It seems perversely appropriate that we'd be able to watch the very last U.S. military convoy exit Iraq today, as seen above, courtesy of a U.S. Air Force Predator drone hovering overhead. The video documents what is purported to be the last truck crossing the border into Kuwait as the robotic camera zooms in on the gates at the border crossing as guards close them, bringing the undeclared war to a quiet and ignominious close...of sorts...
In light of GOP Presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich's recently revitalized attacks on the judiciary as, apparently, not yet extreme or activist enough for his tastes --- though he finds, like most of the other GOP candidates, Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito to be "pretty darn good" --- it's worth taking note of just some of the recent behavior, judicial temperament and fundamental principles of those far-Right extremist Supreme Court Justices he apparently does approve of.
The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.
While basic canons of judicial ethics suggest that judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety, it remains exceedingly doubtful that the gathering of signatures on a Credo Action Petition will prompt either of these two "radicals in robes" to recuse themselves...
We're drafted into duty tonight, once again, to guest host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show! (We'll also be filling in next Friday and the Thursday and Friday after that.) Hope you can join us tonight!
As usual, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
Scheduled tonight (so far):
LOTS TO CATCH UP ON! I've got too many stories and not enough time to list them all here. But we'll try to get the stories straight on everything from the Budget Compromise (heading to a deadline tonight), the controversial NDAA bill, the nonsense on the Keystone XL pipeline from last night's idiotic GOP Debate on Fox "News" to a bevy of voting and election related stories, from the Recall Walker effort in WI to the amazing story of Venango County, PA's disturbing discoveries from their landmark forensic analysis of their 100% unverifiable ES&S touch-screen voting systems! We'll also have the latest news on whether Clear Channel will allow progressive Green960 to stay on our public airwaves in San Francisco.
A FEW FRIENDS Our own DESI DOYEN of the Green News Report will be joining us to sort some of this all out! And we'll also be checking in for a special simulcast with Thom Hartmann's producer JACOB DEAN, host of Filter Free Radio and one of many hosts from Nicole Sandler's RadioOrNot.com network's 24-hour OccuThon, kicking off tonight in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement!
PLUS! Your calls over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Tonight's show flew by! At least for me. Buckle up and see if it does for you as well! The commercial-free audio archives (as well as the chat room archives) are now posted below! Enjoy!...
CNN's reliable RWer-disguised-as-media-critic Howard Kurtz interviews the former George W. Bush Administration speech writer, David "Axis of Evil" Frum, on his recent, blistering New York magazine condemnation, "When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?" The lengthy, and rather courageous article, blames, in no small part, Fox "News" and talk radio for having destroyed his party through the creation of an entire "alternative knowledge system." (The piece is a must-read, btw, if you haven't.)
Good for him! (Frum, not Kurtz. The latter feigns skepticism throughout the interview in the face of Frum's statements of the obvious-to-all-but-those-who-have-reason-to-act-like-it-isn't)...
Golly. All those pinko, commie, terrorist-loving Leftists who have long been warning about the dangers of Big Government overreach and the dangerously increasing use of terror tools against U.S. citizens --- the same thing that "Tea Party" RWers pretended, only after Obama's election, to be concerned about --- were nothing but America-hating alarmists, weren't they?
Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front Unmanned aircraft from an Air Force base in North Dakota help local police with surveillance, raising questions that trouble privacy advocates.
Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.
Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.
He also called in a Predator B drone.
As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.
But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said.
It's a shame the Predator B Drone didn't just unload some heat-seeking missiles on the three suspected cow rustlers, eh? Think of all the gas money they could have saved the Sheriff's office from having to drive in and arrest them in person.
What was it that you "Tea Partiers" were saying about Big Government and Big Brother again, even as you were then, and are still now, supporting the unfettered, unConstitutional use of terror tools in the "War on Terrorism U.S. Cow Rustlers"?
And what will you use an excuse to rationalize it all this time? Our comment section is open for your hypocritical justifications, as usual.
Many of the individuals who were swept up by last week's LAPD raid on the Occupy LA encampment at Los Angeles City Hall were arrested even as they attempted to disperse in accordance with police directives, according to testimonials from some who were detained in the early morning hours of November 30th and held on misdemeanor charges for days after.
Their videotaped testimonials [some of which are posted below] both corroborate and reinforce the excessive force and post-arrest abuse charges detailed in our previous article on the Occupy LA raid, in which detainees charged that they were hand-cuffed behind their backs and left to languish inside L.A. County Sheriff's Department (LASD) buses for eight to nine hours without access to food, water, medicine, or toilets as they were left to urinate on themselves in their seats.
The details also suggest that these conditions were imposed upon innocent demonstrators who were the victims of indiscriminate, false arrests by law enforcement officials. Worse, one written account suggests the LAPD's misconduct included not only pillaging the encampment and police brutality, but even torture...
On Friday, Lt. John Pike [and a number of other officers --- see UPDATE below] of the UC Davis police force lead a group of lawless cops in lining up demonstrators who had been peaceably assembled on the University of California, Davis quad and then covered them with with pepper spray. His fellow cops did nothing to stop him, and actually stood by in support. [Complete appalling video posted at the end of this article.]
We're at a loss to describe this type of outrageous, unprovoked and unnecessary behavior as anything less than torture, to be frank.
Our report yesterday detailed a rapidly growing partial list of other atrocious incidents of blatant, lawless, unprovoked violence carried out by "law enforcement" officials across the nation since the Occupy Wall Street movement began two months ago. The incidents, almost all documented on video by citizen journalists, demonstrate the unrestrained, and almost always illegal, use of brutal force, aggression, violence and often torture by Big Government against peaceful American citizens exercising what were once known as their Constitutional rights --- the very behavior which supporters of the Tea Party once pretended to be concerned about.
As we averred in that article --- as supported by the included linked incidents --- and as we feel even more certain of today after viewing the video of the casually brutal and tortuous behavior of Pike and his band of UC Davis stormtrooper thugs who stood by in support (see full video below), the U.S. has not become merely a Police State in the ten years following 9/11, but a fully weaponized Military State.
Though video evidence of what happened was widely available on Friday, rather than condemning the outrageous violence by a member of her own Police force --- as she almost certainly would have had the situation been reversed and a student used pepper spray against peaceful cops --- UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi chose to issue a statement yesterday which seemed to excuse the police brutality as necessary "to protect the health and safety of our campus community"...
He says "The photo was taken from the southeast corner of the square, looking toward the intersection of 6th and Yamhill after a day of marching through downtown Portland, Ore., by Occupy Portland participants."
Rasmussen goes on to report that "Several people were arrested" during the march to the Wells Fargo downtown branch in recognition of "N17," standing for November 17th, the two-month "anniversary" of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
I'm guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show tonight, so haven't had time to confirm for certain, but I suspect one of those "arrested" was not the officer pepper spraying the apparently peaceful demonstrator in the face.
Add this incident to the growing body of apparently unprovoked police abuse of peaceful citizen demonstrators in the Occupy movement, including (but not limited to):
the Mother Jones journalist Josh Harkinson (who will join us on tonight's Malloy Show) who reports that he was dragged behind a moving truck by an NYPD officer after midnight on Tuesday morning as riot cops were clearing Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan;
This is not a Police State. It is a fully weaponized Military State, at this point. Just ask the folks at Occupy Tampa if it feels that way to them...
* * *
UPDATE 11/19/11: The outrage --- and, yes, torture --- of the fully-weaponized Military State continues, as peaceful student demonstrators are lined up and pepper sprayed by cops at UC Davis on Friday. Details/Video...
Had a very enjoyable and very lively debate yesterday with the Rightwing co-host of the Fairness Doctrine Radio show with Dr. Patrick O'Heffernan (to the Left) and Chuck Morse (on the Right).
I was invited to discuss the Occupy Wall Street movement, and Morse led off the questioning --- with a bunch of unsupportable RW talking points, in my opinion --- which meant things got very lively from the start...and stayed there.
I'd offer you more teasers, but I think I'll just make you listen for yourself instead, if you're interested. But, suffice to say, the photo posted below is sent with my compliments to Chuck.
(BTW, while the show is called Fairness Doctrine Radio, Morse, who says he came up with the name, is against restoration of the real Fairness Doctrine and offers some, um, interesting reasons why during our discussion. Ironically, however, while the show is "balanced" in that it features both Leftish and Right points of view via its co-hosts, and would have been perfectly appropriate on our public airwaves under the Fairness Doctrine, the show is largely confined to the Internet, instead of the public airwaves...where such debate might otherwise actually serve in the public interest, unlike most of the corporatized crap that is currently forced on the nation. In any case, that's why the hosts sound like they are both on the phone. It's because they are.)
This follows on the story of former Marine and two-tour Iraq vet Scott Olsen, whose skull was fractured, allegedly, by a police projectile during demonstrations at Occupy Oakland on October 25th, as we've reported on previously (here, here and, most recently, here).
Now we learn of a second serious injury to an Iraq (and Afghanistan) vet, Kayvan Sabehgi, at the hands of the Oakland PD in response to peaceful demonstrations late last month. He was reportedly in intensive care Friday following surgery for a ruptured spleen, more than 10 days after the Oakland PD's confrontation with demonstrators. Sabeghi was reportedly beaten, arrested, and kept in jail without medical care for some 24 hours after the incident, even though he wasn't even a part of the demonstration and was simply trying to get home that night.
As The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively last week, the Oakland PD appears to have initiated the use of chemical agents against peaceful protesters in violation of both state law and a federal consent decree agreed to after a similarly illegal and violent confrontation with demonstrators in 2003. Both video tape evidence and eye-witnesses testimony suggest the violence was instigated by law enforcement officials, rather than demonstrators, in direct contradiction to the claim by Oakland's Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan that police "had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks."
The revelations of the Sabehgi story make an already appalling story even more so...
No wonder MSNBC buried Chris Hayes' new show in in the absurdly early hours of the weekend TV ghetto. He should be hosting, at a minimum, NBC's Meet the Press.
Had he been doing so for the last several years --- rather than the clueless elitists who have been, along with their weekly parade of meaningless softballs served up to similarly clueless elitist guests and panelists --- we likely wouldn't be in this mess.
Yesterday's compelling round-table discussion on UP with Chris Hayes, about so much that is actually at the heart of this nation's problems, follows below. I hope you will watch it...
But the fact is, the wholesale takeover of the American government by corporate "persons" --- and the (at least) 30 years of corruption and crapping on the middle class that has come with it --- has some 99% of us with a long, 30 year-list of complaints. They don't easily fit on one single bumper sticker. Ultimately, though, there seems just one thing that underscores all of those complaints: the end of any real accountability for every one of those corrupting influences and often criminal acts.
It has become almost unimaginable that flagrant lawlessness by the elite --- be they in government or corporatist America --- will ever be met with any sort of real accountability, any kind of accountability that might actually dissuade others from the same behavior in a way that might serve to reverse the ever increasing race to lower the bar below ground. That, I suspect, is the frustration at the heart of every Occupation and ever Occupier or those who support them in the country.
Two back-to-back interviews on Tuesday night's Rachel Maddow Show seemed to make these points as plain as could be, and one even offered some hope in the bargain. The first was with NY state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who actually suggests he gets it, and is actually pursuing real accountability, with real investigations into criminality by the banks and the banksters before, during and after the explosion of the mortgage crisis. We'll see if he means it (or if he gets "caught" with a hooker first.) The second interview was with Constitutional attorney, Salon blogger and author of the new book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, Glenn Greenwald.
Key points on accountability from both interviews are excerpted below, and the full videos of each are embed below that. Both are worth reading and/or watching in full if you haven't. It's about the accountability, stupid...
The words, "hypocrisy has its own elegant symmetry," appear in this short, but powerful documentary posted on October 10, long prior to last night's shocking scenes from Occupy Oakland.
The video contrasts the positions of our political elites in response to democratic uprisings in other countries against our government's response to the genuine democratic uprising we are now beginning to finally see in the U.S.A...
Once again, late last night, as is becoming a too-regular nightly ritual, after the 11p news was over, police moved in again to violate the Constitutional First Amendment right "of the people peaceably to assemble." And, for the second night in a row, late last night in Oakland, CA, it resembled a war zone as police in riot gear unleashed a punishing onslaught of "non-lethal" flash-bang grenades, rubber (and or bean-bag) bullets and tear gas --- hour after hour, round after round --- injuring demonstrators, including women, the disabled, and even Iraq War veterans...
The results were horrific, according to video, photos, and eye-witness reports as it all happened and was reported on Twitter, including this scene appearing to show a member of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War knocked out by either a concussive grenade or a tear gas canister or another projectile, and being carried away...
[Update]: The veteran seen above was shot in the head and the UK Guardian is now confirming his name is Scott Olsen and that he is in "critical condition" with a "skull fracture and swelling of the brain" at Highland hospital.
"It's terrible to go over to Iraq twice and come back injured, and then get injured by the police that are supposed to be protecting us," his roommate, Keith Shannon, also 24, who served alongside Olsen as a Marine in Iraq, told the Guardian in a late follow-up today.
Other scenes were similarly gruesome and, yes, shameful...