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FL Repubs Undermining Ex-Felon Voting Rights Amend-ment: 'BradCast' 3/20/19
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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
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2009 8:40am PT  

$636 billion for annual military spending was approved by the U.S. Senate over the weekend, with little more than a hiccup of debate from Republican "conservatives," not a peep from the Democrats, and even less coverage from the corporate mainstream media.

But $850 billion for 10 years of what is ostensibly meant to be health care reform for the health and welfare of American citizens --- all while reducing the budget deficit by $132 billion over that period, according to the CBO? "A budget buster!," shout the phony "conservatives" in the same Senate.

Anyway, there's your "American Values," in a two-part nutshell, from today's Republicans and the Democrats and corporate media who enable their madness as if it weren't so.




A Solution to the 'Progressive dilemma' in U.S. Electoral Politics...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/20/2009 5:01pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

There have been a few occasions during my 62 years when I heard something profound that stuck with me.

The year was 1969. I was attending a freshman college history class, shortly after returning from Vietnam, when my professor said:

If the American Right can be criticized for its insensitivity to the plight of the common man, the American Left can always be criticized for its inability to count.

His words came back to me as Brad Friedman and I simultaneously made guest appearances on Live from the Left Coast with Angie Coiro.

While the topic was Afghanistan, a concern emerged over the splintering of the Left as a product of what Coiro described as strident "rhetoric," such as the suggestion that President Obama was a "sell-out" or the announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that he intended to introduce a privileged resolution to stop the "criminal enterprise" in Afghanistan. The concern was the potential for that "rhetoric" to adversely impact the Democratic Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Unfortunately, in part due to technical difficulties they had on the show that night, I failed to adequately articulate my concerns, which go to the core of the Progressive dilemma in U.S. electoral politics....

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




And an effort to remove the 2/3 majority vote required to make fiscal changes to the budget...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/20/2009 11:27am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

California, a state which, at $1.8 trillion, has the world's eighth largest economy, now finds itself at the edge of an economic abyss.

Despite Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Draconian cuts to health care and education of more than $15 billion, purportedly to close a $26.3 billion gap in the state's finances, despite a pending 32% increase in student tuition at all University of California campuses and three "furlough" days per month in which state employees are forced to stay home without pay, California now faces a 2010 budget deficit estimated to range from $21 billion to $25 billion.

As shocking as it may seem, this looming fiscal catastrophe did not arrive by accident. It is, according to a number of progressive policy experts, the intended product of a Republican-led privatization scheme...

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




ALSO: Where we disagree with his condemnation of Obama critics on the Left...
By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2009 12:57pm PT  

The wingnuttery continues to devolve. Last night, Rachel Maddow covered, among other recently related points, the new Rightwing "Pray for Obama" movement supporting, and selling merchandise in support of, Psalms 109:8 which begins this way: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office," and continues with "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."

Frank Schaeffer, repentant former rightwing fundamentalist evangelical, and now a contributor here at The BRAD BLOG, was on her show last night to discuss that point, and where it seems to signal that things may be frighteningly headed.

He also raised another point, in condemnation of critics on the Left, with which I'll offer a slight quibble. The video of the full Maddow interview follows, along with a crucial excerpt from the text transcript, and my thoughts on where I disagree with one of Frank's now-repeated assertions...

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




Unconstitutional 'Bill of Attainder' to be legally challenged, but was it also an example of class warfare?
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/16/2009 9:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Nov. 12, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that separate House and Senate Resolutions to bar all funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) were unconstitutional Bills of Attainder, which violated ACORN's Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and First Amendment right to freedom of association. (See Rachel Maddow's excellent coverage and explanation of a "Bill of Attainder" here.)

The CCR suit "seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent the government from reallocating funds designated for the organization and its affiliates and a preliminary injunction to stop Congress from singling out a single organization for punishment without proper investigation or due process."

During his Nov. 13 appearance on Democracy Now, CCR Attorney Bill Quigley (video below) warned that if constitutionality of the legislation is not legally challenged, ACORN could be but the first of numerous groups seen as supportive of Democrats whose funding will be challenged, as that rightwing blogs are already looking to target the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as well.

While the suit presents a significant legal challenge, and while there is little doubt that ACORN has been the victim of a GOP witch hunt which, as Brad Friedman and others have reported, included the "phony 'voter fraud' charges" that were at the "heart of the U.S. Attorney purge scandal," the willingness of so many Congressional Democrats to jump at the chance to punish ACORN via this Bill of Attainder may also entail something more subtly insidious...

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




PLUS: The lone Republican vote in favor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2009 2:11pm PT  

With the U.S. House having passed its version of a health care insurance bill (H.R. 3962 [PDF]) last night by a vote of 220 to 215, it may be instructive to take a very quick look at a couple of the outlier votes from each party.

The bill passed with just two votes to spare, leading one to wonder if Republicans are having any regrets about having hosed their own party's candidate in the NY-23 special election last Tuesday when the two Congressional seats up for election --- the one in NY and another in CA --- both went to Democrats, but that's another issue entirely.

Let's take a look at the reasons offered by two candidates who bucked their own party's in the historic House vote last night, as each seem quite instructive on a number of levels...

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




A short film in two parts by Brad Friedman...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2009 5:10am PT  

So we went out to Griffith Park out here in L.A. on Sunday to check out the kick-off day for the new "Tea Party Express II" national tour. Thought we might meet some interesting people and file a quick video report. Met a lot of interesting people, and so ended up making a short film of sorts. Enjoy. Spread the word. Go tell the story ("both sides")...


Part 1...


Part 2...

UPDATE 10/29/09: Boy, it's tough to compete with the Tea Baggers in the satire department, even when they're not actually trying to be satirical. As God is my witness, coming to you with a straight face this Thanksgiving --- Tea Party: The Documentary Film!...

UPDATE 11/9/09: As of today, we've had more than 11,000 views of Rise of the Tea Bags at YouTube. By Tea Bagger math, that's more than 3 million views! And yet, the media refuses to report it!!! Also, here's my interview on Air America Radio's Ring of Fire discussing the video...




Progressive group pledges withholding contributions to Dems until healthcare initiative with 'robust public option' signed into law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/24/2009 11:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Coinciding with an internal Senate Democratic Caucus debate over health care reform that Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) described as only “slightly less raucous than the town hall meetings,” the non-affiliated progressive activist group Democrats.com has launched a petition campaign aimed at curtailing donations to official Democratic fundraising organizations [emphasis in original] until "the Democratic Congress passes --- and President Obama signs --- healthcare reform with a robust public option."

That "robust public option" is defined in the petition as being "based on Medicare rates, not negotiated rates," available "nation-wide, with no state opt-outs," "administered by Medicare, not a for-profit insurance company." and "available immediately."

The idea that the public option would be managed by a private insurance company has recently emerged in reports of Congressional negotiations aimed at merging various versions of the legislation passed by separate committees in the House and Senate, as noted by RAW STORY's John Byrne today.

The progressive activists campaign calls for signatories to respond to requests for donations from the three major Democratic campaign/fundraising organizations --- the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) --- with a http://www.democrats.com...rike-for-public-option\">link to the petition, instead of funds, until such legislation has been passed and signed by the President.

"Until then," the petition states, "I will only support individual Democrats who support single-payer Medicare for All (the 88 sponsors of HR 676)."

"We elected solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democratic President to fulfill Democratic promises of progressive change," the statement continues, "We did not elect Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to break those promises."

The complete short petition follows in full below...

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




By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2009 11:38am PT  

Please see below for Jeremy Scahill at The Nation who, last week, covered the outrageous hypocrisy of federal legislation targeting ACORN (who committed no crimes), while the top 100 government contractors, who made "nearly $300 billion from federal contracts in 2007 alone" paid some "$26 billion in fines to settle cases stemming from fraud, waste or abuse".

By way of contrast with the federally favored criminal corporations, Scahill notes, "Over the past fifteen years, ACORN has received just $53 million in federal funds, much of it for low-income housing." Despite that, "In mid-September all but seventy-five House Democrats and seven senators voted with their Republican colleagues to bar the group from receiving federal funds."

The corporate welfare queens, of course, face no punitive legislative by Congress and are allowed to carry out their waste, fraud, abuse and often extraordinarily criminal behavior while on the tax-payer dole and nobody --- Republican or Democrat --- bats an eye.

Following the Scahill quotage on these points below, you'll find a must-see video clip of Florida's tenacious Rep. Alan Grayson, handing it to his Republican colleagues in a committee hearing this week, for their attempt to pass an "unconstitutional bill of attainder" meant solely to punish the GOP's favorite stalking-horse, ACORN. (See Rachel Maddow's expert coverage on the unconstitutionality of such bills, as posted late last month, for more details.)

Grayson's flat-out, apologetically cold-hearted unwillingness to yield the floor to the disingenuous wingnut cabal, and his shaming of them for pushing such an outrageously unconstitutional bill, is something to behold. Would that he were the model for what all Democrats sounded and acted like on behalf of the people. [Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG reader David Lasagna for the heads-up on that video. Now go watch it below!]

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




By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2009 2:04pm PT  

Following on Rachel Maddow's tremendous coverage last Thursday of the GOP's years-long witch-hunt of ACORN, and the media's abysmal job at telling the truth about the lies used to smear the community organization, the MSNBC journalist calls it an "outrage" and kept her promise of following up with another episode on Friday. The video is below.

We welcome her coverage of so much of what we have been reporting, sometimes almost completely alone, for years, and as further detailed now by a new academic study titled "Manipulating the Public Agenda: Why ACORN Was in the News, and What the News Got Wrong."

Maddow continued her long-overdue exposé, by examining the "Defund ACORN Act of 2009," which recently passed both houses of Congress by large margins, after sting videos showing low-level ACORN employees behaving stupidly (but breaking no laws) were created and posted by rightwing operatives. As she notes, the Congressional bill appears to be both unconstitutional, and incredibly hypocritical, given that other, still-federally funded organizations --- such as Halliburton, Blackwater, and many, many more --- often receive far more federal funding in a single day than ACORN has received during the organization's entire lifetime.

Furthermore, those other organizations, which still receive billions from the U.S. government, were actually found to have committed actual crimes, such as millions of dollars worth of fraud, have been charged with murder and the deaths of U.S. troops, and even involve child prostitution and sex slavery!

It's odd that Fox "News," Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, et al. (including the bulk of the non-wingnut media!) have yet to point these matters out, isn't it? So thanks to Maddow, again, for doing so, along with credit to both Joe Conason, who pointed out some of this hypocrisy recently at Salon and, yes, ourselves, who similarly opined at the UK's Guardian.

Be sure to see her must-watch Thursday report back here. Her Friday report follows below, along with our repeated "thank you" to Rachel, and offer to help on any number of still-unreported points in the continuing GOP witch-hunt that both the media and Democrats have embarrassingly fallen for, and about which we have been reporting for years...

UPDATE 9/29/09: The third report in Maddow's must-see series is now posted here...




$900 billion insurance carrier gift leaves 36 million uninsured...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/14/2009 1:07pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Last week, in his address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama correctly noted:

Our collective failure to meet this challenge --- year after year, decade after decade --- has led us to a breaking point. Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy...

We are the only advanced democracy on Earth...that allows such hardships for millions of its people….In just a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage...

But the problem that plagues the health care system is not just a problem of the uninsured. Those who do have insurance have never had less security and stability than they do today…More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won’t pay the full cost of care. It happens every day.

That was the easy part. Anyone who has paid attention understands that the core problem lies in the profit motives of the private insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Thus, the President's diagnosis of the U.S. health care system was accurate, but did he prescribe "change we can believe in?"...

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




Former Clinton Advisor, Representing Honduran Oligarchy, Justifies Presidential Ouster and Continuing American Empire
And why liberalism and progressivism have so little in common...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/30/2009 4:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Lanny Davis is an exceptionally talented lawyer, so much so that his close friend, the infamous Watergate mastermind, G. Gordon Liddy, reportedly said that Davis "can defend the indefensible.”

After watching Davis's skillful, yet deceptive, Aug. 7, 2009, performance on Democracy Now (video below), I had to admit that this is one of the few Liddy assessments with which I can concur.

It was supposed to be a debate between Davis, who represents a group of Honduran business elites formally operating as the Latin American Business Council of Honduras (CEAL), and Greg Grandin, professor of Latin American history at New York University, pertaining to recent events in which, as reported by The New York Times, "Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup after betraying his own kind: a small clique of families that dominates the economy." Zelaya imposed "a 60 percent increase in the minimum wage" in a nation where, per a Business Week article, quoted by Grandin, "two-thirds of its 7.8 million citizens live below the poverty line...The country has one of Latin America's most unequal distributions of wealth."

A well-prepared Davis, seeking to defend the indefensible, had no intention of permitting real debate. His strategy was to dominate the discussion and denigrate any comments that did not square with his distortions as "ideological rants." His dissembling would later be exposed in a fact-check article authored by Grandin, who had trouble getting a word in edgewise during the "debate."

While Davis's slick performance, which began with an unwarranted assault on Amy Goodman's impartiality as a moderator, should be seen, the core issue to be addressed here pertains to the fact that Davis, who served as Special Council to President Bill Clinton, actively supported Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (I-CT) campaign against Ned Lamont and the Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, describes himself as a "liberal."

Perhaps. But if so, that only makes ever clearer the difference between Davis's brand of "liberalism" and true progressive values...

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




But is it a fair fight? Why hasn't House Leadership asked CBO for a real cost comparison to public-option plans?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/4/2009 10:01pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an update to Small Victory for a Long-Term Single-Payer Strategy, I reported that “Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D-NY) will...make a motion before the House Energy & Commerce Committee to...replace H.R. 3200 [the hybrid, "public option plan] with H.R. 676 --- single payer Medicare for All."

In exchange for Weiner's agreement to withdraw his amendment during the House Energy and Commerce Committee health care markup session, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised to permit Weiner to bring H.R. 676 to a vote on the House floor.

But will the House leadership direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide a comparative cost analysis between single-payer and alternative plans so that Congress and the American people can make an informed choice? And why have they refused to do so so far?...

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




By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2009 9:52am PT  

AllSpinZone's Richard Blair comes out of self-imposed blogging hiatus --- writing via email that he's "not sure what it means that my internal levy finally broke this evening" --- to notice:

Healthcare. Afghanistan. Iraq. Unemployment. TARP. State-level governments going tits up. Homelessness. Hunger. Veteran’s affairs. Torture. Gitmo. Not one piece of the progressive agenda is being meaningfully addressed, and congress is about to go on a month’s vacation.

Is there a reset button for the reset button? If so, the coming Congressional recess would be a good time to hit it, boys and girls on Capitol Hill.

"The Mendacity of Nope"...




By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2009 10:45am PT  

In response to AP's Friday headline announcing "Conyers wants criminal probe of Bush 'abuses,'" David Swanson posts this "important breaking sarcasm"...

Holder Joins Conyers in Demanding Action

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.

Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.

Holder, in reply, has insisted that Conyers reissue all of the subpoenas his committee has failed to enforce over the past two and a half years and use the Capitol Police to enforce them at once.

In response, Conyers' office has issued a new report on the need to weed out corruption and undo politically motivated prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.

This morning, the attorney general remarked at a televised press conference, "Chairman Conyers proposed five months ago to extend to 10 years the statutes of limitations on crimes allegedly committed under the previous administration. Introducing a bill might be a way to begin making that happen. Just an idea. I'm no expert."

Surprisingly, John Conyers removed a large Easter bonnet that had been disguising him, stood up in the back of the room and shouted...

See Swanson for the rest...




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