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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 26, 2018
'Green News Report' 4/26/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Pruitt overhauls EPA use of science; Macron criticizes Trump on climate in Congress; Americans prefer renewables; PLUS: Global warming transforming Great Barrier Reef...
Previous GNRs: 4/24/18 - 4/19/18 - Archives...
Dems' AZ Election Loss, NY Victories Suggest Big GOP Trouble: 'BradCast' 4/25/18
Also: Mulvaney's stunning admission and Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber on Pruitt's new 'secret science' scam at EPA...
Legal Lightning Round!:
GOP Gerrymandering, Trump Travel Ban, Kobach 'Fraud', More!: 'BradCast' 4/24/18
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: FCC appointee arrested, Trump VA nom in trouble...
'Green News Report' 4/24/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Despite denials, Pruitt lobbyist met w/ EPA; Bloomberg donates to cover for Trump's Paris pact failure; Court reinstates automaker fines; PLUS: Hockey Stick graph's 20th anniversary...
Previous GNRs: 4/19/18 - 4/17/18 - Archives...
White Privileged Election Fraud, Mass Shootings, More: 'BradCast' 4/23/18
White Waffle House mass shooter peacefully apprehended, White GOP Judge in TX gets slap on the wrist for election fraud, and other recent tales of gentle accountability...
Sunday 'Consensual Collusion' Toons
Documenting the not-so-strange bedfellows of the week and much more, in PDiddie's latest weekly Sunday toon collection...
Senate GOP Twists Law to Gut Decades-Old Regs (Forever): 'BradCast' 4/20/18
Guest: James Goodwin of CPR: Also: DNC files Trump/Russia suit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
Senate Confirms Climate Science Denier as NASA Chief: 'BradCast' 4/19/18
...and many more otherworldly reminders of the importance of elections...
'Green News Report' 4/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Puerto Rico power knocked out again; Studies find Gulf Stream slowing down; New climate lawsuits for oil industry, Florida; PLUS: Earth Day 2018 focused on ending plastic pollution...
Previous GNRs: 4/17/18 - 4/12/18 - Archives...
'Dark Lord of Coal Country' Rising, GOP Panicking Before WV U.S. Senate Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/18
Guest: Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no, Mattis got Trumped, Kobach in contempt...
'Corrupt Intent': 'BradCast' 4/17/18
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller, indicting a sitting Prez; Also: Tax cut support falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
Federal watchdogs say EPA violated law for Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Hannity revealed as secret Cohen client; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons: 'One Raid Begets Another'
It didn't take long after Donald Trump's friend, business associate and personal lawyer was raided by the FBI for Trump to unleashes the missiles, as the cartoonists observe in PDiddie's latest collection...
As Trump Goes Ugly, How Dems Can 'Fight Dirty' to Win for the Country: 'BradCast' 4/13/18
Guest: Author David Faris on radically reform-ing 'long-term barriers to progressive power'...
Mattis: U.S. Lacks 'Actual Evidence' of Syrian Chemical Attack: 'BradCast' 4/12/18
Also: Clueless Trump to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair's abuse of public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell knew about warming since 1950s; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs under-mine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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...


Guest: Barbara Arnwine of the new Nat'l Commission for Voter Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2018 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still fighting for the right to vote and to have that vote counted, 60 years after MLK's "Give Us the Ballot" speech, 50 years after the passage of the hard-won Voting Rights Act, 4 years after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted it, and one day after what my guest today describes as a "really wicked decision" by the Court on Thursday to set aside a landmark ruling on gerrymandering that was meant to finally correct a grave injustice to voters in 2018. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

With Republicans in the U.S. House, on Thursday, having passed a short-term stopgap spending bill to keep the U.S. Government from shutting down beginning on Friday night at midnight, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are still racing to figure out how to overcome a filibuster of the same bill. The measure includes support for kids that rely on the currently-expired Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP), but leaves some 800,000 kids of immigrants who came here with their parents still facing deportation as early as March, after Trump ended Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. So, once again, rather than simply including a fix to DACA, Republicans are using children as human shields to try and force Democrats to vote with them for a short-term bill to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. It would be the first such shutdown in U.S. history while the House, Senate and White House are all controlled by the same party.

Sick of this sort of BS? If so, you can theoretically do something about it this year at the ballot box. But the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court isn't making it easy. On Thursday, SCOTUS stayed a landmark ruling by a lower federal court panel that had ordered North Carolina to immediately redraw the state's U.S. House district maps, since the Republican majority legislature admitted that they, unconstitutionally, drew them to ensure a Republican advantage. Though it's largely a 50/50 state, NC Republicans hold 10 seats in the U.S. House to the Democrats' 3.

That's just one of the ways that Republicans hope to keep cheating voters this year in order to hang on to power as the mid-terms approach. Another way was through Trump's discredited and now disbanded "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity", run by the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach. He had hoped to use the Commission to make it harder (for certain people) to vote, but he faced yet another embarrassment in court this week. When Kobach's Commission was originally shut down a week or two ago, there was a cry from voting rights advocates for a national committee to study and call out the real scourge of American democracy: voter suppression.

That call may have been answered this week with the formation of the non-partisan National Commission for Voter Justice, co-chaired by my guest today, BARBARA ARNWINE, former longtime Executive Director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and now President and Founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. Arnwine explains the new Commission's mission, responds to the "wicked" SCOTUS ruling on NC maps and other recent voting rights issues, and details many of the threats to democracy that must be overcome in 2018, more than sixty years after, as she and John Nichols note at The Nation this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark "Give Us the Ballot" address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1957.

"We gotta remember, we are looking at the Roberts Court. This is a man who made his life ambition the evisceration and the weakening of the Voting Rights Act. In fact, if he had had his way, there wouldn't be a Voting Rights Act, as he wrote many, many years ago," Arnwine says in response to the SCOTUS stay on the NC redistricting ruling and a similar one in Texas. "They are fine with these kinds of schemes --- gerrymandering and other devices and tactics that deny people the right to vote --- because they believe in their hearts that the result is fair, it's a result that they want, and it's a result that puts people into power that they favor. And that's wrong."

"We believe that democracy should be for every single voter. That's why we created the National Commission for Voter Justice, because every voter should have the right to be able to vote and to have their vote counted," the animated Arnwine explains. "Democracy should always be about a competition of ideas, a competition of the best candidates, and then the people make their choices. Politicians should never pick who their constituents are. The constituents should pick the politicians. We are in a reverse democracy right now."

It has, sadly, been that way for a while. I recalled today, while prepping for the show, that Arnwine and I were on a National Public Radio show back in 2008, facing off against the notorious GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Hans von Spakovsky, who, I suspect, was very used to getting away with his lies before that show. I also recall Arnwine's testimony to the Baker/Carter Commission on Voting Rights which was a panel created by Republican Party vote suppressors in 2005 to push for Photo ID voting restrictions. In comparison to the Trump/Kobach Commission, however, that panel was blue ribbon! The fight for democracy is never ending, it seems.

"Democracy is never permanent. It requires vigilance. It requires engagement. It requires organizations to monitor, to advocate for it," Arnwine tells me. "But it shouldn't be as bad as it is in the United States. That's the problem. The problem is that even with the fact that you've got to constantly seek it, it shouldn't be this bad. We should not have millions upon millions of voters finding themselves blocked from the polling booth. We shouldn't have three-hour lines. We shouldn't have machinery that everybody knows is worthless."

"But that's why the National Commission for Voter Justice is going to be coming to every area where we can," she says. "We're going to have over 20 hearings around the country, so that we can hear directly from voters what they are encountering, what their experiences are and, more importantly, what some of the solutions are, helping people to advocate for those changes."

Don't miss the full conversation today! It should get you pretty fired up for 2018, if you need any help.

And, finally, speaking of what Republicans are willing to do to get and hang on to power, a disturbing comparison of the dates set for U.S. House Special Elections to fill the seats of two different Congress members who both resigned during the same week last year (there will be a special election to fill the GOP seat in May, but the Dem seat will remain vacant until November), and the four --- count 'em, four --- convicted Republican criminals who have declared their intention to run for seats in the U.S. House and Senate in 2018...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Election integrity advocate John Brakey; Also: Conyers resigns, Farenthold skates, RNC and Trump go all-in for Roy Moore...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If Donald Trump and fellow Republicans have their way, an accused child molester will become the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. But, in advance of next Tuesday's election, election integrity advocates are fighting to assure the possibility of oversight of the state's computerized election results. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first up today, new wildfires exploded across parts of Southern California on Tuesday, in Ventura County and near Los Angeles, mirroring some of record fires that engulfed Northern California win country in October. Those fires killed more than 40 people and destroyed thousands of structures. While no deaths have yet been reported in the new blazes, tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee in the middle of the night and scores of houses have burned with thousands remaining threatened, as dry conditions and record winds are predicted to continue for several days.

Meanwhile, in Congress, allegations of sexual harassment continue to take a toll, as civil rights champion Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the longest serving member in the U.S. House, announced his resignation on Tuesday, following multiple allegations against him. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) says he will repay the $84,000 Congress paid out to settle a 2014 sexual harassment claim against him. Unlike in Conyers' case, no members of Farenthold's own party caucus have publicly called on him to resign.

And, following Donald Trump's full-throated endorsement of Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore on Monday, the Republican National Committee has now restored funding and other resources for Moore, after previously pulling support in response to well-sourced allegations of sexual impropriety with a number of teenage girls, as young as 14, when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Sitting GOP Senators --- like Utah's Orrin Hatch and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- have also walked back their initial condemnations of Moore, particularly as final passage of a massive Republican redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the rich still relies on a thin partisan majority in the U.S. Senate. That, even as new evidence emerges to buttress the allegations against Moore.

Then, in advance of that December 12th U.S. Senate Special Election between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones next Tuesday in Alabama, election integrity advocates are eying concerns about the state's paper ballot computer tabulators.

I'm joined today by longtime election integrity champion JOHN BRAKEY of AUDIT-AZ to discuss his lawsuit and other efforts to force Alabama election officials to turn on digital "ballot imaging" functionality for all ballots on the state's computer ballot scanners, most of which offer the feature. Brakey explains how such images, in lieu of actual human examination of hand-marked paper ballots, can be helpful for public attempts at oversight of results following next week's race, particularly given the historic obstacles citizens have been met with in attempting to verify computer tabulated results.

(See, by way of just one example, my recent interview with Wisconsin's Karen McKim, whose public records request finally allowed, just weeks ago, a multi-partisan group of observers to examine paper ballots from the 2016 President election. That audit of several precincts in Racine County, paid for by the residents themselves, revealed up to 6% of perfectly valid Presidential votes went untallied, thanks to flawed optical scan systems used across the state on Election Night and, in much of the state, even during even during Green Party candidate Jill Stein's attempted "recount". Other wards which tallied by hand instead during that "recount" discovered as many as 30% of valid votes went untallied originally!)

Brakey explains that some 80% of Alabama counties now use newer digital scanners which would allow ballot images to be retained and shared with citizens to examine after the election, to help ensure an accurate count. But, he tells me, relaying his recent conversations with the state's Election Director, "the reality is that it doesn't work unless you turn that feature on." Right now, he says, it is only turned on for write-in votes only. Brakey charges, however, that automatically deleting images that are taken of every ballot as they are tallied by the digital systems, is a violation of federal law. "It's a federal election, and under federal law, you must save everything for 22 months," he says. He is heading to Alabama today and says he will file suit to force the state to retain all such images.

Why not just fight to view the actual paper ballots? Brakey explains: "You cannot get at the original ballots. They will not let you touch them. In order to get to them, you have to prove fraud first. And how are you going to prove fraud if you can't get to the ballots? That's the Catch-22. The ballot images are a tool to get us to the originals."

You can watch the colorful and inspirational Brakey in the film Fatally Flawed, documenting his years-long transpartisan fight in Tucson, Arizona, in hopes of examining the ballots from and verifying results of a controversial 2006 election. And you can donate to help Brakey's fight for Ballot Images in Alabama (and elsewhere) right here.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Trump's unprecedented (and Orwellian) roll back of protected national monument designations by former Presidents, and much more...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Journalist David Dayen on how Repubs just admitted 'trickle-down' doesn't actually work | Also: Accountability for high-profile sexual misconduct, if not in Alabama, the White House or on Main Street...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2017 6:10pm PT  

According to my guest on today's BradCast, last minute GOP maneuvering on the U.S. Senate versions of the tax bill, in hopes of buying off holdouts within their own caucus, definitively proves that so-called 'trickle-down' economic theory doesn't actually work --- and that Republicans know it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up on today's show, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calls for long-serving Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan to resign in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations by a series of women, and long-serving Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas announces he will not run for re-election, after admitting to sexual misconduct with a series of women.

Those are just two of a flood of powerful men in politics, entertainment and journalism to be called out of late. However, how many women are still facing sexual assault and harassment from men who aren't as high-profile and, therefore, not being exposed by the mainstream media? And, how many others, even powerful ones like President Donald Trump and, perhaps, Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore --- whose poll numbers are back up over Democrat Doug Jones in advance of the Dec. 12th U.S. Senate special election, even after multiple allegations of sexual assault with under-aged girls --- still get away without any accountability at all? We discuss.

Then, while Republicans claim their massive $1.5 trillion tax cut scheme for corporations and the wealthy (and tax increases for most everyone else) will magically pay for itself, history and all independent analysis suggest otherwise. So does evidence from large corporations, most of which indicates that companies have no plans to use their expected windfall profits from tax cuts to increase employment or raise worker wages.

With that in mind, in order to get the massive tax measure passed at all, some Republicans in the U.S. Senate are demanding a 'trigger' in the legislation that would automatically kick in to reverse some of the tax cuts if the GOP and Trump Administration's rosy scenarios that tax cuts pay for themselves do not actually come to pass.

We're joined today by financial journalist DAVID DAYEN who explains why such a trigger is the GOP's worst idea yet for their already terrible scheme. "You could let monkeys bang on typewriters for several millennia and not come up with an idea as profoundly stupid," he reports at The Nation this week.

The result, he tells me, would be that taxes would potentially be automatically increased and/or spending reduced, at the worse possible moment for doing so. "Austerity in the midst of an economic slowdown is economic suicide. It would intentionally destabilize the economy if it slowed down. It would turn recessions into depression," he warns. "I cannot stress enough how stupid this idea is."

He also notes how opposition to such a trigger from so-called "conservatives"-- other members of the Senate, as well as right-wing advocacy groups like the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the US Chamber of Commerce --- "gives the game away" that 'trickle-down', and this bill as a whole, are all "all a scam"...and Republicans know it.

Please tune in for another very insightful conversation with Dayen, revealing just how hypocritical, dangerous and misleading the entire scam is, how much it will cost the American people in real terms, whether the GOP and Trump will be able to get it passed at all, and how the American electorate are likely to react if so, in 2018 and beyond.

Finally, a quick reminder that Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') at Healthcare.gov is still under way until December 15th in most states and, while sign-up numbers have been very high so far this year, they are very low as a percentage compared to last year, since Trump has cut the period for enrollment in half from previous years.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/25/2017 10:25am PT  

"Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not." - Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, 1968

It is really of no moment whether or not the mainstream media was correct when it proclaimed that "Medicare-for-All" will be "dead-on-arrival in a Republican-controlled Congress."

Politically, the decision by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), together with 16 co-sponsoring Democratic Senators, to introduce a new "Medicare-for All", single-payer healthcare bill, must be seen as a stroke of political genius --- a strategy that could provide a path to securing Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress as a result of the 2018 midterm elections.

Most Americans, including the author, thought the national trauma occasioned by "repeal and replace" ended on July 28 with the dramatic thumb down presented by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). But, alas, like a zombie, another monstrosity --- the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA repeal bill --- has arisen from the crypt of its legislative graveyard. And this time, the desperate hope was to move so swiftly that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will not have time to score it.

According to the Center for American Progress, Graham-Cassidy would not only add 32 million to the ranks of the uninsured but create huge premium surcharges for pre-existing conditions, ranging from $17,320 for pregnancy to $142,650 for metastatic cancer.

Republican willingness, indeed outright audacity, to repeatedly bring back a legislative obscenity that elicits as little as 12% support amongst the American electorate, is, in part, reflective of the tactically flawed strategies of their Democratic opposition.

Tactically, with the 2018 midterms on the horizon, the introduction of a "Medicare-for-All" --- a single-payer healthcare bill that by every objective measure is vastly superior to our existing corrupt, inefficient, dysfunctional and deadly government-subsidized, "free market" system --- has the potential to be a game changer, especially if the latest "repeal and replace" measure somehow defies the momentary odds and succeeds...

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




By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2015 12:43pm PT  

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller "will not qualify for either a judicial salary or be eligible for a judicial pension," according to a statement just released by the bi-partisan leaders of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. His resignation from the federal bench "in shame", as the statement describes Fuller's stated intention to step down as of August 1, will disqualify him from any further payment for his role on the federal judiciary.

In their statement, posted in full below, committee chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and ranking member Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) make clear that they were prepared to consider impeachment of the federal judge, prior to the resignation letter he tendered to the President over the weekend.

Fuller, a 2002 George W. Bush-appointee to the federal bench in Alabama's Middle District, was arrested last August on charges of beating his wife at a hotel room in Atlanta. Prior to that, he had been most well known for overseeing the controversial trial of Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman.

"It is a rare occasion when the U.S. Congress impeaches a federal judge and removes the accused from the bench, but it is a necessary tool to protect the integrity of our judicial system," the two high-ranking Congressmen say in their joint statement. "However, the House Judiciary Committee was prepared to initiate impeachment proceedings against Judge Fuller pending the recommendation of the Judicial Conference of the United States, and the Committee strongly encouraged the courts to expedite the investigation into Judge Fuller's misconduct."

On Monday, as we reported in detail, following a nearly 10-month probe of the incidents surrounding the disgraced Judge's arrest in 2014, the 11th Circuit Court's Judicial Conference issued an order [PDF] stating that the matter "might constitute one or more grounds for impeachment."

Unless he had voluntary stepped down, impeachment would have been the only way to remove Fuller from his lifetime appointment to the bench, despite the charges of domestic abuse. Judge Fuller submitted his resignation to the President late last week in advance of the publication of the Judicial Conference's order, but questions had remained about whether he had struck a deal that would allow him to accept a retirement pension after stepping down from his $200,000/year job.

According today's statement from Goodlatte and Conyers, so long as he leaves by August 1, he will not receive any compensation from the federal government thereafter...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2015 3:33pm PT  

While the specific names of U.S. Senate and House committees don't always foretell precisely what very specific areas they may oversee or regard as their own purview, the renaming of such a committee by its new chair, as is occasionally done at the start of a new session, particularly when control of the chamber changes hands from one party to another, can be very telling.

I believe this may be one such instance where quite a bit can actually be read into the new name for what had previously been the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee's "Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights"...

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




Letter to 11th Circuit from Goodlatte (R) and Conyers (D) seeks update on special probe into battery arrest of Judge Mark Fuller...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2014 6:05am PT  

The bi-partisan leadership of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, seeking an update on their investigation into the August domestic battery charges and prosecution against Alabama federal Judge Mark Fuller.

Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) sent the letter on Monday to the circuit's Chief Judge Ed Carnes and to Judge Gerald Tjoflat who is heading the Special Committee convened by the 11th Circuit to investigate the wife-beating incident by the George W. Bush-appointed federal jurist.

The letter from the House Judiciary Committee raises the possibility of impeachment of Fuller. The missive follows a vow by Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell (D) to seek articles of impeachment against Fuller in the U.S. House, as well as calls by the rest of the state's Congressional contingent who have stated that the U.S. District Court Judge should resign his lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

Fuller was arrested on the night of August 9th, after his wife made a disturbing 911 call from an Atlanta hotel room requesting an ambulance, while telling the operator that the judge was "beating on her". (The audio of the call, in which she is heard being struck, is posted at the end of this article.) Police found Fuller's wife Kelli bloodied and bruised along with other signs of violence in their Ritz-Carlton hotel room. He has been allowed by the state court to enter a pretrial diversion program and will have all charges dismissed, as if the incident never happened, once he successfully completes a program of once-a-week visits with a domestic abuse counselor.

Whether or not charges against Fuller are dropped by the state judge, the U.S. Congress may impeach and remove him from his $200,000/year lifetime appointment.

The letter (posted in full below) says "The allegations against Judge Fuller raise serious, substantial and troubling questions that have been the focus of constant attention and close monitoring by the Committee on the Judiciary since August 2014 when reports first appeared of his arrest for a violation of state criminal law"...

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




'You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2014 12:33pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Washington Posts' "The Fix" blog describes Rep. Justin Amash's (R-MI) victory speech after his primary election on Tuesday as "absolutely amazing", noting that "Politicians who win campaigns, no matter how dirty, will almost always kiss and make up with their political opponents in their election-night speeches."

Amash did no such thing, as his remarks highlighted, once again, the growing, deep and bitter divide running straight through the Republican Party.

The libertarian-leaning ally of former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) and co-sponsor, with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) of last year's narrowly defeated bi-partisan attempt in the U.S. House to end blanket, warrantless NSA spying on Americans following the initial Edward Snowden disclosures, unloaded last night on the failed U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed campaign to unseat him with an "establishment-approved" candidate.

In particular, Amash targeted Michigan's former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, a long-time Chamber-backed candidate himself, now a Chamber-funded political lobbyist and supporter of Amash's Republican opponent Brian Ellis. "I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra," Amash told the crowd, underscoring the L-word to much applause, "you are a disgrace. And I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance."

Ouch. As "The Fix" notes, "Hoekstra lost the state's 2012 Senate race --- and in the 2010 gubernatorial primary."

And then Amash zeroed in on his direct opponent, businessman Ellis: "You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you. To stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what's best for their district."

The Ellis campaign ran an ad earlier this summer, citing Amash's support for shutting down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay (just as both George W. Bush and John McCain once supported) and his attempt to stop warrantless spying on Americans (a bill that narrowly failed with a bi-partisan 205 to 217 vote, which included 94 votes from fellow Republicans).

The Ellis ad referred to Amash, who is an Arab-American, as "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress."

His blistering remarks about Hoekstra and Ellisn come just after the 3 minute mark in the video below...




UPDATED: NSA domestic surveillance data used for IRS investigations...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2013 6:35am PT  

[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...

I have worked vigorously to protect civil liberties over my entire career in public service, and will continue to do so. However, we must address the very complex issues related to our privacy, rapidly advancing technology, and threats to our national security that exploit these advancements, in a deliberative, thoughtful, and responsible way with vigorous public debate. Crafting legislation that deals with such foundational issues cannot be accomplished in an amendment to an appropriations bill, as was the strategy with the Amash amendment. Furthermore, it allowed for only fifteen minutes of debate, which is not acceptable for such an important and complex issue that the public and their elected representatives rightfully care so deeply about.

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...

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




First surveillance-related floor vote since Snowden disclosures opposed by White House, secretly lobbied against by NSA head, supported by majority of Democrats and some Republicans
UPDATED: Congressional opponents of unlimited domestic surveillance vow to fight on...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/24/2013 7:22pm PT  

A bi-partisan amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill sponsored by Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and former House Judiciary Chair John Conyers (D-MI), was defeated late today in the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure would have brought an abrupt halt to the NSA's warrantless blanket collection of Americans' telephone records. It failed by a narrow margin of 205 to 217.

The Amash-Conyers amendment represented the first Congressional challenge to the NSA's bulk collection of domestic phone records in the wake of recent disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The vote came just one day after a speech by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who has served on the the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee since January 2001, in which he not only warned about the unlimited scope of the NSA's ever-expanding surveillance capabilities but the unnecessary development of a secret body of laws that, he argued, threatens to eradicate the very essence of democracy and accountability.

Ironically, NSA Director General Keith Alexander, did his best to underscore Wyden's warnings. Where the Obama administration and other members of both the Senate and House Intelligence Committee publicly lobbied against Amash-Conyers, Alexander scheduled "a last-minute, members-only briefing" to lobby against the measure behind closed doors.

Alexander, whom James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factor: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, has described as "the most powerful person that's ever existed in the American intelligence community," took pains to insure that his own efforts to privately lobby against this public bill be classified as "Top Secret," thereby precluding public consideration as to the reasons why publicly-elected officials might refuse to rein in unfettered access to the telephone records of millions of law-abiding Americans.

Rather than look at today's vote as a defeat, the ACLU's Michelle Richards told The Guardian's Spencer Ackerman that the vote's narrow margin reflects "a 'sea change' in how Congress views bulk surveillance," describing the bi-partisan debate on the House floor as "a great first step."

Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who originally broke a number of the stories related to Snowden's disclosures, tweeted during the floor debate: "Edward Snowden did what he did to make everyone aware of all this, and to prompt precisely this debate. That was his motive." He also observed this irony, after the House Democratic leadership rallied against the amendment and the measure ultimately went down to narrow defeat: "A majority of Dems supported the Amash/Conyers amendment to defund NSA bulk spying - majority of GOP joined [with the White House]."

* * *

UPDATE 7/25/13: According to AP today, Congressional "Opponents of the National Security Agency's collection of hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records insist they will press ahead with their challenge to the surveillance program after a narrow defeat in the House"...

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




Photos show VA AG Ken Cuccinelli visiting with RNC employee days before arrest for destroying voter registration forms...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2012 6:05am PT  

[UPDATE 10/24/12: Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will now be investigating after all, following a unanimous vote today of the State Board of Elections to refer the matter for a statewide criminal probe. Our concerns about Cuccinelli's conflicts of interest, as partially detailed below, still stand.]

[This article cross-posted by Salon...]

Broader investigations are being sought, on a number of fronts, into the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal including, finally, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Over the weekend, a Democratic state legislator in Virginia asked the state's Republican Attorney General to open a statewide probe, though AG Ken Cuccinelli has said he has no plans to carry one out. Given the photographs recently posted of Cuccinelli on Twitter (see below), that's probably a good thing.

On Monday, however, a number of Democratic U.S. Congress members from Virginia sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder seeking a nationwide investigation. Also, the three ranking Democrats of the U.S. House Judiciary, Elections and Oversight committees are pressing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for answers as to why his party hired a shady GOP operative with a long history of voter registration fraud allegations against him, and whether the RNC intends to truly cut ties with him, and his many companies working for Republicans across the country.

All of this comes on the heels of the GOP Voter Registration Scandal widening to Virginia last week, when 23-year old Colin Small was arrested and charged with 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors after being seen allegedly dumping voter registration forms into a dumpster near a shopping mall in Harrisonburg.

Small, a Pennsylvania resident who claimed on his LinkedIn profile to be a "Grassroots Field Director" for the Republican National Committee, had been hired to do voter registration work by Strategic Allied Consulting, a company formed this summer at the request of the RNC and headed by Nathan Sproul, a shady GOP operative and paid political consultant for Mitt Romney's campaign.

The firm was supposedly fired by the RNC late last month after hundreds of apparently fraudulent registration forms collected by the company on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida were discovered by election officials in some twelve counties in the Sunshine State. The RNC had reportedly paid Sproul's firm at least $3 million since August to carry out voter registration efforts in five battleground states, including VA, despite many years of allegations that his companies had destroyed Democratic registration forms in a number of states.

The arrest of Small revealed that the supposed firing was a deception, as Sproul's employees and Republican voter registration machine were kept in place, but run by local GOP officials and paid by PinPoint Staffing, one of the employment agencies Sproul tells The BRAD BLOG he had used in a number of states...

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




UPDATE: NYTimes buries Story, gives last word to wingnuts...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2009 4:15pm PT  

Earlier this month, a two-month independent investigation of ACORN, by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, found incidents of mismanagement, but no criminal wrongdoing by ACORN, the favorite whipping boy of Republican scammers such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the GOP itself. That investigation (full report here [PDF]) also found that the "sting videos" used recently against ACORN were highly doctored and manipulated.

Of course, readers of The BRAD BLOG know the Republicans' entire, long, sad, anti-democratic (small "d" and large "d" both) campaign is based on little more than the fact that ACORN registers millions of legal low and middle income voters who tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic (large "d") rather than Republican, and the GOP and their democracy-hating proxies will go to any lengths to keep those legal voters from exercising their legal franchise.

And today, once again, ACORN is cleared of wrongdoing vis a vis yet another independent investigation, this one by the Congressional Research Service [PDF], as noted in a press release from U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers this afternoon (posted in full below).

Of most note to our readers, Conyers' statement points out what we've been pointing out - over and over and over again for years: "There were no instances of individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees and who were reported 'attempting to vote at the polls.'" Who knew?! What a surprise! (At least to Fox "News" viewers, who probably won't hear about this report either.)

Also: "No instances were identified in which ACORN 'violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years.'"

And: "Recently enacted federal legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The courts 'may have a sufficient basis' to conclude that the legislation 'violates the prohibition against bills of attainder.'" That finding is one that a federal judge also recently concurred with, when she issued an injunction earlier this month to keep the law from taking affect since ACORN had "been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt."

Finally, according to today's report, Andrew "Drudge's Poodle" Breitbart's phony video-taped "sting operation" against ACORN may, itself, have violated the law in both California and Maryland, about which we might ironically recommend to prosecutors: "Capital punishment" for Andrew Breitbart!

The short press release from Conyers, announcing the new report's bullet points, follows below...

UPDATE: And coverage of the NYTimes burial of this report, now follows below it...

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




Link and Sign Petition on Behalf of H.R. 676 (Medicare for All)
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/8/2009 3:37pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

In "Single-Payer and the 'Democracy Deficit'," citing empirical studies, polls and the extensive data assembled by Physicians for a National Health Program, I argued that the current for-profit health care system is not merely corrupt, irrational and dysfunctional, but deadly; that it pits the obscene profits of a few health insurance company CEOs and their Wall Street investors against the health of our people, whose very lives are treated as nothing more than a commodity.

In that article, and in subsequent posts, I noted that those who seek to preserve the status quo are advocating nothing less than a death sentence for the more than 18,000 Americans who die each year simply because they can't afford insurance; that countless others die after being denied vital procedures.

I cited empirical data that demonstrates that so-called hybrid systems, including one with a "public option," are inordinately expensive as most of the monies find their way into the insurance industry coffers by way of subsidies. Single-payer systems, with administrative costs in the 1% to 2% range, are far more efficient than our multi-payer system where 31% is squandered on for-profit carriers.

I pointed to the undue influence of corporate campaign contributions which have corrupted the legislative process, where the likes of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) have worked tirelessly to keep single-payer off-the-table. In yet another piece, I noted how wing-nut mobs have provided cover for this betrayal of the American people.

Well, here's your chance, America...

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




Call for 'broad mandate to investigate abuses...policymakers and lawyers...without predetermination of where it may lead'
Update: Holder announcement said little more than a 'review' based on the shameful 'Abu Ghraib' model...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2009 2:07pm PT  

[8/26/09: Updated at bottom of article.]

After many weeks of speculation, and embarrasingly bad media coverage, Attorney General Eric Holder has finally named a Special Prosecutor to probe the use of torture by the Bush/Cheney Administration. The announcement comes on the same day that a redacted version of a 2004 Inspector General's report [PDF] on the CIA's use of torture was also released. RAW STORY has a good backgrounder on the announcement.

The prosecutor, John Durham, a career DoJ attorney from Connecticut, has already been investigating the CIA's destruction of torture video tapes, and has been described by AP as "one of the nation’s most relentless prosecutors."

The IG's 122-page report details the beating and death of detainees, threats of violence, death and sexual assault to their family members, and other techniques used by U.S. government interrogators that were "inconsistent with the public policy positions that the U.S. has taken regarding human rights."

Shortly after the announcement today, U.S. House Judiciary chair John Conyers (D-MI) and subcommittee chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released a statement applauding the appointment of the Special Prosecutor and calling for a 'broad mandate' to prosecute not just 'frontline personnel,' but also the 'policymakers and lawyers' who created the "conditions where such absues were all but inevitable to occur."

"Seeking out only the low-level actors in a conspiracy to torture detainees will bring neither justice nor restored standing to our nation," says Nadler in the statement (posted in full below)...

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




New email (released by Rove?) reveal 'greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors'
Continues the old 'voter fraud' canard...
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2009 2:23pm PT  

[Updated 8/3/09: Republican attorney and whistleblower Jill Simpson says Rove broke the law in given his interviews to to WaPo and NYTimes. See update at bottom of article for details.]

Well, this is interesting...Seems Rove has now met a second time behind closed doors with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today, according to this breaking report from Washington Post which also includes a review of newly disclosed email showing he "and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood" in the U.S. Attorney Purge.

WaPo reports "The e-mails emerged as Rove finished his second day of closed-door-testimony Thursday about the firings to the House Judiciary Committee." He had previously met with Judiciary Committee members in early July.

Keep in mind, as you read the article, that their piece feeds off of an "hour-long interview with The Post and the New York Times this month", so the piece is likely to offer a Rove-friendly framing to be taken with a grain of salt or three. Eg. "Rove described himself as merely passing along complaints by senators and state party officials to White House lawyers."

Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel concurs there is much "Rove spin" throughout the piece. She also asserts the newly revealed email may well have come from Rove and/or his attorney Robert Luskin who have a habit of leaking friendly documents to media whenever convenient, and in hopes of controlling the public reportage. Papers like WaPo and NYTimes have been historically all too happy to serve them to that end over the years.

The paper also reports the WaPo/NYTimes interview was "conducted on the condition that it not be released until Rove's House testimony concluded." So the release of the piece would seem to signal that the behind-closed-doors testimony --- about which our Judiciary sources have been incredibly tight-lipped --- has now ended. Rove, and Harriet Miers, however, could still be called for public testimony before the committee according to the agreement between Bush Administration attorneys and the Judiciary Committee, as (questionably) brokered by the Obama White House. It also means that Judiciary sources may well begin revealing details and/or transcripts of the interviews soon, now that they've concluded (as per the agreement). So, of course, Rove is trying to get out in front of that with his own spin.

Here's WaPo's lede...

Political adviser Karl Rove and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors almost three years ago, according to e-mails obtained by The Washington Post, in a scandal that led to mass Justice Department resignations and an ongoing criminal probe.

The e-mails and new interviews with key participants reflect contacts among Rove, aides in the Bush political affairs office and White House lawyers about the dismissal of three of the nine U.S. attorneys fired in 2006: New Mexico's David C. Iglesias, the focus of ire from GOP lawmakers; Missouri's Todd Graves, who had clashed with one of Rove's former clients; and Arkansas's Bud Cummins, who was pushed out to make way for a Rove protege.

UPDATE: NYTimes' article confirms the emails came from Rove himself. Their lede is even more favorable to him, in his attempt to downplay his role in the firings of 9 Republican U.S. Attorneys who, among other things, were not pursuing phony "voter fraud" investigations enough for the GOP, or otherwise pursuing corruption charges against Republican officials.

As in WaPo's coverage, NYTimes offers Rove's spin that he "did not involve himself in the details of the dismissals" and merely "went along" with the firings (rather than helped orchestrate them).

Here's a particularly fresh spin on the entire affair from Rove, that I don't recall seeing before...

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




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