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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, August 21, 2014
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and His Bill to Stop Police Militarization:
KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Brad...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown. But who said anything about 'Democratic voters'?...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become, as does yet another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Oregon nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel fuel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
Previous GNRs: 8/14/14 - 8/12/14 - Archives...
Yes, Elections Still Matter: Brad on 'David Pakman Show'
With so many corrupt, corporatist politicians, even on the Democratic side, does voting and fighting voter suppression still even matter?...
Tale of Two Protests
The armed Bundy Bunch and the unarmed peaceful protesters of Ferguson -- one group was courageous enough to have possibly brought substantive, positive change to the nation...
97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
Kansas Sec. of State and long-time Republican 'voter fraud' fraudster Kris Kobach wins another one, as senior citizens turned away without voting on Primary Election Day...
'Green News Report' 8/14/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic storms, floods from NE to MI to NY, as CA breaks more heat records; China dumping coal, breaking solar records; PLUS: Jimmy Carter slams climate-denying 'nutcases'...
Previous GNRs: 8/12/14 - 8/5/14 - Archives...
News Summer from Hell Continues:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Peace activist and author David Swanson joins Brad to explain why using military force in Iraq, even to stop a genocide, is a terrible idea. PLUS: Much more...
Journalists Now Being Arrested in Ferguson
Reporters pulled out of a McDonald's by militarized police while covering protests of police killing of Michael Brown. Freedom-fighting 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still AWOL...
'Green News Report' 8/12/14
Is weather now more extreme?; ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising; PLUS: U.S. underestimated Keystone XL emissions...
CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
Prop 49, a CA ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution, will not be allowed on this year's ballot after all...
SIEGELMAN JUDGE ARRESTED FOR BATTERY
Controversial Republican federal judge Mark Fuller charged with beating wife; Daughter of AL's former, now-jailed Governor calls news 'shocking', 'karma'...
Keystone XL Emissions Vastly Underestimated by State Dept.: New Report
Independent study finds carbon pollution may increase four times the amount previously predicted by U.S....
1 BILLION Votes, 31 POSSIBLE Cases of Fraud
Law professor and voting rights expert reveals startling new numbers underscoring the massive, years long GOP polling place Photo ID restriction scam...
GOP Rep Decries 'Disgusting, Despicable Smear Campaign' After Primary Election
In his victory speech, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) lashed out at his U.S. Chamber-backed Republican opponents...
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...

As Revealed by California State Senate Hearings on Transparency in Elections
'Warts on Parade' as Voting Registrars Discuss Problems with Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and Many Other Electronic Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2006 4:40pm PT  
"Turn around and look at all the people behind you," Bowen said gesturing at a gallery full of voting activists. "These are all people who care about transparency in the elections process. It's not about me knowing or you knowing, it's about anybody else in the state of California who cares about elections to assess for themselves what's going on."
-- "Officials assess e-voting glitches: Confidence in electronic systems may be wavering" Oakland Tribune, 1/19/06

Such was the sometimes contentious, sometimes exasperating atmosphere, apparently, in Sacramento this week when State Senator Debra Bowen, transparent election champion and Democratic candidate for Secretary of State convened a hearing on the current electoral mess in the Golden State. The hearing was held by the Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee which she chairs.

County Election Registrars from all over the state were called to give a report on how things are going (not well, apparently) and Election Integrity advocates filled the gallery to witness the goings on.

There was actually quite a bit of coverage by the media, some better than others, but overall, it's nice to see an open forum for oversight and discussion of the state of democracy in this state. All the while, so much that is involved with the most fundamental element of democracy --- the vote --- has been done in secret corridors of power, darkened Boards of Election back rooms, Private Corporation board rooms, and of course, inside the uninspected, none-of-your-business software of completely untrustworthy, unaccountable electronic voting machines.

Articles hit late this week on Wednesday's hearings in the LA Times, Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Vallejo Times Herald and elsewhere. While the "facts" offered by some of the reports were at times less than accurate, we note that it's remarkable how many Journalists deign to cover such issues when they are granted "legitimacy" by an officially sanctioned Government Inquiry. (Just a thought to those of you who actually get paid for this sort of thing, from someone who doesn't...but we've long advocated Journalists cover what is newsworthy. Not only what politicians have instructed them to be newsworthy.)

Let's take a look then at some of the coverage, including our own on-the-air conversation on Friday evening with Bowen...

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

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By John Gideon on 1/20/2006 7:03pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

The circus in Maricopa County, AZ is still going hard and strong. This is a true story of election fraud and cover-up. Some PA counties are starting to talk about how much money they are going to lose because the counties have not had a chance to choose their voting systems. It's clearly a scare tactic....

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

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Democratic Senate Whip Says Things Seem to be Changing After Discussion With Colleagues...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2006 4:09pm PT  

Regarding my previous very strong suggestion that Democtrats fillibuster the Supreme Court confirmation of Samuel Alito, it looks like things may be changing from the conventional wisdom that he definitely would not be filibustered.

This from the Chicago Sun-Times today:

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Thursday he will vote against Judge Sam Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court. And he said so many other senators intensely oppose Alito that they may have enough votes to sustain a filibuster against the conservative jurist.
...
He didn't like what he considered Alito's vague, noncommittal answers --- during Senate hearings --- about abortion and presidential power "to eavesdrop on our phone conversations" and "to seize American citizens and to imprison them indefinitely without charge."
...
As the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, it's Durbin's job to count votes for and against Alito. He said he won't know until Tuesday if there are enough strong opponents to filibuster Alito's nomination.

"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen," Durbin said. "As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 senators ... are willing to stand and fight.

And just to short-circuited the Wingnuts when they (inevitably) trot out their misinformation concerning the Republicans approval of Ruth Bader Ginsberg during the Clinton Era...Unlike that case, Bush did not bother to get Democratic approval for Alito, the way Clinton did with Ginsberg:

Durbin took questions from law students --- many of them members of the conservative Federalist Society who support Alito and who noted his high ratings from the American Bar Association.

"What's the difference between the current situation and the [Ruth Bader] Ginsberg nomination, where, as you know, the Republicans overwhelmingly voted to confirm her, even though they didn't agree with her politically, because they knew she had the qualifications necessary?" second-year law student Jonathan Steitz asked.

"When Bill Clinton was looking to fill that vacancy, he was in dialogue with Orrin Hatch, the Republican leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee," Durbin said. "He brought him several names that Hatch rejected. He said, 'Don't send those to me --- I can't get 'em through.' And then Bill Clinton came up with the name of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And Hatch said, 'I can support her. The Republicans can support her.' A dramatic difference from where we are today."

Keep those calls, emails and faxes going folks! See comments in the previous item on this for a few phone numbers and website addresses!

Chris Bowers of MyDD.com adds these thoughts:

When I was down in DC, I heard some people optimistically argue that Republicans would not try and use the nuclear option if Democrats filibustered Alito, simply because going down that path would be extremely poor timing around the SOTU, the start of the legislative session, and the start of an election year. I have no idea if that is a likely scenario, as I also do not know if Democrats will actually be able to round up the votes on a filibuster. Clearly, however, the situation is extremely close, and the next reporter who writes or says that Alito is "likely" to be confirmed is either not paying attention, or needs to come clean about their connections to the Republican Noise Machine.

UPDATE: Here are some toll-free numbers to get through to the Senate: 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. Also, be sure to read comments in this item, for several other phone numbers and links to petition efforts, etc!

UPDATE 1/22/06: Guest Blogger Pokey Anderson builds the case for filibuster...

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By David Edwards on 1/20/2006 2:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards




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Rove gave this speech today to the Republican Nation Committee. The speech suggests strategy and talking points that will be used by RNC candidates and operatives in preparation for the 2006 elections.

Rove's tone is more moderated than in the past. We suspect that this is due to a variety of mounting troubles for the GOP along with waning public support. Republicans will want to project positive perception of their candidates while again using 'Swift Boat' tactics for the negative attacks.

UPDATE FROM BRAD: I'll somewhat disagree with the good David Edwards, only to say (at least from the clip posted) it doesn't seem that Rove has "moderated" much. He continues to smash up Democrats with the same misleading and factually incorrect horseshit that he (and Bush and Cheney) have been using for quite a while. Including the inaccurate characterization of scores of Democratic Party positions. Will the "Uniting, Not Dividing" ever stop?!

And, on one more thought, he talks about the remarkable economy of 2005. Bad timing, I guess, since the Dow just plummetted 213 points today, wiping out most of the gains from 2005 in a single day.

UPDATE: New York Times article:

In Preview of G.O.P. Campaign, Rove Tears Into Democrats

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 - Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, gave nervous Republicans here a preview of the party's strategy to maintain its dominance in the fall elections today, assailing Democrats for their positions on terrorism, the White House eavesdropping program and Mr. Bush's attempt to shape the federal judiciary.

For 26 minutes, after calling for civility in politics in a packed speech before the Republican National Committee, Mr. Rove offered a lacerating attack on Democrats that other Republicans said was a road map for how the party would deal with a tough electoral environment. Mr. Rove sharply criticized Democrats for their opposition to tax cuts and Mr. Bush's Supreme Court nominations, but he left little doubt that once again - as has been the case in both national elections since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - that he was intent on making national security the pre-eminent issue in 2006.

Mr. Rove speeches this early in an election year have proved to be accurate predictors of what Republican candidates would say in the fall, and thus every seat in the ballroom at a downtown Washington hotel was filled. He lacerated Democrats for what he described their "cut and run" policy on Iraq, for blocking a renewal of the broad antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, and for challenging the legality of the administration's widespread use of warrantless wiretaps in the face of widespread criticism.
...
Mr. Rove was mostly optimistic about his party's prospects at a meeting in which some Republicans have expressed concern about the political environment Republican candidates might be running in, pointing to the war in Iraq, high gas prices and the investigations. "The G.O.P.'s progress during the last four years is a stunning political achievement," he said.

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439 Ballots Appear Out of Nowhere during 2004 Republican Primary State Senate Recount; Incident Explodes into Bizarre Public Spectacle of Alleged Election Fraud, Failed Electronic Voting Machines and Elected State Officials All Twisting in the Wind...
What are Election Officials in Maricopa County, AZ Hiding and Why Will They Not Allow the Inspection of Ballots Stored (illegally and mysteriously) in an Unguarded, Non-Air Conditioned Cement Blockhouse Near the Airport?
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2006 10:35am PT  

Election Reform advocates have been turning out in droves at several recent public hearings in State Senates around the country. This week, official hearings were held in both California and Arizona concerning the unparralleled mess in which each state now finds itself in regards to Elections and Electronic Voting.

We'll cover the hearings in California shortly, where, as in Arizona, Election Reform advocates (read: citizens who have little to gain other than hope for the ultimate restoration of integrity to this nation's democracy) filled the galleries to capacity in order to witness the astonishing spectacle of public election officials sputtering, spewing and admitting to all in attendance that they haven't a clue how to manage the mess that is referred to as "democracy" in America.

On a side note: One can't help but wonder if we'd even be in the predicament today were it not for the complete abdication of duty by the mainstream media, who has ignored every facet of this issue beyond cursory and insulting smears dismissing such fundamental questions as little more than "conspiracy theory". There is no longer any doubt that those of us who understood the issues at stake here, long ago, were 100% right about it. As well, those who marginalized and dismissed us and the matter were 100% wrong. In the bargain, their delinquency in reporting on these matters in any substantial way has resulted in an unprecedented crisis of confidence in our democracy by the electorate. Such a crisis threatens our way of governance in ways that Osama bin Laden could never have conceived, much less found a way to cause himself.

Anyway, on to the most recent revealing and remarkable chapter in Arizona's Shameful Republican vs. Republican Primary Electoral Fraud Circus, in Maricopa County's Legislative District 20...

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

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By David Edwards on 1/20/2006 8:41am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Over 70 million searches are done each day on Google. The Bush Administration want access to Google's search data as well as the pages contained in the Google database.

The government says that it wants the private records to help fight kiddie porn on the internet. Privacy experts are concerned and Google vows to fight the request. A court date has been scheduled for October 2005.

Yahoo, MSN and AOL have already cooperated with the government's request by turning over private search records. Google conducts more searches than Yahoo, MSN and AOL combined.

In the following report from CNN, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin suspects that the Bush Administration considers the Google search records too important to be left to the decision of a court. He concludes that Google and the government will reach an agreement for sharing Google's records before the court is allowed to create a precedent on the conflict.


Video in Streaming Flash format...
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Conyers: 'There can be no doubt that today we are in a constitutional crisis'
Constitutional Attorney Jonathon Turley: 'What the President committed was a crime'; Admission to Re-Authorizing Illegal NSA taps 30 times was 'most extraordinary thing I've ever ever heard'
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2006 8:40am PT  

The Democratic led hearings on the illegal, warrantless spying of Americans on U.S. soil by the Bush Administration's NSA is currently being aired LIVE on C-SPAN 1!

Despite the House of Representatives being currently in recess, once again the Republicans have refused to give Chairman John Conyers, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and his distinguished panel, a formal hearing room. So, as with their hearings on the "Downing Street Documents" last year, they're back in the basement this morning.

RAW STORY has Conyers' opening statement.

C-SPAN's online streaming seems to be down, however, the live audio of the hearings is available via Pacifica radio.

(We'll try to update this item if possible, despite a very busy schedule this morning! Those who are listening/watching, feel free to "Live Blog" anything you like in Comments!)

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Paul Craig Roberts Discusses Election 2004, 'Power-Mad Republicans' and the Dangers of their Electronic Voting Machines
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2006 8:49pm PT  

Republican and true Conservative (as opposed to today's majority of phony "conservatives"), Paul Craig Roberts, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and National Review, as well Ronald Reagan's one-time Assistant Sec. of the U.S. Treasury, discusses "Evidence of a Stolen Election" in his latest column out today.

Unlike the bulk of his media and political brethren, clearly Roberts "gets it" as he writes, in review of Mark Crispin Miller's landmark election theft tome, FOOLED AGAIN, "now that Republicans have learned that they can use the electronic machines to control election outcomes, the disenfranchisement of Democrats is likely to be a permanent feature of American 'democracy.'"

Along with an appropriate indictment of the media's overall failure to adequately investigate and report on the crumbling of the most essential, very core of our democracy, ("a free press has proven to be inconsistent with the recently permitted highly concentrated corporate ownership of the US media," says Roberts) he pens the obvious point which the rest of the media, and America along with them, just can't bring themselves to admit outloud:

The outcome of the 2004 presidential election has always struck me as strange. Although Kerry was a poor candidate and evaded the issue most on the public's mind, by November of 2004 a majority of Americans were aware that Bush had led the country into a gratuitous war on the basis either of incompetence or deception. By November 2004 it was completely clear that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and that Bush had rushed to war. People were concerned by the changing rationales that Bush was offering for going to war. Moreover, the needless war was going badly and the results bore no relationship to the rosy scenario painted at the time of the invasion. It seems contrary to American common sense for voters to have reelected a president who had failed in such a dramatic way.

It does, indeed.

And, in closing, he hits the ball way over the fence:

If electronic voting machines programmed by private Republican firms remain in our future, dissent will become pointless unless it boils over into revolution. Power-mad Republicans need to consider the result when democracy loses its legitimacy and only the rich have anything to lose.

Homerun, Mr. Roberts.

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Grow a Spine Dems, The Time for Playing it Safe is Over!
(And, by the way, it's been over for a very long time!)
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2006 5:26pm PT  

Arianna is right. If the Dems tap someone like Virginia's newly elected Gov. Kaine to respond to Bush's State of the Union Address --- simply because he was able to win in a supposed "Red State" and sounds a helluva like Bush on the Iraq War --- instead of someone who represents the mainstream views of America like Rep. John Murtha, then they deserve every just dessert that will come to them.

The same is true in regard to any Senate Dem who refuses to filibuster Alito. They will have lost his/her right to be supported by anybody in this country. An illegitmate Presidency only lasts eight years (maximum). The Supreme Court is for a life time.

If Alito is worth voting against for confirmation (and he is), then he is worth doing everything in ones power to keep off of the Supreme Court. To that end, anything short of a filibuster to keep someone like Alito, nominated by a criminal like Bush --- who has lost all credibility, every "benefit of the doubt", along with a supposed "right" to appoint anybody to the Highest Court in our land --- is spineless, pathetic, fruitlessly pandering, and ultimately providing of a perfectly justifiable reason for any voter to refuse to support any such Dem ever again.

If Dems would begin Impeachment Hearings on George W. Bush immediately, if only they had the numbers in Congress to do so, then why, in the wildest stretches of anyone's imagination, would they defer to him the singular power to shift the balance of the court for decades beyond his shameful, criminal, and illegitimate reign?

There are many reasons to filibuster Alito. No matter what the Conservative Media tells you repeatedly. Those are the same folks, after all, who also told you that "John Kerry would be much tougher than Dean to defeat as a Presidential Nominee." And you believed them. While there are few reasons not to fillibuster Alito, aside from what those very same Wingnuts have hypnotized you Dems (again) into believing.

For the moment, however, I'll point to just one reason, as described in this study of Alito's prevarications about and claims of "Unitary Powers of the Executive" as compiled by the good folks of the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition. They, correctly, conclude thusly:

Further, many clouds currently surround President Bush and the Executive Branch relating to the legal and constitutional authority by which they claim to have for several questionable actions and policies. The Oregon VRC therefore questions the wisdom of the U.S. Senate considering any candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court nominated by President Bush at this time. We insist, as the Senate Judiciary Committee's (Republican) Chair originally suggested, that the confirmation process of a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court be deferred until a criminal investigation is completed on President Bush. Only if and when the President is cleared of any and all criminal actions can the people feel confident in his choice(s) for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Amen.

I've been out of town for a bit, and on and off line in the bargain, so haven't compiled an authoritative list of actions for folks to take if they agree that Dems should filibuster Alito. Come what may. So I'll leave it to folks in comments here to offer links to email petitions, phone numbers, and other such campaigns to help get the message to Senate Dems that the time for "playing it safe" is over. The time for stepping up courageously to do the right thing for this country...for our country --- fallaciously perceived political costs be damned --- is now here.

Do it Dems, and you will deserve every kudos. Do not, and you deserve every bit of disdain that will come your way from those who might have otherwise supported you to the ends of the earth. Either way, I promise, you will receive very same the slings and arrows from the Right. That's what they do for a living. But if you attempt to pander to the non-existant "middle" yet again --- as the Wingnuts have tricked you into believing actually exists --- I hope you'll not wonder why your base may justifiably turn their backs on you when you may need them most.

Fool you a dozen or so times...shame on you.

UPDATE 1/20/06: Dick Durbin says 'Filibuster now possible'! Details here...

UPDATE 1/22/06: Guest Blogger Pokey Anderson builds the case for filibuster...

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By John Gideon on 1/19/2006 5:09pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Exciting news today as Yolo Co., CA announces they are purchasing the Vote-PAD as their accessible voting device. Other CA counties are very concerned about whether they are going to have any voting system for their June primary. Tucson, AZ has announced that they are looking into using Vote-by-mail as their voting system. A judge in NM has released county elections officials from the lawsuit against the state's use of error prone Sequoia voting machines. The suit stays against the state so it looks like this suit will end up in court....

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

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By David Edwards on 1/19/2006 4:15pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano says that the new Bin Laden tape is no excuse to subvert the constitution and conduct illegal wiretaps on Americans as the Bush Administration has been doing since before 9/11.

Of course, John "freedom hater" Gibson called the new Bin Laden tape the "trump card" in the argument for allowing unconstitutional spying and the Patriot Act.

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Deadline Looms for Kidnapped Journalist Jill Carroll
By David Edwards on 1/19/2006 11:37am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

PBS Newshour invited several journalists with experience reporting in Iraq to comment on the kidnapping of Jill Carroll. Carroll is a freelance reporter that was working on a story for the Christian Science Monitor when she was abducted and her translator was killed on January 7th.

CBS journalist Lara Logan was asked how the lack of security in Iraq effected the ability to gather news. Logan responded to a complaint, often made by the Bush Administion, that positive stories are not reported as often as negative news.

The big complaint about this war coming from the American military and the Bush Administration is that the media aren't telling the "real story". They don't talk about the good things that are happening and I frequently say to American Military officers and soldiers on the ground:

"Look, you want us to risk the lives of all our team to come and film the opening of a bridge that was intact before it was bombed in this war anyway or a school that's had new windows being put in and has been painted. I mean, those are just not reasons to risk the lives of all the people that are involved in trying to tell the story."

Until journalists have the freedom of movement, not just around Baghdad but around the country... We used to be able to drive to Fallujah. I want to go down to Najaf and interview Mohammed al-Sadr. I can't do that anymore.

It has a huge impact on our ability to tell the story.

Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, 39 journalists have been kidnapped and 60 journalists have been killed. About 200 foreigners have been kidnapped in total.

Jill Carroll's kidnappers have given authorities 72 hours to release the 8 women that have been detained by security forces in Iraq. The deadline expires Friday night.

In the meantime, the security situation in Iraq is not improving. Just this morning, bombings in Baghdad have left 23 people dead.

See Lara Logan's comments about the dangers of reporting in Iraq in the following PBS Newshour video.


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By David Edwards on 1/18/2006 5:56pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards




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Earlier today, Democrats in Congress unveiled the "Honest Leadership, Open Government Act" which they hope will restore a measure of honesty, integrity and transparency to government.

While a number of Democrats spoke with high aspirations, Louise Slaughter's speech may have presented the strongest indictment of Republican ethics:

But today we're suffering the consequences of what may be the worst corruption in the nation's history. As everybody has mentioned before, we all know about the majority leader. We know about the man who left the White House in handcuffs. We know about the Republican congressman who pled guilty, and there are many more coming. Every day we pick up the paper and yet there is even more.

What we're up against isn't just the shameful work of individuals like these. It's a much broader problem. It's a problem that is rooted in the Republican establishment that has held power in this nation's capital for far too long.

Sadly, their legacy has been the fundamental degradation of our democratic institutions and the abandonment of core principles.

...
And under Republican guidance, America has truly been put up for sale to the highest bidders.

Here is the full transcript of Representative Slaughter's speech.

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By John Gideon on 1/18/2006 5:09pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Some California counties are becoming a bit nervous about whether they will be able to use their voting machines in upcoming elections. At the same time, the talk in Northern California is about Vote-By-Mail. Meanwhile in Bucks County, PA activists have brought suit against the county to stop them from going to paperless voting. ...

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May He Finally Rest in Peace.
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2006 11:22am PT  

Yesterday, I wrote about the suicide of Specialist Douglas Barber, an Iraq War vet who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon returning home from fighting on behalf of this country. A man who put his life on the line for this country, but who was unable to receive adequate help from the Veteran's Administration as run (and facing deep cutbacks) by George W. "Support the Troops" Bush.

Here is an email posted on SCOOP, from Barber, as written in January of 2005.

He had a difficult time getting people to listen to him while he was alive. Perhaps some of us can try to listen to him now that he's dead, so that perhaps his death will not be in vain.

In his email, Barber describes what many families go through when they witness their sons and daughters coming home in flag-draped coffins, hidden from view by the Bush Administration. And, even more telling in this case, some of the horrors veterans suffering from PTSD face once back on the homefront. Here's a few grafs...

All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.

We come home from war trying to put our lives back together but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.
...
Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt, dependence, loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

See his full post for some of the specific personal issues that Barber faced as he wrestled with his PTSD demons.

But then, he goes on to finish with some words for all of the Wingnuts out there who make this sort of disaster possible. Those who, from the comfort of their million dollar homes and multi-million media contracts, distort the cost of this war to sell it as "a noble cause," as if it's a Made-in-America product we can all be proud of and ought to promote to every corner of the earth. Those who bang on a political drum to give the death and destruction of others a "positive" spin for their own personal benefit. Those who gain from the nameless, faceless deaths of real heroes who --- unlike the media-politico scoundrels --- will never benefit by having their contracts renewed, their books promoted to the Best-Seller lists, or see offers for multi-thousand dollar speaking fees. Those who haven't the first clue of what heroes like Barber faced in order to make the lives of such Chickenhawks so cozy and swell. Those like Rush and Sean and O'Reilly who, in Barber's own words are "nothing but dirt under every soldier's boots!"

All of that, even as Barber's death, along with countless others, won't even rate to make the Pentagon's ever-growing list of U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even seem themselves added to the scores of thousands listed on the Injured Lists.

I'll let Barber finish out this post...

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any credence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.

I ask every American who reads this e-mail to stand up for the soldier who has given their everything for this country to stand up to these guys in the media; ask them why they don't pick up a weapon and follow in the steps of a soldier. Send this e-mail to as many people on your e-mail lists and ask them to do the same.

There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.

THIS IS A PERSONAL CHALLENGE TO BILL,SEAN AND RUSH TO HAVE ME ON YOUR PROGRAM TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. Otherwise you are nothing but dirt under every soldier's boots!

SPC. Douglas Barber

(Please consider supporting Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), formerly OpTruth.org --- Unlike Rush and Sean and O'Reilly, these guys were actually there...and they actually give a damn.)

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