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...|
I was joined on this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), to discuss his "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] which he plans to introduce when the U.S. House returns from their endless recess in September.
He's been at work on the bill long before the local "RoboCops" hit the streets when Ferguson, Missouri blew up recently after the police killing of Michael Brown. As Johnson described the legislation in his March 2014 USA Today op-ed, presciently headlined "Small town American shouldn't resemble a war zone", the bill would "ban MRAPs, other armored personnel carriers, drones, assault weapons and aircraft" from being transferred to local police departments under the Pentagon's "1033 Program" and "ensure that the Department of Defense undertakes an annual accounting of what's been transferred, by whom and to whom to prevent military items from being auctioned on eBay or sold to friends."
"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told me during our interview today. "We've been flooding the streets with this surplus military weaponry, and I think the situation in Ferguson exemplifies what happens when you have too much powerful equipment in the hands of folks who don't have the judgment or the training to utilize it properly."
But has the horse already left the barn on this issue? And does the Congressman stand a chance of getting his bill through our broken U.S. Congress, even with some apparent bi-partisan support for curbing police militarization from folks like Republican 2016 Presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, who recently called for the same in a Time magazine op-ed? You'll have to listen below to hear Johnson's thoughts on those questions.
After the Congressman left, I discussed a few other related items, such as the voter registration drive now taking place in Ferguson, and took a bunch of calls on all of the above, including at least one amazing one, in which the caller named "Al" insisted that "minorities are in worse shape than they've ever been" in this country. He says that "since 1965 we have been going down hill as a nation." Hmm... I wonder what might have happened during that year to make him feel that way?
I hope you'll enjoy this week's program...
Download MP3 or listen online below...
The "streets" did not "flare up". The cops in Ferguson flared it up, perhaps, according to pretty much all of the live coverage we followed for hours last night on TV, on the web and, most crucially, on Twitter.
No clue what "problem" Fire Boy above thought he was trying to solve with his 9/11 Wars souvenir, but you can bet it hasn't been solved.
We recently wrote a "Tale of Two Protests" comparing the mostly peaceful protesters of Ferguson, MO following the police shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown, to the threatening armed protests by supporters of scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy in Bunkerville, NV earlier this year.
Where the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the police in Ferguson has resulted, largely, in making the cops look like clowns and idiots for their over-aggressive tactics and firepower (see the front page of today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch above for just the latest example of that buffoonery, here's more), the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the so-called "Tea Party" "patriot" protesters in Bunkerville and their semi-automatic rifles trained on the heads of law enforcement officials, succeeded in little more than making those protesters look like clowns and idiots. It also offered an apparently compelling reason as to why law enforcement "needs" to arm up in response to such deadly, direct threats.
Meanwhile, over at his own blog today, Patrick Blanchfield offers a related observation of the shameful differences between the nation's treatment of a rancher who stole more than a million dollars from the federal government in Bunkerville, versus the kid in Ferguson who was shot at least six times by a police officer after having, allegedly, taking a handful of cigars from a convenience store. And its additionally embarrassing.
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I invited peace activist David Swanson to explain to me why it's wrong for the U.S. to take military action in Iraq amidst what the President describes as "genocide".
I pressed him and he offered a smart, persuasive, and well-reasoned case. Yet, I'm still not certain that I'm persuaded. Please give the short conversation a listen and let me know what you think.
We also took calls on the above, and covered a bunch of other stuff, including updates on the CA Supreme Court nixing the "corporate personhood" ballot initiative (Prop 49); the extraordinary North Carolina "voter suppression" law that a federal judge (W. Bush appointee) has allowed to move forward for now; and the remarkable story of federal judge Mark Fuller --- who helped railroad former AL Gov. Don Siegelman (D) into federal prison --- being arrested and charged for allegedly beating up his latest wife in an Atlanta hotel room over the weekend.
All of that, and a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, as the News Summer from Hell continues...
Download MP3 or listen online below...
The federal judge who oversaw the political prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was arrested over the weekend after allegedly beating his wife in a posh hotel room in Atlanta...
Fuller, 55, is a judge in the Middle District of Alabama and presided over the 2006 bribery trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
Police responded to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 181 Peachtree Street at 10:47 p.m. According to Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones, officers spoke to Fuller's wife, "who stated she was assaulted by her husband." Fuller's wife, who was not named by police, was treated by paramedics but refused treatment at a hospital.
According to Dan Whistenhunt of Decaturish.com, the Atlanta Police report says "The wife explained that she accused Fuller of having an affair with his law clerk. She said Fuller pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her. She told police that Fuller dragged her around the room and struck her in the mouth several times with his hands."
"Fuller said his wife threw a glass at him. Fuller said he grabbed his wife's hair 'to defend himself," Whistenhunt reports. "'When asked about the lacerations on her mouth, Mr. Fuller stated that he just threw her to the ground and that was it,' the report says."
"Police later discovered blood in the bathroom on the tub. Fuller did not have any marks or bruises, the officer noted. After medical personnel arrived, they noted additional bruises on his wife's legs."
"Fuller has faced allegations of domestic abuse before," Whistenhunt goes on to report. "The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press reported in 2012 that a Montgomery circuit judge sealed Fuller's divorce records. The divorce file is, 'wrought with accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse and the judge's alleged affair with his court bailiff,' according to the Reporters Committee."
When asked for comment this afternoon, Siegelman's daughter Dana described the news as "shocking" and "disturbing", but said the matter "seems to fall in line with the Buddhist philosophy of karma."
The BRAD BLOG has covered the Siegelman case in great detail over the years. The former governor, who is now serving time in a federal correctional institution in Louisiana for what 113 bi-partisan former state Attorneys General agree had never been a crime before his promising political career was derailed by it, has long alleged that Fuller, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, had deep conflicts of interest on the case, and should have recused himself. Siegelman was found guilty on charges of bribery, though he insists, and the evidence shows, he never received any personal enrichment. (See 60 Minutes' 2008 coverage of the outrageous Siegelman prosecution right here.)
There has been a great deal of criticism of Fuller's refusal to recuse himself from the case against Siegelman, who has been described by supporters as "America's political prisoner". His work on the trial has been characterized as a "grudge match" by an extremely partisan judge with deep ties to GOP strategist Karl Rove against a very popular Democrat whose appointee had once investigated him.
Yet, even as efforts to free her father continue, and as Fuller was released from jail late today after posting a $5,000 bond, Dana Siegelman went on to offer a note of sympathy to Fuller's wife, family, and even Fuller himself...
While Congressional Republicans are busy filing a lawsuit against President Obama, in a purported attempt to bring accountability for...failing to enforce the law...or something, Republican Commissioners on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid enforcing the law.
In the bargain, its GOP Commissioners are railing against their fellow Democratic Commissioners for attempting to bring accountability for actual violations of federal campaign finance law, turning the facts of the case on its head, and publicly attacking their colleagues as "strident" obstructionists, eschewing the rule of law.
Yes, it's another breathtakingly twisted chapter from the unending Partisan Wars of 2014, although a rather important one with potentially far reaching consequences for the nation, as those paying attention might notice --- though few seem to be...
The U.S. House has finally found something they can agree on. They want President Obama to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.
In an overwhelming bi-partisan vote on Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Concurrent Resolution [PDF], which, pursuant to Section 5(c) of the War Powers Act, directs "the President to remove United States Armed Forces, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel from Iraq" within 30 days, unless it is unsafe to do so.
The bi-partisan Resolution, adopted by a 370 to 40 vote, was introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
Last month, the President authorized up to 300 more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq as military advisers in the wake of the takeover of a number of Iraqi cities by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That brought the total of U.S. troops in the nation to more than 800.
Win Without War, a national coalition of anti-war organizations, released a statement describing today's vote as "a strong message to President Obama that there is no authorization for any escalation of US military involvement in Iraq."
"After nearly 13 years of trying to solve such challenges militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, with little success, the American people simply do not support another war in the Middle East," the group said in their statement. "Instead, we hope today's clear message against military escalation will encourage the President to double down on diplomatic efforts and a robust humanitarian response."
While the House Resolution is directed to the President, it also represents a stinging rebuke to GOP war hawk Senators like John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC). Earlier this month the pair criticized the President for refusing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government after he came to office, which would have "kept U.S. troops there", following George W. Bush's Status of Forces Agreement struck with Iraq in 2008. That agreement called for the removal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.
The vote on Friday is believed to be largely symbolic, however, as it would require similar passage in the U.S. Senate, where Senators like McCain and Graham would likely seek to block a vote on the matter. Then, again, matters could lead to a "politics-make-strange-bedfellows" moment if Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) were to come together in support of the Concurrent Resolution.
This week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio was a fund drive show for the station, but it included some interesting stuff along the way, including an in-studio visit with documentary filmmaker and election integrity advocate John Wellington Ennis, who's newest film, Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes, has its L.A. "green carpet" premiere next week. (Note: I appear in the documentary, but from the early cuts I've seen, it's excellent anyway.)
It also allowed me to
rant a bit about connect a few dots between things like last weekend's aborted "recount" in the California Controller's primary election (which, as I reported earlier this week, helped draw a roadmap for how to steal an election in this state with little likelihood of being caught), and the more-than-decade-long fight for election integrity, including the continuing fight for actual citizen oversight of public elections, which both Ennis and I have waged in parallel journeys.
Moreover, it allowed me to connect some dots again between things like the infamous Citizen's United decision, which cut off much hope for election integrity at its knees in 2010, and the emergence of the mainstream Republican global warming denialist movement. Yes, the two issues are directly connected. (For more on that, which I didn't get time to fully cover on the show as hoped, see this.)
Finally, it also allowed me to talk about, and play some great clips from, three of my favorite election integrity documentaries (one of them Ennis' Free For All: One Dude's Quest to Save Democracy), which we made available as premiums for listeners pledging support for KPFK's fund drive. (And you are still welcome to call the number and offer your support as well, if you like!)
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
The Washington Post recently reported that more "than 100 current and former [Kansas] Republican officials [have] endorsed Democratic state Rep. Paul Davis [in his] bid to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback (R)."
The website of the group that refers to itself as the "Republicans for Kansas Values," reveals that the source of their revolt can be found in what the LA Times' Michael Hiltzik described as Brownback's draconian "Tea Party tax cuts," enacted in the name of economic "freedom" that have, he says, benefited only the wealthy and have turned the Sunflower State "into a smoking ruin."
As we once described in "'Tea Party' Future: Fascism, Feudalism, Economic Collapse", that "smoking ruin" was not unexpected. But neither was the revulsion of traditionally conservative Kansas Republicans to Brownback's application of the Koch brothers' radical brand of libertarianism...
If the race for Sec. of State in Ohio is any indication, we may have still more evidence now to suggest that the decade-long Republican effort to enact disenfranchising poling place Photo ID restrictions, under the guise of fighting "voter fraud", may be turning a corner toward its final end as a viable GOP voter suppression strategy.
In May we wrote an article titled "Peak GOP 'Voter Fraud' Fraud?", offering several disparate clues to suggest that the well-funded, well-organized, initally under-the-radar national effort by Republicans to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters by requiring state-issued Photo ID they knew that many of them did not have, was headed towards a slow, but inevitable death.
That article followed on the heels of a seemingly devastating blow to Wisconsin's Photo ID restriction law by a federal judge who struck it down, finding in his landmark ruling that the statute was in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act, and that it was "absolutely clear" that the GOP-enacted law in the Badger State would "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."
Our legal analyst Ernie Canning analyzed the WI ruling along side the other federal challenges against similar laws that are still pending in states like Texas, North Carolina and Arkansas, to suggest the WI decision "does not bode well for Republicans who have been attempting to advance such electoral schemes in recent years, as based on misleading 'facts', wild claims and dishonest interpretations of case law and court precedent." His legal analysis attempts to explain why the WI case "would likely mark the beginning of the end for Republican-enacted, polling place Photo ID restrictions."
We'll see if we're right in the months ahead, but the race for Secretary of State currently under way in Iowa to replace the incumbent Republican SoS --- one who had been embarrassed to find next to no "voter fraud" after running in 2010 on the notion of stamping it out --- suggests that even Republicans are moving on to other ideas...
Of course, when ALL CAPS you know it's serious! This love letter comes from someone named Alan Rockman at Facebook. For some reason, I was not allowed to reply to him there and I could not find his profile listed publicly. So I'll have to reply to him here instead. Either he's set himself to remain completely private, or he's been booted from Facebook. Given this unsolicited, if very thoughtful note he sent me recently, I wouldn't be surprised by either...
It's a very busy news day today. In particular, with the important decision from the U.S. Supreme Court (on corporations being granted religious rights and chipping away at more union rights) and the usual partisan chum which is irresistible to network and cable news wags, I'd hate to see this jaw-dropping report from James Risen at New York Times get lost amidst all the holiday week noise.
This amazing story reveals that the billion-dollar private security contracting firm Blackwater, hired by the George W. Bush Administration for all manner of things in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, was apparently even running rough-shod over the U.S. government itself. An investigation into allegations of their corrupt activities in 2007 --- well before their employees are said to have opened random automatic-weapon fire on a crowd in Iraq's Nisour Square (leading to deaths of 17 civilians, including a 9-year old boy) and the enormous blowback against U.S. troops and other interests that subsequently came with it --- was reportedly shut down by the Administration at the time after the firm's "top manager" in Iraq threatened the U.S. State Department's investigator looking into Blackwater's unbridled abuse of power and contract corruption.
According to documents buried by the U.S. government until now, Blackwater's chief in Iraq, Daniel Carroll warned State Dept. investigator Jean C. Richter to his face "that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq".
The government's investigation of Blackwater went away almost immediately thereafter...
Just getting back on the grid today after a few days off of it, so getting caught up with much, including today's release of the legal memo [PDF] detailing the Obama Administration's claim of legal authority for the 2011 targeted drone killing of U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
(Three other U.S. citizens were also killed in drone strikes abroad, including al-Awlaki's 16-year old son one month after his father, though the Administration contends those killings were incidental deaths during strikes targeting others...as if that makes them less awful somehow? In any event...)
As the Washington Post notes, portions of the document are redacted, including "paragraphs that presumably explained why the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel determined that killing Awlaki in a drone strike would not violate the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees due process to U.S. citizens accused of crimes."
The paper adds, however, that "the memo provides previously unknown details about the reasoning behind one of the most controversial counterterrorism operations carried out by the U.S. government since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."
But what caught my eye in particular today, was the Congressional Progressive Caucus' somewhat snarky, if very clever, promotion of their press release in response to the released (and redacted) memo, which Roll Call's Steven Dennis describes as "Progressive Caucus Trolls Obama on Drone Memo"...
Dick and Dubya are back in the news! Now I wonder how that might have happened. On the upside, it allowed me to play some clips on this week's show that I first put together for a show back in 2006 (or earlier?)
• What was Dick Cheney's epic trolling of Obama really about? (Hint: Not necessarily Obama or even Democrats).
• Who's to blame for the current mess in Iraq?
• We take a whole bunch of great calls on all of the above, including one caller with a very interesting defense of Bush and Cheney.
• Some good voting news for Ohio, for a change.
• The fossil-fueled "War on Science" now includes war on science museums.
• Plus, as ever, Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report (including some epic trolling by Obama of science deniers!)
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
· Daily Censored
· Media Freedom
· Project Censored
· Scholars & Rogues
· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
· Tom Tomorrow
· TV Newser
· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
· Tom Toles
· Tony Auth
· Stuart Carlson
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