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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 20, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...


Tonight: Bob Edgar on Clarence Thomas' Crimes; Ernie Canning on 'Corp. Personhood' & US/Egypt 'Foreign Aid', Much More...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2011 3:00pm PT  

[Now UPDATED below with audio from tonight's show. And it was a good one!]

We'll have another big show tonight as my week guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show continues (while the Malloys Progressively Cruise the Caribbean).

We're BradCasting LIVE again tonight, 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show, so please come on by and say hey 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.)

Tonight:

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: I really really enjoyed tonight's show --- from first hour to last (perhaps, especially last, thanks to one great caller from TN). All the audio is now below, commercial-free! I suspect you may enjoy it nearly as much as I did! (The lively chat room archives are also below as well.)...

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

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Tonight: Will Bunch on Reagan's imaginary legacy, Vince Warren on Bush torture charges & Marcy Winograd on Jane Harman...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2011 3:20pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives from tonight's show below!]

I'll be guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show every night this week, through Friday, week as the Malloys enjoy a Progressive Cruise on the Caribbean. (Yes, I'm jealous.)

We'll be BradCasting LIVE tonight, and all week, 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show, so please come on by and say hey 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.)

Tonight:

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates acros the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: We were able to reach MARCY WINOGRAD at the last minute to discuss the late breaking news that Rep. Jane Harman is leaving Congress. The archives are below, where you can hear whether she plans to run in the upcoming special election, along with everything else from tonight's show. (Chat room archives are also below!) Enjoy! See ya tomorrow night!...

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

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Revolution threatens Egypt's authoritarian regime, U.S. Empire...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2011 6:00am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The problems the protesters are trying to address are extremely deep-seated…Egypt and other countries of the region have just been through a neoliberal period which have led to…high concentrations of extreme wealth and privilege, tremendous impoverishment and dismay for most of the population." Noam Chomsky, 2/2/11

As more than a million protesters are said to have "flooded into central Cairo" this week, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule, William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation and author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, explained a little understood fact about the "tens of billions of dollars" in US military aid used to prop up the authoritarian Mubarak regime.

It is money that Egypt never received, as he explained during an appearance on Democracy Now (see video at end of article):

WILLIAM HARTUNG: It’s a form of corporate welfare for companies like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, because it goes to Egypt, then it comes back for F-16 aircraft, for M1 tanks, for aircraft engines, for all kinds of missiles, for guns, for tear gas canisters, as was discussed, a company called Combined Systems International, which actually has its name on the side of the canisters that have been found on the streets there. So these companies—for example, Lockheed Martin has been the leader in deals worth $3.8 billion over that period of the last 10 years; General Dynamics, $2.5 billion for tanks; Boeing, $1.7 billion for missiles, for helicopters; Raytheon for all manner of missiles for the armed forces.

Hartung, however, has merely focused upon the military component of a much broader scam --- foreign aid --- which John Perkins, in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and in The Secret History of the American Empire exposes to be corporate welfare designed to enhance the power and control of a corrupt and brutal corporate Empire that benefits only a select few local authoritarian elites and the billionaires at the pinnacle of U.S.-based, giant multinational corporations. All at the expense of the great mass of humanity and a sustainable planet...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2011 1:32pm PT  

[Hat-tip @KBZeese on Twitter.]

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By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2011 11:01am PT  

Here's what happened last night in Egypt (late last night in U.S.):

And with that, Egypt effectively "vanished from the Internet" yesterday as the uprising against a repressive, U.S. backed regime began to take full bloom and, as of this hour, continues to rage.

Meanwhile, back in these United States, folks like Sen. Joe Lieberman are pushing a bill, the "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset" act, to make provisions for a U.S. government "Internet Kill Switch" to allow them to do the same. Now why would folks like Lieberman want that?

The latest revision of this bill, according to FastCompany, "bans judicial review over executive decrees" to take down all, or portions of, the Internet.

On a very related note... Thanks to the Internet, you can watch the uprising in Egypt going on as we speak, via Al Jazeera English's streaming live coverage here, just in case you find that CNN and the others are still offering wall-to-wall coverage of Charlie Sheen. You can also follow ongoing Twitter reports on Egypt via the #Jan25 and #Egypt hashtags.

And on another very related note... The recent uprising, revolution and new government in Tunisia was triggered, in no small part, thanks to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks detailing the corruption of the ruling family. That revolution helped spark the one going on right now in Egypt, where the people have taken to the streets to challenge the thirty-year, iron-fisted rule of Hosni Mubarik, a long-time U.S. ally.

WikiLeaks has now released U.S. cables describing "routine and pervasive" use of police brutality and widespread torture by the Egyptian state, our allies, against "criminals, Islamist detainees, opposition activists and bloggers," as The Guardian describes the leaked cables today.

In Yemen, another ally of the U.S., citizen protests inspired by Tunisia and Egypt are also reportedly underway. And this morning, rumors of unrest in Syria were also spreading via Twitter.

With very real democratic revolutions happening in the Middle East --- one of the purported excuses once given for the U.S. invasion and mass murders in Iraq --- coming about through peaceful uprisings (but for governmental aggression in response) there, thanks in no small part to WikiLeaks, wouldn't folks like Joe Biden be wise to reconsider his recent, offensive assessment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a "high-tech terrorist"?

Perhaps not. Perhaps the Vice President has good reason to stand by that astonishing incitement of violence against a private Australian citizen and an organization neither charged with, nor convicted of, any crimes against the U.S.. After all, we have, for decades, been propping up the repressive Egyptian regime with billions of dollars in funding and armaments. And, by way of reminder, it is being reported that the tear gas canisters being hurled against Egyptian citizen demonstrators right now are clearly and proudly marked as "Made in the U.S.A."

But, of course, "they hate us for our freedoms." So remind us again, Mr. Vice President, who are the terrorists --- high-tech or low-tech --- here?

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By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2011 11:34am PT  

So, despite all the sturm und drang, despite all the outraged comments from both Republican and Democratic officials, despite all the calls for its founder Julian Assange to be assassinated without trial, criminal charges of any kind, or any due process whatsoever, despite the Vice President of the United States even smearing him as a "terrorist" on network television, it turns out there has been no substantive damage at all from leaked documents published by WikiLeaks and their partner media outfits, according to Mark Hosenball at Reuters, as based on interviews with government officials.

In short, as Salon's Glenn Greenwald describes it today, "To say that the Obama administration's campaign against WikiLeaks has been based on wildly exaggerated and even false claims is to understate the case. But now, there is evidence that Obama officials have been knowingly lying in public about these matters."

According to Reuters...

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

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The fine line between advocacy and incitement...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2011 9:33am PT  

[Update 4:26pm PT: Related to the story below, one of the victims of the Tucson shooting has just been arrested for issuing a threat against Rightwingers at a taping for an ABC News special. It seems incitements by some are taken more seriously than incitements by others. Story here... -BF]

* * *

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I find it chilling to hear so many U.S. government officials calling for the leader of this organization, Julian Assange, to be labeled an 'enemy combatant' and jailed --- or worse."-Letter from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to Tom Hayden

Recently, a number of prominent politicians and pundits have called for the violent targeting of other individuals who have been neither accused nor charged with any crimes whatsoever, calling into the question the legality of such incitements to violence.

This article will transcend the issue of "moral responsibility" on the part of those politicians and pundits for the horrific consequences that may, and often do, ensue as the result of their deliberate appeals to fear, prejudice and hate so as to examine when such rhetoric actually amounts to an actual crime under the laws of our land.

There can be little doubt that, as observed by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the combination of 24/7 "vitriolic rhetoric" on TV and radio (See video below for poignant examples of such rhetoric), the absence of gun control, with leading U.S. politicians calling for "Second Amendment remedies," and the placement of "crosshairs" over a political opponent's district while calling on citizens to "reload," can produce lethal consequences --- consequences that are not limited to the actions of the deranged.

Such rhetoric is both the product and cause of dehumanization --- a process defined by Professor Phillip Zimbardo in The Lucifer Effect as a means "by which certain other people or collectives of them are depicted as less than human..."

Zimbardo writes:

The process begins with stereotyped conceptions of the other,...conceptions of the other as worthless, the other as all-powerful,…the other as a fundamental threat to our cherished values and beliefs. With public fear notched up and enemy threat imminent, reasonable people act irrationally, independent people act in mindless conformity, and peaceful people act as warriors. Dramatic visual images of the enemy on posters, television, magazine covers, movies, and the internet imprint on the recesses of the limbic system, the primitive brain, with the powerful emotions of fear and hate.

Where we covered the scientific work of Zimbardo and others in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization," and in a follow-up, demonstrating how the process applies both when directed to foreign "threats" and domestic "foes," here the focus is the thin legal line, unique to the U.S. courtesy of the First Amendment, between advocacy and incitement, and whether some U.S. politicians and pundits may have, at least in the case of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange as they have now charged, crossed that line so as to possibly warrant criminal prosecutions...

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

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Attorneys charge abuse of process, duplicity, public vilification
Shades of infamous McMartin Preschool trial, 'sex crime' fiasco...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/13/2011 8:24pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As the corporate media weighed in on the Jan. 11 decision to postpone a hearing on the Swedish request that the U.K. extradite WikiLeaks' spokesperson Julian Assange until Feb. 7, Assange's U.K. legal team filed a powerful, preliminary legal brief.

The Assange brief, citing extensive legal authority, not only sets forth why extradition will not lie merely for the purpose of questioning someone who has yet to be even been charged with a crime, but affirmatively alleges an abuse of process that includes duplicity:

  • on the part of Swedish prosecutors in releasing Assange's name to the press as a suspect in a rape inquiry in violation of Swedish law;
  • in disingenuously asserting that Assange must be extradited for questioning, when such questioning could be, as repeatedly offered, conducted in the U.K. under established international procedures;
  • in informing the Australian Ambassador that the evidence against Assange could not be released, even while granting a newspaper unauthorized access to the the prosecutor's files;
  • and in refusing to release documents which severely undercut the veracity of the case the Swedish prosecutors presented to the press and in their European Arrest Warrant ("EAW").

This latter allegation calls to mind the infamous McMartin Preschool Trial and the horrific and irreparable harm that can be wrought when irresponsible media fan public hysteria by joining in a public vilification that assumes, as true, volatile allegations of sex crimes.

The brief, citing Sweden's past role in facilitating the Bush regime's extraordinary rendition requests which led to torture, ends with concerns that Sweden's request to extradite Assange is a sham intended to facilitate his unlawful rendition to the U.S. for placement in Guantanamo, or worse...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2011 4:52pm PT  

This flier was circulated in Dallas in the days before John F. Kennedy was assassinated...

Any of that look or sound familiar?

If not, and if you didn't see the Tucson Shooting coming months and months ago, then you are living in a world of complete and utter delusion.

[Update 1/11/11: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., responding to the Giffords shooting at Huffington Post, draws a similar allusion to the atmosphere in Dallas in the days prior to the murder of his uncle.]

If you, like pretend media critic Howard Kurtz, are finding rationalizations and excuses to justify what happened yesterday, dismissing it all as little more than the work of a "lone nutjob," you are similarly deluded and among the most dangerous of apologists.

You are also anything but "conservative," since the core of that ideology used to include personal responsibility. Taking none, unfortunately, seems to be the new hallmark of the no longer any more than name-only movement.

Remember what happened after this video-taped moment in September of 2009, when Nancy Pelosi called for "taking responsibility for our words" before tearing up while recalling the assassination of Harvey Milk in her own district in the 70's, and while decrying the scores of death threats and broken windows at offices of Democratic members of Congress after they'd voted in favor of Health Care Reform?...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2011 5:19pm PT  

This afternoon, during my weekly "Muckraking Wednesdays" appearance with Harrison on KPFK/Pacifica out here in Los Angeles, we discussed the first day of the 112th Congress, Kindergarten Kapitol Kop Rep. Darrell Issa, the continuing intentions of the GOP to keep legal (Democratic) voters from being able to cast their vote, the seating of disgraced RNC vote cager Tim Griffin in the U.S. House of Representatives and the proposed new rules for filibuster reform [PDF] in the U.S. Senate.

Joining us on that last point was the great David "d-day" Dayen, news blogger from FireDogLake.

The lively hour follows in full below, if you'd like to give it a listen.

Download MP3 or listen online here...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2011 3:35pm PT  

Once again proving the well-worn axiom IOKIYAR ("It's okay if you're a Republican"), disgraced former U.S. Attorney, Karl Rove protege and the Republican Party's 2004 vote cager, Tim Griffin has not only been elected as a Representative to the U.S. House from Arkansas' 2nd district, he's also been assigned to a leadership position as deputy whip and has been given a seat on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, of all places. Guess they had to replace the previously disgraced anti-democracy champion Rep. Tom Feeney (FL-24) with someone, eh?

As Talking Points Memo notes...

A few years ago, Tim Griffin was a key figure in of the biggest scandals in the Bush administration. Democrats said --- and the Justice Department Inspector General later concluded --- that the Bush White House and Justice Department pushed out U.S. Attorney H.E. "Bud" Cummins III to give Griffin, a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, a plum spot as interim U.S. attorney that would pad his resume.

Now Griffin, who was elected to Congress from Arkansas in November, has been named by House Republicans to be a member of the House Judiciary Committee --- the very same committee which took a close look at his own role in the scandal that ultimately lead to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"Tim Griffin was a linchpin of one of the dirtiest, Washington-insider schemes that brought down the Bush-era Justice Department and now, ironically, House Republicans have appointed him to oversee the very department he helped undermine," Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement.

"Griffin loves to talk about his 6-month stint as a US Attorney but forgets to tell voters that he was forced to quit amid the national scandal about his hiring," Ferguson added. "It came to light that Tim Griffin was illegitimately appointed to the role of US Attorney as part of a massive controversy over unprecedented political influence over the Department of Justice. Arkansas families are right to question the character of Tim 'Dirty Tricks' Griffin and question his appointment to oversee our justice system knowing his rap sheet."

TPM has more on that aspect of Griffin's "rap sheet", but as The BRAD BLOG has detailed over the years, Griffin was also at the center of a dirty scheme to peel thousands of legitimate voters off the roles in Ohio in 2004, as revealed by his own "vote caging" emails sent to fellow George W. Bush/RNC campaign officials at the time...

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

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Contests 'vague voter intent' determinations, reliance on Diebold op-scan tallies on Constitutional grounds
But GOP candidate's decision to drop contest of Murkowski certification could prove fatal to overall case...
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2010 6:53pm PT  

[Update 12/28/10: Federal judge dismisses Miller's complaint. Details now here...]

"We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future," Alaska's "Tea Party"-supported, Sarah Palin-endorsed GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe Miller said in a statement today calling for "fairness and transparency" in the election process, issued after filing an amended complaint in federal court. His statement concludes with the simple sentiment: "Election integrity is vital."

Miller has decided to press on in his election contest against the state's Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and their Division of Elections (DoE), as overseen by Treadwell, by filing a Substitute Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief in U.S. District Court in Alaska today. The filing comes after resounding losses in state court and --- if the state's hand-count of write-in ballots and the Diebold optical-scanner tallies of all the other ballots are to be believed --- to Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski in November's general election for the U.S. Senate. As the unofficial state count now stands, Murkowski reportedly defeated Miller (and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams) by more than 10,000 votes.

In the statement (posted in full at end of this article) Miller explains that his team has decided to forgo challenging Murkowski's official certification as the winner, allowing her to be seated in the U.S. Senate on January 5th.

"The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month." he said, "This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue."

But Miller's decision to drop his challenge to Murkowski's seating may prove to be a fatal blow to his case --- at least if precedent set by Republicans in Congress some years ago, ironically enough, is any indication. But more on that below.

After winning the GOP nomination against Murkowski, and then reportedly losing to her unprecedented write-in bid in November, Miller originally filed his election contest in federal court in November. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline subsequently responded by sending the case down to state court for initial adjudication on relevant issues of state law. Late last month, Beistline temporarily halted state certification of the race until those issues were decided, and last week the state's Supreme Court rejected Miller's appeal, siding with the state, on all counts.

Beistline had given Miller until today to re-file his amended complaint in federal court. His filing now includes just three counts asserting violations of the U.S. Constitution's "Election Clause" and "Equal Protection Clause" as based on both the DoE's liberal interpretation of state law in counting write-in ballots, as well as the disparate weight the hand-count of those ballots was afforded, versus those tallied by Diebold optical-scanners in the case of "pre-printed" candidates...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2010 1:09pm PT  

As this noteworthy New York Times editorial was buried by its publication on Christmas Day, it's worth highlighting here today in hopes that a few more folks may actually read it.

To date, the lack of alarm (by both media and, subsequently, the public) caused by the idea of major U.S. financial services companies serving as little more than instruments of unofficial U.S. governmental policy is troubling enough as is. That WikiLeaks, the organization being outrageously penalized by these enormous corporations, has been been charged with absolutely no violation of law, makes the actions of these banks even more extraordinary and chilling.

And finally, the entire affair is made most disturbing of all, perhaps, due to the fact that in 2010 none of this seems to come as much of a surprise to anybody, as reflected by the lack of concern expressed in the bulk of the mainstream media and, therefore, by the populace at large (most of whom, thanks again, MSM, likely have no knowledge of any of it, or why it's extraordinary in the first place)...

The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.

Visa, MasterCard and PayPal announced in the past few weeks that they would not process any transaction intended for WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, Bank of America decided to join the group, arguing that WikiLeaks may be doing things that are "inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments."
...
[A] bank's ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.

The fact of the matter is that banks are not like any other business. They run the payments system. That is one of the main reasons that governments protect them from failure with explicit and implicit guarantees. This makes them look not too unlike other public utilities. A telecommunications company, for example, may not refuse phone or broadband service to an organization it dislikes, arguing that it amounts to risky business.
...
The decisions to bar the organization came after its founder, Julian Assange, said that next year it will release data revealing corruption in the financial industry. In 2009, Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks had the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.

What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was “too risky”? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2010 3:28pm PT  
NORAD: Loses Contact With Santa Over Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan: December 24 - America's NORAD tracking facilities in Virginia confirmed that at 2:06 PM today they lost contact with Santa Clause's sleigh. At the time the signal showed Santa's slay over the autonomous tribal regions that share a border with Afghanistan.

"We have no further information at this time," said a NORAD spokesman. "The last transmission we had from Santa was when he filed his flight plan upon leaving Iranian airspace headed for Afghanistan. We had issued Santa the standard travel warnings about the region, but he insisted on keeping to his traditional flight track."

Pentagon sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said a CIA listening post on the Afghan/Pakistan border picked up a garbled distress call around the time NORAD lost Santa's signal. "It was barely legible," the sources said, "but there was something about going down and something about a drone. After that all we heard were jingle bells ringing like holy hell followed by twelve 'splat-like" sounds and then silence."
...
As we went to press al Qaeda in Pakistan issued a statement on Santa's disappearance.

"The infidel Claus was struck from our skies by the hand of Allah who caused a US drone to fire on his craft. Our fighters reached the crash site and report that reindeer taste like goat, but tougher. The infidel Claus is alive and is being held for interrogation. Our demands for his release will follow shortly. In the meantime, thanks for the printer cartridges. As for the mens' underwear, we clearly asked for briefs, not boxers. You are not only infidels but also stupid."

Full report...

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VIDEO: David Swanson's L.A. book event for 'War is a Lie', with Lila Garrett, Jason Leopold, Brad Friedman...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2010 4:05pm PT  

On the day it was published, David Swanson guest blogged here about his new book, War is a Lie. A few days later, while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show he and I had a spirited debate about one aspect of the general premise of the book.

And last Sunday, the good Mr. Swanson came to Los Angeles for a book event at the home of actress and PDA advisory board chair Mimi Kennedy where I joined him, along with KPFK's Lila Garrett and Truthout's Jason Leopold, on a panel to discuss it.

The over-flow event --- impressive for any day in laid back L.A., much less in the middle of record rainfall --- was video-taped and is now posted below in seven parts, if you're interested.

(If you're looking for me in the videos below, my opening statement is near the beginning of Part 3, and my closing statement is in Part 7, beginning just before the 4 minute mark. As mentioned in my remarks, please support independent media and, along with it, the truth. You can help do so, among other ways, by buying David's book here.) Enjoy...

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

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