P.S. Yes, I'm safely out of the mountains and just now beginning to get caught up with --- and make sense of --- the mountains of stuff that I very happily missed over the past week.
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|More Special Coverages Pages...|
P.S. Yes, I'm safely out of the mountains and just now beginning to get caught up with --- and make sense of --- the mountains of stuff that I very happily missed over the past week.
"As he exited his trailer," Ellie Hall reports at BuzzFeed, "British actor Benedict Cumberbatch had a suggestion for the photographers camped outside the BBC Sherlock set Saturday in Cardiff, Wales"...
Smartly done, old boy. Hope other celebs steal the idea.
I sat in the courtroom all day on Wednesday as Bradley Manning's trial wound its way to a tragic and demoralizing conclusion. I wanted to hear Eugene Debs, and instead I was trapped there, watching Socrates reach for the hemlock and gulp it down. Just a few minutes in and I wanted to scream or shout.
I don't blame Bradley Manning for apologizing for his actions and effectively begging for the court's mercy. He's on trial in a system rigged against him. The commander in chief declared him guilty long ago. He's been convicted. The judge has been offered a promotion. The prosecution has been given a playing field slanted steeply in its favor. Why should Manning not follow the only advice anyone's ever given him and seek to minimize his sentence? Maybe he actually believes that what he did was wrong. But --- wow --- does it make for some perverse palaver in the courtroom...
I'm heading off the grid, and deep into the mountains this week. Don't panic.
If the bears agree, I'll be back soon. There will be no important news over the next week or so anyway. I insist. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?
If you hear from my wife, call the police. I'm not married. She's a fraud.
P.S. Don't know if there's cell coverage where I'm going --- I hope not --- but feel free to keep an eye on my twitter feed (@TheBradBlog) just in case!
UPDATE 8/19/2013: Just off the mountain. Safely. Some of you may be disappointed to know we did not get eaten by bears. For my part, I am disappointed that the world failed to heed my pronouncement that there would be "no important news over the next week or so". So, looks like I've got some catching up to do this week. Your patience, as ever, is appreciated...
With these 300 fraudulent votes created by one Republican candidate alone, that's 300 more fraudulent votes than have ever been created by ACORN or anybody who has ever worked for them.
But, of course, you're unlikely to hear that, or even this story itself, from the tenacious Fox "News" "voter fraud special investigative unit" or the GOP clowns who help them disinform American voters.
Earlier this week, Villamaino pleaded guilty to felony charges of stealing ballots and changing the party affiliation of 280 Democrats during his campaign for state representative. A judge sentenced him to a year in jail, only four months of which he'll be forced to serve behind bars.
The remainder of that sentence will be suspended, and Villamaino will also be required to serve a year of probation.
According to the article, "Villamaino, a former East Longmeadow Board of Selectmen chairman who resigned last year amid the scandal, ultimately lost his Republican primary, and the GOP candidate subsequently lost to the Democrat in the race."
Three very quick points of note here...
This 14-year old Canadian girl, Rachel Parent, is tremendous. Watch her clean the clock of the TV host who bad-mouthed opponents of Monsanto and their GMOs and those who support the "Right to Know" campaign to require genetically modified foods to be labelled as such.
She's just fantastic. My favorite part (and there were many), was when the jackass host accuses her of being a "shill" for "extremists"...just moments after he basically accused her of wanting to kill millions of children with her advocacy.
Color me very impressed with this young lady...
From UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen's blog last night...
Texas defends itself against claims it discriminated against minority voters by claiming it discriminated against Democrats (p. 19):
DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.
Our own Ernie Canning covered the DoJ's recent federal court filing seeking to require preclearance for all new election laws in Texas, given their recent history of racial discrimination in election-related laws. The move by DoJ comes on the heels of the Supreme Court's June decision in Shelby County v. Holder which otherwise tossed out the list of racially discriminating jurisdictions (Texas had been one of them) previously covered by the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance requirement.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog offers a very good summary of both the case and Texas' response filed this week.
Hasen characterizes the Texas response as an "overreach" in their attempt to hide behind the Shelby County decision. However, Hasen also cautions that the Texas argument "could well find a receptive audience at the Supreme Court." And, I should also mention, the final paragraph of Hasen's article is chilling.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Record breaking weather extremes are the new normal; Surprise! 'Conservative' media disinforms the public; Fossil fuel industry showers Republicans with campaign cash; Seattle's community solar; PLUS: The FATBERG that threatened London ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What are the most climate-friendly cars?; Solar wars in Arizona; South Korea launches world's first road-powered electric charging system; Wind power cheaper than coal, natural gas; TN sells out of solar credits in 1 day; Wells run dry in KS; Native Americans arrested protesting tar sands on tribal lands; Sea level rise threatens major American cities - does anyone care?; BP CEO says he's done paying oil spill claims; How does Elon Musk's Hyperloop work? ... PLUS: How a powerful group of corporations quietly tried to roll back clean energy standards, and failed miserably ... and much, MUCH more! ...
I was joined on this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast by Dan Froomkin, formerly of the Washington Post, where he worked for more than a decade before becoming Washington Bureau Chief for the Huffington Post before becoming the founder of the soon-to-be-launched Center for Accountability Journalism at FearlessMedia.org.
My first question to him: Why should anyone in the public, other than journalism industry insiders, actually care that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post this week?
His response to that question and others on the recent shameful history and hopeful future of journalism were much more optimistic than mine --- but, as I note during the show, I really need a break (which I hope to get somewhere in the mountains next week), so I may be a even more cynical this week than usual.
Speaking of cynicism, I also ranted a bit on the United States of Fear and Redaction, on CA Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley's vote to continue violating her constituents' and every American's civil liberties, and even found some time to offer some improbable kudos to WI Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner for his support of the Voting Rights Act.
All that, a bit more, and even Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report can be enjoyed in this week's BradCast.
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx. 58 mins]...
I was watching a segment last night on Rachel Maddow's show with Desi Doyen, concerning the recent warnings issued to Americans and the evacuations at dozens of U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The actions were taken due, we are told, to "chatter" detected by intelligence services of the possibility of attacks by al-Qaeda (and/or "associated forces") to American interests in the region.
Maddow framed the actions being taken by the U.S. government in the context of the infamous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing memo --- "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" --- ignored by George W. Bush just one month before the 9/11 attacks. Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of that memo.
In her conversation with NBC foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Maddow discussed the memory of that infamously ignored warning, and what effect it may have on the way the U.S. government now reacts to such detected threats. "In a post-9/11 world", the argument goes, President Obama and all future Presidents are likely to be very conscious of not underestimating such memos and "chatter," in the event that an attack does come about, for which they could later be held accountable for having ignored the "clear signs." (Not that George W. Bush or his administration was ever held accountable for such things, but that's a different matter.)
While watching the conversation about the dozens of closed diplomatic posts, I said to Desi, "I bet they're wildly over-reacting. It's not about post-9/11. It's about post-Benghazi."
In either an abundance or over-abundance of caution, U.S. embassies and consulates are being warned and shuttered and Americans are being air-lifted out of countries. It's not the memory of 9/11, at this point, that the government seems to be reacting to. It's as much the Republican reaction and/or over-reaction and/or political bludgeon made of the deaths of four U.S. personnel at our diplomatic outpost in Libya last year that seems to be leading to this reaction and/or over-reaction by the government.
Indeed, moments after I had uttered that thought to Desi, Mitchell said to Maddow: "I think, Rachel, that this is not just post-9/11, this is post-Benghazi."
The way our government now reacts to such events is not necessarily based on common sense, it seems to be as much based on fear. Not necessarily fear of being attacked, but fear of missing some important warning or another and then being held politically accountable for it later.
Since so much of this is kept secret --- except for stuff classified as "secret" and "top secret" that is routinely leaked by government officials who, unlike whistleblowers, are almost never held accountable for such leaks of classified information --- we are largely left to simply "trust" that the government is accurately portraying the threat, whether they are or not, and whether they are simply over-reacting out of caution and/or political ass-covering.
All of this, then, adds an interesting light to a curious story reported this week by Al-Jazeera English's Jason Leopold (formerly of Truthout) highlighting the government's seemingly bizarre claims that they have concerns that al-Qaeda may "attack the detention facilities at Guantanamo" or otherwise, somehow, "undermine security at the facility" if too much is known about what goes on there.
But that's not the most interesting aspect of the story...
[ED NOTE: An abridged version of this article was republished by the Ventura County Star on 8/17/2013.]
On Aug. 1, my Congressional Representative, Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), forwarded a letter to me in response to a query as to why she was amongst those responsible for the recent narrow defeat (205 - 217) of Amash-Conyers, a bi-partisan amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill that would have brought an abrupt halt to the NSA's warrantless blanket collection of Americans' phone records.
The response did not address the actual substance of Amash-Conyers. Instead, her complaints about the measure were procedural, as she explained...
While there's some legitimacy in Brownley's objection to an arbitrary 15-minute time limit for debate on such an important matter, the issue is not as "complex" as the first-term Congresswoman characterizes it. The one paragraph amendment, and its implications --- unlike the PATRIOT Act, FISA and the opaque secret interpretations of those laws she was effectively voting to keep in place, as is --- were fairly straightforward, in fact...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Breaking: Another coal mine disaster in KY; 200 arrested protesting Chevron's toxic 100-year old San Francisco refinery; Why are drillers wasting 1/3 of natural gas?; South Korea's growing nuclear industry scandal; Extreme heat naturally poaching Alaska's salmon; PLUS: The world's first test-tube burger ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "Fatberg" ahead!; Will global warming lead to more war? It’s not that simple; NM farmers draining aquifer for fracking; Climate changing faster that in past 65m years; IG to probe State Dept conflict of interest; Fukushima: radioactive water 'emergency'; Gag order for 2 kids over fracking; Starved polar bear perished due to record sea-ice melt; Wind energy fastest-growing energy source in US ... PLUS: Screw Your Salmon And Your Virgin Wilderness, Alaska, America Hungers For Molybdenum! ... and much, MUCH more! ...
[This article cross-published by Salon...]
Full Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG has not been shy in calling out Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for some fairly outrageous stuff over the years.
Who can forget, for example, the time when, as Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 2005, he shut down the microphones and lights in the middle of an oversight hearing on the PATRIOT Act when he did not approve of the testimony offered by witnesses called by Democrats?
It was outrageous, it was inappropriate, and we reported it as such at the time, just as we did in 2011 when, in a bit of déjà vu, he similarly shut down a town hall event in WI after protesters there expressed outrage over the Republicans' radical anti-union law recently adopted in the state.
So it is with much sincerity and great appreciation that we "call him out" today, not for outrageous behavior, but for his outspoken and unwavering support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, after the very heart of that landmark civil rights legislation has been violently carved out by a 5 to 4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June...
"Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family," Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in July 2010.
Before a press corps hollowed out to a skeleton crew after Manning's verdict, that insinuation is falling apart. Top government officials testifying in open court for Manning's sentencing in recent days have cited no credible evidence his leaks led directly to any deaths. They have instead spoken to diplomatic sources placed at risk and strayed foreign relations. In the words of one official, some allies got "chesty."
During the first phase of the trial, the judge overseeing Manning's case prevented the defendant from presenting any evidence against claims that his releases caused any harm. So those revelations, endlessly fought over in the press since WikiLeaks' releases, have all taken place during the sentencing phase of Manning's court martial. They may shave years off his maximum 132.5-year punishment.
[T]he most explosive claim about Manning's leaks --- that battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan got U.S. sources killed --- seems to have been settled. The prosecution's first witness was Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, who led the Department of Defense's review of the WikiLeaks releases.
Carr's order to lead the Information Review Task Force came straight from then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Carr and a team of 300 worked for over a year.
Not a single death could be linked to names in the WikiLeaks files, Carr testified.
After more than a year of searching, the task force found a single instance where the Taliban claimed to have killed an Afghan source because of WikiLeaks. But then they discovered the cables did not actually contain the source's name.
"The name was not there," Carr said.
There is no such thing as a Republican politician who reads the New York Times.
That's the obvious takeaway from the events of August 2, as the GOP-controlled House cast a symbolic vote against the concept of a carbon tax just hours after the Times published an op-ed written by Republican-appointed former EPA administrators William Ruckelshaus, Lee Thomas, William Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman calling for such a tax, and otherwise for the GOP to join President Obama in taking aggressive action to reduce carbon emissions before it's too late.
One wonders why Ruckelshaus (the very first head of the EPA, as appointed by leftist EPA creator President Richard Nixon), Thomas, Reilly and Whitman even bothered to write this op-ed. After all, they are calling upon Republicans to embrace policy.
Has it not been finally proven that the Republican Party --- the party I belonged to for fifteen years --- no longer cares about policy? And, to ask the even more obviously rhetorical question: do they not realize that in 2013, "Republican environmentalist" is as much of a logical falsehood as "clean coal"?...
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