Rupture feared; Workers contaminated; New evacs 'recommended'... PLUS: German study uses French data to corroborate findings from Austrian, U.S. scientists, suggesting Fukushima disaster should be reclassified as 'level 7' accident, on par with Chernobyl...
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!...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate change denial zombies claim another victim --- GOP Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman; EPA confirms fracking contaminated WY drinking water; Our Canadian friends to the North go South on Kyoto; PLUS: UN climate talks end with a mixed bag ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Shocker: Russian scientists find Arctic melt, methane release accelerating; State Dept: Congress cannot accelerate Keystone decision; Part of Japan's post-tsunami recovery fund goes to whaling industry; New concerns about Hanford Nuclear Waste Plant ... PLUS: VIDEO: Climate Scientists Michael Mann on "A Look Into Our Climate: Past To Present To Future" ... and much, MUCH more! ...
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...
I was also delighted to join my Green News Report co-host Desi Doyen this morning on former Air America host Betsy Rosenberg's On The Green Front radio show. Rosenberg is a feisty and smart --- and very funny --- voice in green media, and we were delighted to make our first-ever live appearance on her show today! We talked about the RW Denialism Industry, the genesis of the Green News Report, the impending shutdown of Green960 in San Francisco (the only progressive AM station on the public airwaves!) and the over-all failure of the corporate media to cover perhaps the most important story of our lifetime.
Oh, and it starts off with a swell special message from the D.C. King of the Deniers, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)! Really!...
"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world," former British MP Tony Benn said when interviewed by Michael Moore in Sicko! --- "more revolutionary than socialist ideas…because...you have the power to use it to meet the needs of your community."
"If the poor in the U.S. and Britain turned out to vote for people who represent their interests," Ben continued, "it would be a real democratic revolution."
There is a fundamental difference between guarding against being co-opted by the corporate interests which presently control the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic Parties and refusing to vote altogether as an infantile form of protest...
We've long been warning --- beginning with Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel's initial arrests of 175 peaceful Occupy demonstrators in late October, and again following the subsequent brutally violent crackdown by the Oakland PD on peaceful Occupiers there on the orders of Democratic Mayor Jean Quan --- of the growing likelihood of an "#OccupyDNC2012" at next year's convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, unless Dems wise up (and quickly) and figure out that it'll be far smarter to work with demonstrators on their legitimate grievances, rather than fool-heartedly try and crush the Occupations in hopes that they will simply go away.
Given that, shamefully, we've seen a series of (theoretically) left-leaning Mayors continuing the use of this ill-considered technique --- even upping the violent ante in many of the "crackdowns" since --- one must wonder if all of these Democrats have simply forgotten about 1968, are too young to know about what actually happened there, or simply don't give a damn for some unknown reason.
The BRAD BLOG's legal contributor Ernest Canning --- who was deployed to Vietnam at the time, so was unaware of what had actually happened outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968 in Grant Park (the very location where, ironically, Barack Obama would give his moving Presidential victory speech in 2008) until learning about it upon his return home the following year --- flagged these poignant reminders for us all...
Look familiar? Ignore those videos, and history, at your own peril, Democrats.
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning with Brad Friedman
[Article now UPDATED at bottom with new information on the LAPD release of detainees.]
Much of the good will and plaudits earned by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck for their "minimal use of force" tactics employed to clear OccupyLA demonstrators from City Hall Park earlier this week has been quickly squandered in the hours and days since. The BRAD BLOG has learned that hundreds of peaceful arrestees were kept in often deplorable conditions in the hours following their apprehension.
According to new interviews with some of the arrestees following their release, men and women alike were held without charges for hours on end, forced to urinate in their seats on a holding bus while handcuffed, cut off from attorneys, medical supplies, and drinking water, and locked away with punitively high bails while being deprived of both humane and Constitutional rights.
At this hour, almost three full days after their arrest at the OccupyLA encampment in front of Los Angeles City Hall, more than 200 of the peaceful demonstrators detained by LAPD in the evening on Tuesday and early morning hours on Wednesday --- many of them who were not even participating in the Occupation --- are still being held in jail pending $5,000 bail for their misdemeanor detentions, as detailed by radio station KPCC. Approximately fifty people have been released, some after posting bail, others for medical reasons.
KPCC went on to report that on Thursday, only 19 of those people had yet to be charged. The City Attorney's office said that, depending on the charge, some would face bail as high as $20,000.
This morning, Los Angeles Times reported that most of the 19 who were allowed to appear in L.A. County Superior Court Thursday were released without bail, but on the "condition that they not return to the City Hall area, where the protesters had camped." The Times went on to note that most of those still held without being charged have no criminal record...
Yesterday, during my KPFK/Pacifica interview on Wednesday with citizen journalist and fearless video live-streamer Spencer Mills (better known to the world as "OakFoSho") about his remarkable coverage of the Tuesday Night/Wednesday morning LAPD raid of OccupyLA at Los Angeles City Hall, we discussed a moment when an LAPD officer had, inappropriately, pointed a gun at him, and Mills' fearless attempt to take the officer to task for it.
"Escamilla is pointing his gun at protesters," Mills is heard saying on the video. The officer then points the gun towards the sky, and then lowers it briefly straight at the camera as the journalist's video-camera records the moment for posterity.
"That's not necessary! You just pointed your weapon right at me!," Mills shouts to the cop. "That's not necessary!...It's against procedure and it's against code and you're not supposed to do it! Take your finger off the trigger, please. Thank you! Don't point your weapon at me. It's against procedure and its against code. I'm a journalist! I'm allowed to be here!"
The crowd follows up Mills by chanting, "Guns down! Guns down! Guns down!"
"Again, his name is Escamilla," Mills says near the end of the clip, before spelling out his name. "E-S-C-A-M-I-L-L-A. I believe he just broke procedure."
Prior to the show yesterday, I wasn't able to find the audio from the incident, which I had seen live as it occurred on OakFoSho/Mills' live-stream, but RT (Russian television) apparently noticed it, and highlighted it yesterday. Here's that moment...
Also, as we've been quite complimentary, in general, towards the way the LAPD handled the eviction from the park in a surprisingly peaceful way (versus the appalling example set by other cities where police sparked violence by the use of pepper spray, tear gas, and more against peaceful demonstrators), it seems, in addition to the above, a bit more video is helpful for balance.
"OccupyFreedomLA," the other video live-streamer who joined me in-studio at KPFK on Wednesday to discuss her coverage, sends along the following video captured that same night and aired by KCBS2/KCAL9 (yes, their news divisions are now merged), showing exceedingly rough treatment by the LAPD of a photojournalist in the park that night. "It could have been us," she notes, in the tweet accompanying the link she sent to both me and "OakFoSho"...
The Massachusetts attorney general has filed a lawsuit against five large U.S. banks accusing them of deceptive foreclosure practices, such as robo-signing.
Attorney General Martha Coakley said on Thursday the lawsuit was filed in state court in Boston against Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc, Citigroup Inc, Wells Fargo & Co and Ally Financial.
Coakley's office said the lawsuit was filed after more than a year of negotiations with the banks involving all 50 states.
By the way, while I realize that corporations are "people," I wonder how many actual people, after committing massive felonies, are allowed "more than a year" to "negotiate" with law enforcement over whether they will be indicted for those felony crimes or not.
Coakley said she will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today to detail the suit against Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citi, and Ally Financial.
The suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, also names the private company Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc. and its parent, MERSCORP Inc., as defendants, according to the attorney general’s office.
“The AG’s lawsuit seeks accountability for the banks’ unlawful and deceptive conduct in the foreclosure process, including unlawful foreclosures, false documentation and robo-signing, MERS, and deceptive practices related to loan modifications,’’ the news release from Coakley’s office said.
And while we're waiting for more info on the above, let's not forget the woman who was arrested by New York City police for daring to close her Citibank account, as seen on video tape. The NYPD is not being sued by the AG (although they should). She did not receive a year to negotiate with the plain-clothed cops who physically picked her up and dragged her back into the Citibank branch just moments after she had the temerity to close her own personal account at the bank. Rather, it's been left to the woman herself to file a lawsuit against the cops and NYC that were both doing the bidding of Citibank on the tax-payers' dime, as Ernest Canning detailed yesterday.
I can't imagine what those Occupy Wall Street folks are calling for. Gosh and golly, just what are their demands?! It's all so confusing.
I was honored to have both the infamous "OccupyFreedomLA" (aka Freedom) and the notorious "OakFoSho" (aka Spencer Mills), citizen journalists both, join me live in-studio today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show after they spent the entire night live video-streaming the LAPD's de-occupation of OccupyLA at City Hall for the entire world.
So it was awesome to meet them in person to discuss the art of live-stream citizen journalism, get the scoop on how they do it, how you too can also be the media as a live-streamer with little more than a smartphone, and to get some inside skinny on what happened last night as they tried to help counter the spin by corporate media and the 1,400 strong LAPD contingent, to ensure that "the whole world was watching."
It was a fun and, hopefully, informative interview/discussion. Give it a listen!
P.S. Naturally, both of 'em live streamed the interview from the studio as it happened! So, while the sound quality isn't nearly as good, and you won't get to hear the sound clips or music from their inside-the-studio cameras, the archived video versions of each of their live streams follow below, if you prefer...
The City of New York and the NYPD are engaging in a deliberate campaign of "mass arrests, illegally arresting protesters, including bank customers, and needlessly detaining them for excessively long periods...in order to facilitate and promote the CITY OF NEW YORK's desired reputation as corporate friendly and pro-bank."
So says a federal complaint filed by a woman and her fiancée who allege that they were inappropriately detained by New York City police last month inside a branch of Citibank in downtown Manhattan. [Video of the extraordinary arrest is posted at the end of this article.]
The civil rights suit, Carpenter vs. City of New York, has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Heather Carpenter, a 23 year old student and direct care counselor for the mentally disabled, and her fiancé, Julio Jimenez-Artunga.
The complaint arises out of an Oct. 15 mass arrest at a Greenwich Village branch of Citibank during which Carpenter closed her account, quietly exited the bank and even offered a receipt to prove she was a customer, only to be physically accosted by the NYPD, dragged back inside the bank, arrested and charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest. According to the complaint, the DA subsequently has said that the charges would be dismissed for lack of evidence...
3:31am PT: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck give a very brief statement to media. Villaraigosa lauds Beck, saying that he's never seen such a well handled resolution. "This is a man who understands that Constitutional policing is the only way to go," said the Mayor.
For his part, Beck explained that "60 days ago we started a relationship with Occupy LA demonstrators," which allowed some 1400 officers tonight to use "an absolute minimal use of force" to clear the park.
Commander Andy Smith answers questions after the Mayor and the Chief leave, says that while dogs are still going through things, he is aware of no weapons or drugs found in the park. He lauds the demonstrators for "A fantastic job as far as the folks in there being non-violent." He said no pepper spray, tear gas or batons had to be used as hundreds of demonstrators were cleared from the park.
And yes, there are reportedly still four more demonstrators --- and one dog --- up in the trees...holding the Occupation...
Here is the full audio of the brief, 2 minute statement by Villaraigosa and Beck, as taken from OakFoSho's live video stream --- apologies for the very poor sound quality, thanks to the helicopters above the park...
Hopefully, here endeth our report for tonight. Read below from the bottom up --- as well as see our twitter feed --- if you'd like to relive it all as we did all night tonight...
3:21am PT: Not done after all. Citizen journalist Spencer Mills, better known as live streamer "OakFoSho," has been given permission to cover Mayor Villaraigo and Chief Beck's statement in front of city hall. Minutes away. See OakFoSho's stream below.
By the way, OakFoSho and OccupyFreedomLA are both scheduled to be our guests tomorrow on KPFK at 3:30pm PT on 90.7FM in Los Angeles and streaming live on KPFK.org. [UPDATE: That interview --- both audio and live video stream(s), naturally --- now here.]
Miley Cyrus' new video for her new single "It's a Liberty Walk" opens with a dedication "to the thousands of people who are standing up for what they believe in."
It includes footage of protests from around the world, including Occupy Wall Street demonstrations (and police violence at many of them) in this country and others.
Notably absent from the video by Disney's former Hannah Montana teen star and the daughter of country music's Billy Ray Cyrus...a single shot of any so-called "Tea Party" protests. Take that rightwingers.
The video accompanying the pop dance tune ends with a shot of a sign reading "We are the 99%" seen among a crowd of demonstrators as they cheer while being faced down by police. One more protest sign is seen as the camera fades. It reads: "We Can Change This World...Imagine."
By the way, while Myley's images are "arresting," the tune itself isn't much our cup of tea. On the other hand, two weeks ago alt rockers Third Eye Blind released a tune for the Occupy Movement. It kicks off with sounds from the aftermath of the police shooting of two-tour Iraq vet Scott Larsen at Occupy Oakland on October 25, 2011. (This morning we covered the inspiring Larsen's first interview after being released from the hospital as he fights to recover from brain damage sustained that night.)
The song doesn't yet have an official video to go with it, to our knowledge, but it calls on folks to join the uprising at Zuccotti Park in New York City and includes both a message for Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp and the words: A tear gas can in a veteran's face won't change the case.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: What was Newt thinking?!; SPECIAL COVERAGE: UN Climate Conference in Durban, S. Africa; 'Occupy Durban'?; Canada's hard right turn on climate; 2011 not hottest year on record; PLUS: Fake hoax redux: Climategate 2.0! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Radiation covers 8% of Japan; Fukushima crisis 'stunting children's growth'; Majority in U.S. Support Carbon Tax ... PLUS: The New Story of Stuff: Are we reaching "peak stuff"? ... and much, MUCH more! ...