thereafter.
Download MP3 (appx 40 mins), or listen online below...
• Ernest Hancock covered the Citizens United decision at The BRAD BLOG here...
• I wrote a piece on the same case, "The End of Democracy", for Hustler here...
• Velvet Revolution's StopTheChamber.org campaign has been trying for highlight concerns for nearly a year about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who is, perhaps, the number one recipient of millions in undisclosed corporate funds as now being spent to influence elections around the country this year --- in support of Republicans by a factor of 7 to 1, by the way --- in the wake of Citizens United. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]
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.
[Hat-tip to longtime BRAD BLOG toon sherpa Pokey Anderson]
Related... If you didn't hear my interview on last night's Mike Malloy Show with 70-year old Laird Monahan who, with his 67-year old brother are currently walking across the U.S. in order to highlight the Supreme Court's horrific Citizens United decision, unleashing unfettered, undisclosed (and often, even un-American) corporate money into U.S. elections, I'd highly recommend giving it a listen.
The Monahan Brothers, both Vietnam vets coincidentally, are American Heroes in my estimation, and their story should be told on not just every progressive media outlet in the nation, but more importantly, on the corporate mainstream media outlets who don't seem to want to offer much coverage to this story for some reason, as Laird and I discussed last night.
Click here to listen to listen to the interview with Laird. It's in the "HOUR 2" audio archive.
Who could have foreseen it? (Oh, right, we did, months ago, when we described this year's appalling SCOTUS decision in Citzens United as "a case that would live in infamy.")
The $80 million spent so far by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfs the $16 million spent at this point for the 2006 midterms. In that election, the vast majority of money - more than 90 percent - was disclosed along with donors' identities. This year, that figure has fallen to less than half of the total, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.
The trends amount to a spending frenzy conducted largely in the shadows.
The bulk of the money is being spent by conservatives, who have swamped their Democratic-aligned competition by 7 to 1 in recent weeks.
The Supreme Court cleared the way for unlimited spending by corporations, unions and other interest groups on election ads in its 5 to 4 decision this year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Many interest groups are organized as nonprofits, which are not required to disclose their financial backing, helping fuel the increase in secret donors.
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times appears to be the type of reporter comedian Stephen Colbert had in mind during his blistering act at the 2006 White House Correspondence dinner:
"Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!"
As revealed by her front-page Los Angeles Times article, "Swinging at the left, hit or miss," Abcarian, apparently armed with nothing more than the baseline, mainstream media accounts of the Shirley Sherrod scandal, paid a visit to the West Los Angeles office of the man whom Brad Friedman aptly described as a "pathological liar" and "race baiter;" jotted down Andrew Breitbart's latest spin about himself and the Shirley Sherrod fiasco, and then dutifully spit out a fawning account which accepted at face value Breitbart's latest claim that he simply failed to "wait for full video" of the Sherrod speech, and which described Breitbart as a "new-media phenom;" a "transformed...liberal" who became "a star of the 'tea party' movement" after experiencing an epiphany during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarency Thomas, whom Breitbart describes as "an American hero" who was unfairly targeted by "a cavalcade of Caucasians asking...about his very private video rentals!"
In Abcarian and the Los Angeles Times, Andrew Breitbart, the consummate con-artist, had found yet another vehicle for rewriting history...
Seriously, what part of "conservative values" and the "U.S. Constitution" do Fox "News" "conservatives" not get?
As we've been pointing out for years, and as we re-iterated yet again on Wednesday when CA's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage was found to be unconstitutional by a Reagan/Bush I-appointed federal judge, the ruling was "Great news for real conservatives who believe in the U.S. Constitution and its guarantee of equal protection under the law!"
Poor Fox "News" viewers, however, have been so obscenely and opportunistically disinformed for so many years about what "conservatism" actually means (basically, they've been told by the Fox/GOP opportunists that Republicanism is the same thing as conservatism, when it's usually anything but, and foolish folks on the non-Right have continued that fiction by describing them as "conservatives"), that they've had a next-to-impossible time wrapping their grotesquely disinformed brains around what last Wednesday's extremely conservative ruling actually means.
The scam that has been played on wingnuts --- inaccurately and opportunistically conflating Republicanism with Conservatism --- has rarely been more clear than it was on Fox News Sunday today, when anchor Chris Wallace's "conservative" disinformation train ran smack-dab into the brick wall of conservative facts and reality offered by Theodore Olson, George W. Bush's former Solicitor General (he of the infamous Bush v. Gore), who happens to be the plaintiff's victorious lead attorney in the Prop 8 case.
So, we'll ask again: What part of "conservative values" and the "U.S. Constitution" do Fox "News" "conservatives" not get? As we've got many such disinformed phony "conservatives" trolling us here at The BRAD BLOG, we'll look eagerly forward, as always, to their amusing, self-defeating, non-conservative, anti-Constitutional comments in reply to this video [courtesy of RAW STORY]...
Good for Sinclair Broadcasting, in this case, pulling an inaccurate commercial off the air that was being run by the despicable corporate money-launderers of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, attacking Democratic U.S. Senatorial candidate Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.
Of course, the ad was run on television before it was pulled. The fact-checking was not done in advance, so lies such as health insurance reform being "a government takeover of healthcare" were allowed to be aired as if they were legitimate claims.
Naturally, the campaign of Sestak's Republican opponent, Pat Toomey, backed up the Chamber's ads, even as they are not supposed to be coordinating with such groups, according to the law. But what do quaint old notions like "the rule of law" really mean anymore in these United States anyway?
What is underscored again here, is that corporate lobbyists and criminals like those at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are now free to wield millions --- even billions --- of dollars for or against candidates they don't like, or who may not meet with their corporate approval for any reason.
That's what the U.S. Supreme Court has recently deemed "free speech". And you, dear private citizen of the United States of America, can do nothing about it --- unless you happen to have a few hundred million extra dollars sitting around the house and want to exercise your "free speech" in producing and airing TV commercials in opposition. Good luck with that.
[Please see, and support, VelvetRevolution.us' StopTheChamber.com campaign to help push back against the anti-American, anti-citizen Goliath that is the U.S. Chamber. Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]
* * *
UPDATE 4:04pm: Looks like the Rightwing corporate bosses at Sinclair may have come down on the local stations. AP is now reporting the Chamber says the ads are being restored:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Friday that the stations are restoring the ad that the business advocacy group sponsored.
An official for sister stations WPGH and WPMY declined to comment.
[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter Philip Shropshire.]
Last week, in a unanimous verdict, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the use of "honest services fraud" by federal prosecutors in cases that do not include bribery or kickback as part of that charge. The specific case considered by the court was focused on the convictions of Enron's Jeffrey Skilling, who is likely to see part of his conviction overturned by the decision.
How will that SCOTUS ruling affect the appeals in the cases of Alabama's former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi's once-powerful Democratic attorney Paul Minor, both of whom were targeted with apparent political prosecution by Karl Rove and the Bush Administration's politicized US Attorneys?
Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane at RAW STORY take a look at the still-uncertain future in both of their cases...
UPDATE 6/29/10 SCOTUS vacates Siegelman conviction, remands case back to appellate court! Great news, if not yet a full victory. Details at RAW STORY...
UPDATE 7/5/10 Brad's exclusive interview discussing all of the above with Siegelman on the Mike Malloy Show...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, a 1983 Reagan appointee to the federal bench, issued what, on its face, would have to be regarded as an astounding decision [PDF] in which he blocked a six month moratorium on deep water off shore drilling, ruling that the Department of the Interior had erroneously assumed that because one rig failed, there was an imminent danger of others failing as well.
A perplexed Justice Department promptly announced that it intends to seek an immediate stay of Judge Feldman's preliminary injunction pending an appeal.
Setting aside what appears to be an inappropriate judicial intrusion by a Federalist Society-connected jurist into the prerogatives of the Executive branch in protecting public health, safety and the environment, setting aside the misguided notion that the burden rests with the government rather than the oil companies when it comes to demonstrating whether deep water drilling procedures are safe, Judge Feldman's decision --- and his failure to recuse himself despite conflict-of-interest concerns --- raises a significant question as to whether he should be impeached...
The court's reckless order muscling into the race was terse and did not say whether there were any dissents, though it is hard to imagine there were not. An opinion explaining its reasoning will have to wait until the next term, assuming it takes the case, but by that time the state's general election will be over and its model campaign finance system substantially demolished.
It seems likely that the Roberts court will use this case to continue its destruction of the laws and systems set up in recent decades to reduce the influence of big money in politics. By the time it is finished, millionaires and corporations will have regained an enormous voice in American politics, at the expense of candidates who have to raise money the old-fashioned way and, ultimately, at the expense of voters.
"Regained," New York Times? Did we miss something? Had the "millionaires and corporations" previously lost their "enormous voice in American Politics"???
Maddow covered some of the details in quickie coverage last night, observing: "It's great news for anyone psyched to get all the riff-raff out of politics so we can get over this whole democracy fantasy and just settle down to being ruled by our economic overlords, like the founding fathers intended."...
Not satisfied with merely destroying the Gulf of Mexico, on Friday, BP reported the emission of more than 500,000 pounds of pollutants and non-pollutants in April and May at their refinery in Texas City, TX. The emissions included hundreds of thousands of pounds of deadly benzene, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.
Refinery spokesman Michael Marr said in its follow up reporting with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, BP estimated 36,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 17,000 pounds of benzene were released in the 40 days. State law requires 10 pounds or more of benzene and 200 pounds or more of nitrogen oxide during a 24-hour period must be reported through the commission’s air emissions database.
The bulk of the emissions during that time included an estimated 189,000 pounds of carbon monoxide and 61,000 pounds of propane, according to the company’s report to the TCEQ.
For the record, this is the same BP refinery where an explosion in 2005 killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 others. The company was forced to pay a meager $71 million in federal fines for that incident. It's as if the company has friends in high places, or something...
Taking a page from the successful hit campaign the Republican right ran against former White House Green Jobs Advisor Van Jones, one of rightwing activist Andrew Breitbart's website's "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Journalism," is now attempting to use a McCarthy-like guilt-by-association smear against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
But my own 2005 interview with their latest target kinda blows the very basis for their entire attempted High-Tech Lynching/Conspiracy Theory....
So that means, as Think Progress notes, so far the clean up costs for BP have amounted to a little less than four days of profits for them. "At $93 million a day in profits, BP makes $350 million in about 3.8 days."
It seems that recklessness for the fossil fuel industry remains a very safe business model for the time being.
In 1990, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, federal legislation was passed to make oil companies responsible for the cost of clean up from such disasters, and liable for up to (a paltry) $75 million in damages. While Congress is currently considering legislation to raise that cap from $75 million to $10 billion, there remains a question of whether or not such legislation would be retroactive to cover damages from the Gulf oil disaster or not.
If it does, as "the largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico," and one of "the world's five largest companies," according to WaPo, BP ought to be able to handle it.
Not that they ultimately will have to.
As both WaPo and TP remind us, thanks to a recent decision by the Bush Supreme Court, the "punitive damages against Exxon for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil-tanker spill were originally set at $5 billion in 1994 but were reduced on appeal. The company agreed last year to pay less than $1 billion, including interest."
It's good to be
king a corporate "person".
CORRECTION: Currently proposed federal legislation would raise the cap on damages to $10 billion, not $5 billion as we originally wrote above. The article has been edited to correct that error. By the way, even at $10 billion, says Daphne Wysham at Huffington Post today, the damage to property and to the fishing and tourism industries, as well as others, could eventually far exceed even that much. As Wysham notes in concurrence with the above: "Crime pays for BP."
Two quickie items from Public Citizen's latest DontGetRolled.org "e-newsletter about the movement to curb corporate influence in politics and restore our democracy," as brought to my attention by Ernie Canning today...
Election spending by third parties and special interest groups is up dramatically
Spending by independent and third-party groups on TV ads for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate are nearly four times the amount from four years ago - $48 million vs. $11.2 million, reports the Campaign Media Analysis Group, an organization that tracks political spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the big spenders, as is the conservative group Americans for Job Security.
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