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OPD officer appears unprovoked before firing on citizen journalist...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/9/2011 12:47pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

New video has emerged (posted below), courtesy of ThinkProgress of an apparently unprovoked Oakland police officer shooting a cameraman during a recent stand-off with Occupy Oakland demonstrators.

In an email to The BRAD BLOG, Sgt. Christopher Bolton, Oakland PD's Chief of Staff, confirmed that the incident involved an "OPD use of force" which took place at 16th Street near San Pablo Ave. in Oakland on the morning of Nov. 3, 2011 and that the matter was "under investigation." (Recall that a general strike took place in Oakland on Nov. 2. This event, per the cameraman, took place shortly after midnight.)

However, Bolton did not directly answer specific follow-up questions designed to pin down details of the incident.

At YouTube, the unidentified cameraman denied that there had been any "violence or confrontation of any kind underway" at the time the OPD officer can be seen aiming and firing (as seen 31 seconds into the 40 second video below.)

Because this potentially involves an unprovoked police assault on a citizen-journalist, the issue at stake entails more than police misconduct. If it was unprovoked battery, the incident reflects nothing less than a direct assault on the First Amendment, democratic accountability and the public's right to monitor police misconduct.

Video captures moment officer fires...

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




By Brad Friedman on 10/7/2011 3:41pm PT  

Via #OccupyAustin..




By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2011 1:32pm PT  


"The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation." - President Jimmy Carter
(Inaugural Address, 1/20/1977)

Oh, well. It was a nice idea at the time.

Nonetheless, happy 87th birthday (yesterday), Mr. President!

[Hat-tip @WestWingReport.]




By Ernest A. Canning on 9/23/2011 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.

The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, and a witness in the second three-member panel, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.

Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.

In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2011 4:59pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
(With additional reporting and snark by Brad Friedman)

Maine's GOP Chairman, Charlie Webster, displayed a remarkable level of ignorance about the right of college students to register and vote in the Pine Tree State during a recent appearance on local radio, weeks after virtually everyone in the state has been trying to explain to him that he is off his nut.

Earlier this summer, Webster raised eyebrows (and more than a few laughs) when he brought the names of some 200 out-of-state college students to the ME Secretary of State, seeking an investigation for "voter fraud."

"I am convinced that my research proves that [voter] fraud is a problem, and I’ve only found the tip of the iceberg," Webster said during a press conference at the State House at the time, though he shared no evidence of any of the students having voted twice, or otherwise having illegally registered.

Webster's "research" began after a petition effort was launched seeking a "voter veto" ballot initiative to reverse a law recently passed by the Republican-led state legislature ending the state's 38-year-old practice of allowing for same-day voter registration. The new Maine law is just one of many new voter suppression efforts enacted by the GOP under the wholly unsupported guise of combating "voter fraud" in states across the nation over the past several months since the GOP took over many statehouses in the 2010 election.

The state's GOP chair has apparently never heard the old axiom about once you're in a hole, stop digging...

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Paper ignores calls for criminal investigations of Supreme Court Justice, growing record of judicial lawlessness...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2011 3:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

However historically inaccurate the phrase may have been, the idea that Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned seems apropos the appearance of a David G. Savage fawning Clarence Thomas puff piece on the front page of the Sunday, July 3 edition of Los Angeles Times.

On March 7, as part of our coverage of a Daily Beast article, in which Univ. of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos called for Thomas to be thrown off the bench, we noted:

The BRAD BLOG was among the first to specifically detail Thomas' years of "knowing and willful" violations of the U.S. criminal code, even as the mainstream corporate media largely ignored or downplayed those violations of the Rule of Law in their limited coverage...

In a March 6 Los Angeles Times op-ed, George Washington Law School Prof. Jonathan Turley found allegations that Virginia Thomas received monies from the groups that had a direct interest in the outcome of Citizens United to be "particularly alarming." He went on to compare Thomas' cynical effort to equate criticism of his ethical lapses with an attack on the integrity of the Court to Louis XIV's infamous view that there was no distinction between himself and the state.

Yet, on July 3, Los Angeles Times gave page-one coverage to Savage's uncritical piece that begins with a self-serving description in which Thomas seeks to portray his radical and, at times, outright bizarre legal positions, such as his stand-alone position that prisoners have no constitutional right to be protected from beatings by their guards, as simply a reflection of a rugged individualist who is not afraid to be a minority of one when he thinks he is right.

During Thomas' contentious Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings in 1991, the late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA) took a very different view as he likened the Thomas nomination to a game of "Russian roulette":

If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.

The firestorm of controversy surrounding questions about Thomas' conflicts of interest, severe ethical lapses, and possible crimes has momentarily slowed a bit over the past month of Congressional (almost) recess and the usual D.C. media "summer vacation." But the list of reputable individuals and organizations calling for the embattled Associate Supreme Court Justice to be investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, removed from office, and possibly prosecuted is likely to grow again once politics as usual resumes following the Labor Day holiday, according to The BRAD BLOG's discussions with a number of those individuals and organizations.

In the meantime, the question remains as to why Los Angeles Times saw fit not only to publish a ridiculous puff piece on Thomas as the firestorm was still cresting in July, failing to so much as reference these serious issues, but why they even found it necessary to elevate such a softball article to their front page.

Before reaching that, however, let's again examine the real issues...

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Can case receive fair hearing before WI's partisan Supreme Court?
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/24/2011 11:13am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The League of Women Voters in Wisconsin announced it will file a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court charging that the Badger State's newly-enacted polling place photo ID restriction law violates the state's Constitution.

From a strictly legal perspective, the decision by the League's attorney Lester Pines to challenge the new photo ID law pursuant to the state's Constitution is significant.

Under Equal Protection analysis, any impartial jurist would readily understand that the statute does not meet the heightened scrutiny that accompanies the fact that, under the WI Constitution, voting is deemed a "fundamental right."

While certain exclusions are allowed in the Constitution, such as laws which exclude felons or those whom the state deems "mentally incompetent," the language explicitly notes that "every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident" of Wisconsin may cast a vote.

But therein lies the rub. Absent the removal of Justice David Prosser in connection with the allegations that he choked Justice Ann Walsh-Bradley, as is currently being investigated by a special prosecutor, the League's constitutional challenge will run smack dab into a WI Supreme Court that sports a 4-3 majority of partisan ideologues in robes...

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Colbert: Romney 'This generation's Dr. Martin Luther, Inc.'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2011 11:43am PT  

So, this guy is the front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination for President of the United States?...

TPM has more context, etc., and you can decide for yourself whether Romney was echoing the absurd Citizens United line there (that corporations are Constitutionally entitled to the same rights as human beings), or whether he was trying to say that what is good for corporations is good for the people who own and/or benefit from them.

But what strikes me is that Romney appears quite flustered and weak in that exchange. The entire tussle, with a few hecklers at the Iowa State Fair serves to make him appear profoundly unPresidential, when appearing Presidential is one of the few things he can be good at...at times. Perhaps Mittens oughta stay away from state fairs...and campaign appearances where actual people get to ask questions and stuff...for a while.

One thing is for certain though. Fairly or unfairly, that comment is likely to haunt him for a long time to come. I suspect it will become a landmark moment in Romney's political trajectory frankly. That view seems to be shared by both Rachel Maddow, who points out this isn't the first such awkward campaign appearance by Mitt, and by Stephen Colbert as well, who says Romney's "historic" statement yesterday makes him "this generations civil rights champion --- a Dr. Martin Luther, Inc., if you will." (Videos of their takes below.)

Nonetheless, for the moment, even after last night's very lively and entertaining Iowa GOP Debate on Fox "News" (a few, if not all, of the high/lowlights of what TPM describes as 'GOP Fight Night' here), Mitt still remains the man to beat --- though that's not saying much, given the current Republican field a full 15 months away from next year's Presidential election.

Maddow and Colbert video takes on Romney's "Corporations are people, my friend" comment follow...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2011 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast on Pacifica Radio's KPFK here in Los Angeles, I picked up on all that's transpired over the last several days in the Wisconsin recall mess, as reported at The BRAD BLOG of late, including yesterday's late-night concerns about our old friend Kathy Nickolaus, the GOP activist and County Clerk of Waukesha County which played a key role in last night's drama and reported results.

Other links of note, as quickly referenced during the show, the blocking of exit polls (only) in Waukesha yesterday, the miselading absentee mailers from the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity and the Kochs' AFP front group front man in WI.

After an opening rant or three, my guest, straight from Wisconsin, was former Green Party chair Ben Manski of LibertyTreeFDR.org, MoveToAmend.org, WisconsinWave.org and DemocracyConvention.org on what happened yesterday in the Badger State and how to move the democracy ball forward in the future against the enormous forces working to crush it (even more than they already have.)

As discussed, democracy is now under direct assault, very generally, in at least three and seemingly insurmountable areas:

  • Access to the polls (Photo ID restrictions, etc.)
  • Overseeing tabulation of votes (E-voting issues)
  • Corporate control (Citizens United and the obscene flood of corporate $ bastardizing the entire electoral/democratic system)

Luckily, we were able to solve all three of those issues in 28 minutes of commercial-free radio, the archive of which follows below for your listening pleasure...

Download MP3, or listen online below...

P.S. I'll be live on Stephanie Miller's show tomorrow (Thursday) at 8am PT, and then on Ed Schultz radio show at 10am PT. Tune in if you're inclined!




By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2011 7:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last Friday, Aug. 5, in a 15-page letter [PDF], the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the U.S. Department of Justice to deny pre-clearance of South Carolina's photo ID law, as signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley (R), pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Pre-clearance must be denied if the law was enacted for a discriminatory purpose or if it has "the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color."

As the Voting Rights Act of 1965 addressed specific barriers to voting that had been enacted by the Jim Crow South, the ACLU letter, of necessity, focuses upon the disproportionate impact upon South Carolina's African-American electorate who are amongst the 178,175 registered South Carolina voters who do not possess the forms of photo identification required by the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law. However, the ACLU's discussion of pretextual justifications for the Palmetto State's new law exposes a GOP intent to suppress the vote on the basis of class as well as race not only in South Carolina but in the spate of similar photo ID laws that are being pushed in state after state by the GOP, and supported by their paid partisan shills in the right-wing media...

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Bank statement examined for 'activity'; 'Free' ID must be specifically 'requested' by voter, DOT official concedes to BRAD BLOG
DMV Supervisor: 'They shouldn't even be doing any of it'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2011 5:58pm PT  

"This is what voter suppression looks like."

Those are the words on the final title card in the video [embedded below] shot by a Wisconsin woman documenting her experience at the DMV in Madison last week. The video purports to illustrate the ridiculous extra, and invasive, efforts many previously-legal voters in the Badger State will now likely face in order to exercise their right to vote in the state since the passage of the GOP majority's newly enacted voter suppression laws.

In this case, the woman was trying to help her son get a free Photo ID at the DMV, as is his right under the new statutes. At first she was told the charge for the supposedly-free ID would be $28, and that was only after she convinced a clerk that there had been enough "activity" in her son's bank account, as used by the clerk to determine whether or not he actually resided in the state.

And that was for an affluent white resident. If you're a homeless person in WI, as the woman's interview with another clerk in the video suggests, you can pretty much just forget about being able to vote at all under the new law.

An official at the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that those seeking the Photo ID for free must actually know to request it during the application process, as required by the language, she told us, in the new state statute...

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Why same MSM that hounded Weiner from office stays mum on Senate's serial hooker chaser and ethically bankrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/22/2011 2:06pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) submitted a complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics [PDF] alleging that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) violated a federal bribery statute when he submitted a May 23, 2011 letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar threatening to block legislation that would provide Salazar "a nearly $20,000 salary increase" until the Interior Secretary began to issue permits for deepwater exploratory wells in the Gulf at the same pace that permits were being issued before Salazar's moratorium issued in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year.

The statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201 (b) "Bribery of Public Officials and Witnesses" makes it a crime to offer or promise "anything of value to any public official" in order "to influence any official act" and CREW alleges that "Vitter's conduct is exactly the type of quid pro quo the bribery statute was intended to prevent."

While a scant reference to the bribery allegation can be found in the Wall Street Journal, and more extended coverage was provided by The Hill and by Politico, the same corporate-owned media outfits which hounded Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) from office for sexually inappropriate Twitter messages that did not amount to a crime, have remained largely mum about Vitter, the Senate's serial hooker chaser's alleged criminal activities, and his role in a taxpayer-funded "Con-Air."

Want to know why?...

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TONIGHT: You, me, Desi & everything else on our final night for a while!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2011 4:08pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with tonight's audio archives below...]

It's our final night for a while guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show as the Malloys return from summer break tomorrow night! [Pausing for cheers.]

So we're back for one more night, BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT) tonight, coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

  • ME, YOU (AND DESI DOYEN!), Yup, we'll be taking the opportunity to catch up on all the stuff we haven't been able to cover over the past week, including Wisconsin, GOP voter fraud and much more, and even a visit from the Green News Reports' Desi Doyen!

  • PLUS: Anything else of note today, and whatever is on your mind via calls to 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: My thanks to you all for a great week on the Malloy Show! We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when...but until then, you can listen to tonight's commercial-free audio archives and read the chat room archives, all down below. Enjoy!...

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




TONIGHT: Reporter Tommy Christopher & Author Richard Averett...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2011 3:03pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with tonight's audio archives below!...]

We're back guest hosting for two more nights on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show as the Malloys' summer break continues!

Once again, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT) tonight, coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

  • TOMMY CHRISTOPHER, online journalist at Mediaite on being scammed by fictional sources in his "WeinerGate" reporting, and on his full-throated defense of Rightwing scam-artist Andrew Breitbart.
  • RICHARD AVERETT, author of the new book ImaginePolitik, featuring a fictional character by the name of "Brad Friedman" who instructs a third-party "Independent Progressive Party" Presidential candidate who has just been named President-elect that his "victory" may likely have been due to electronic election fraud on touch-screen voting machines in the state of Georgia! Totally implausible, of course! ;-)
  • PLUS: The many crimes, "Judicial Insider Trading" and increasingly apparent ethical bankruptcy of Justice Clarence Thomas, plus everything else of note today, including whatever is on your mind via calls to 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Tonight's archives follow below, both commercial-free audio and chat room. Enjoy!...

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




Brad interviews watchdog attorney Kevin Zeese on KPFK...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2011 10:09pm PT  

He had inappropriate sexual entanglements with a number of women and lied about it repeatedly to the American people. Yet nobody --- save for one Colorado law school prof --- seems to be calling for Justice Clarence Thomas' resignation for some reason.

That, even though Thomas, unlike Rep. Anthony Weiner, appears to have actually, and flagrantly, and repeatedly, broken the law.

As we reported in January, Thomas appears to have "knowingly and willfully" filed falsified Financial Disclosure Forms which withheld disclosure of nearly $700,000 his wife received from the rightwing Heritage Foundation for the better part of the last 20 years. Only once it was pointed out publicly this year did Thomas bother to file "self-initiated amendments" to the forms he had signed just above the legal warning in bold and all caps which reads: "NOTE: ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FALSIFIES OR FAILS TO FILE THIS REPORT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS (5 U.S.C. app. § 104)"

While there has been little indication that law enforcement is actually investigating the crimes of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice (which, as we pointed out in January, are punishable by up to $50,000 and/or 1 year in jail for each instance of falsification), last Friday when Thomas' Financial Disclosure Form for 2010 [PDF] was released, the matter appears to have gotten shadier still, leading at least one government watchdog organization to describe what Thomas and his wife Virginia "Ginni" Thomas may be been doing as "Judicial Insider Trading."

Connecting the dots, it would seem the couple made huge profits from Thomas' participation and insider knowledge of last year's Citizens United ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court, as we'll show you below.

While Barack Obama's DoJ seems to be looking the other way, there was one person in Congress trying to bring attention to this issue last week with his ConflictedClarence.com website: Rep. Anthony Weiner...

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




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