On Monday's Politics Nation with Al Sharpton on MSNBC, during a segment on the NFL/Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, the issue of the wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller finally made it on to air, thanks to MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor who was joining Sharpton along with CBS Sports Radio reporter Dana Jacobson to discuss the latest in the NFL case.
While the Rice case has been covered extensively over the past week by both the corporate media and elected officials, following the public release of a video showing the NFL star knocking out his wife in a hotel elevator, the Fuller matter has received very little coverage. As we reported last week, it's also received very little outrage from elected officials in Congress who might otherwise have brought articles of impeachment by now, had their been video tape of Fuller's bloodied wife pleading for an ambulance and help from police at Atlanta's Ritz-Carlton hotel in early August.
Following a segment concerning the 16 female U.S. Senators who wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week to demand a "zero tolerance policy" for domestic abusers in the league, Taylor noted the irony of the Senators failing to call for the impeachment of Fuller, despite the fact that, unlike in the NFL, those elected officials actually have direct control over the removal of federal jurists from the bench.
Beginning at around the 7:10 mark in the video posted below, in response to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)'s appearance on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS explaining the Senators' demand for accountability from Goodell, Taylor broached the topic of Fuller...
GOLDIE TAYLOR: ...But what I have to ask Sen. Gillibrand and the others who signed that letter --- I am very pleased and very proud that they stood up and called the NFL out on this --- but what about Judge Mark Fuller down in Alabama? Why haven't they called for his impeachment? Why this case [Rice], and why not the other [Fuller]? I've heard a lot of people talk about this...
REV. AL SHARPTON: Mark Fuller, for our viewers who don't know, is a federal judge who had been...
TAYLOR: Absolutely, a federal judge...who beat his wife here in Atlanta, got a diversionary program, but no one has called for his impeachment...
SHARPTON: ...and still on the bench!
TAYLOR: ...why not that?
SHARPTON: Still on the bench.
TAYLOR: ...and still on the bench, and still has his job.
DANA JACOBSON: Because the NFL is in the spotlight right now, and I think that's a big part of it...
Note to Jacobson: The "NFL is in the spotlight right now", because you folks in the corporate media have finally helped put them there. That's fine, and certainly long overdue. But you can also help put a member of the federal bench who sits in judgment of others, and who arguably beat his wife far more viciously than Rice did, and who also appears to be a repeated wife abuser, in that same spotlight.
As a Twitter user aptly commented tonight in response to the MSNBC segment this afternoon, "#MarkFuller is more of a threat to society than Ray Rice ever will be."
True. In any event, thanks to Taylor for finally bringing this issue to MSNBC viewers. Perhaps it'll catch on. It damned well should.
Here's the complete video from the 9/15/2014 episode of Politics Nation with Al Sharpton. Much more of our coverage of this case is linked below it...
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UPDATE 9/17/2014: MSNBC's Chris Hayes plays portion of 911 call from Fuller's wife, in which she is heard being repeatedly struck. Full story now here...
On Sunday the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and television host, mentioned that voter turnout in the Ferguson, Mo., area was a mere 12 percent in the last election, and pledged to help boost that number with a registration drive. Twelve percent, he said, was "an insult to your children." He wasn't the first to think of channeling the anger over Mike Brown's death in this particular direction. Twitter users on Saturday noted voter registration tables in front of the makeshift memorial where the unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer.
Encouraging more participation in the democratic process in a community that feels alienated from political power - hence the demonstrations - seems like an obviously good idea; and one that's particularly compelling because it's so simple. Voting is an alternative to protesting in the streets.
And yet, the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, Matt Wills, denounced the plan.
Mr. Wills told the right-wing website Breitbart: "If that's not fanning the political flames, I don't know what is. I think it's not only disgusting but completely inappropriate."
On another right-wing site, Red State, Dan McLaughlin also argued that there was something indecent about the registration drive. Ferguson presents an opportunity for "Right and Left" to find "common ground," he wrote. But "the minute you turn your energies into just another effort to register Democratic voters and fire up the Democratic base in advance of an election," he argued, "the harder you make it to keep the common ground from vanishing in the fog."
Who said anything about "register[ing] Democratic voters"?
"Voter registration for #Ferguson residents is at the QT & the crime scene. SIGN UP. Get on the juries, choose your leaders," tweeted attorney and activist @ReignOfApril. "Voter Registration is a brilliant way to honor #MichaelBrown's memory. It's a positive reaction to horrible situation," wrote @Koursey in reply.
While the city of Ferguson is two-thirds African-American, the vast majority of their police force and almost all local elected officials are not.
"Though whites make up just 29% of the city's residents," reports MSNBC's Zachary Roth, "five of Ferguson's six city council members are white, as is Mayor James Knowles. And six of the local school board's seven members are white."
"We warned people about these kinds of things," John Gaskin of the Missouri NAACP told Roth. "Who hires the police officers? The police chief. Who hires the police chief? The mayor. Who hires the mayor? Who elects the council folks?"
As the Times' Lapidos goes on to note, "Mr. Sharpton did not say that the residents of Ferguson should vote for Democrats; he said they should vote, full stop." She adds: "Isn't it telling that both Mr. Wills and Mr. McLaughlin make no distinction between voter registration and Democratic registration?"
(Separately, kudos to the Times' Lapidos for describing those two websites for what they are, "right-wing", rather than usual "conservative". It must not have been easy to get that past the Times' editors, even though it's completely accurate. Or maybe the paper has changed their previously unhelpful style rules under their new Executive Editor Dean Baquet, along with this one. Either way, truth in reporting there is accurate, a great change of pace and far more helpful to the electorate.)
"When you let university administrators or other employers rather than women and their doctors dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not, a woman’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body." - Georgetown Univ. Law Student, Sandra Fluke
One unfortunate aspect of the firestorm surrounding Rush Limbaugh's profoundly uninformed, deceptive and misogynistic vitriol and calls for accountability for the Rightwing radio blowhard, is that it has completely overshadowed the substance of Fluke's testimony on the importance of access to prescription contraceptives to women's health.
The Limbaugh firestorm has also overshadowed the fact that the American Taliban (aka the elected Tea Party House Republicans) prevented Fluke from testifying at a House Oversight Committee hearing, framed by the Republican majority as a hearing on "religious freedom", because, as the Washington Post described, "she was not a member of the clergy."
Indeed, while much is made of the fact that the first panel at the 2/16/12 House Oversight Committee examining an issue vital to women's health was all-male, few have taken note that it was also all-clergy. In opening the hearing, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced: "Today, the committee will hear testimony from leaders of different faiths."
Not only did the right-wing GOP House leaders fail to so much as recognize Fluke's right to be heard, but, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (see video embedded in above-linked Washington Post article), they also refused to permit House Democrats to use the House Recording Studio as part of an effort to try and prevent the public from seeing and hearing Fluke's testimony at all. Instead, Pelosi and the Democrats of the Democratic Steering Committee were forced to hold a separate, unofficial "forum", in order to hear Fluke's testimony.
The video of Fluke's opening statement, the testimony that Republicans sought to prevent from being heard at all, is now posted below.
But it is the larger, arguably more disturbing constitutional ramifications of the actions of House Republicans that we'd like to take a moment to highlight on, as they have been almost entirely overlooked in this unnecessary brouhaha...
I don't have time today to thoroughly debunk all the reprehensible, anti-democratic, anti-American horseshit hurled by this FL State Rep. Dennis Baxley --- the original sponsor of Florida's new voter suppression laws, limiting early voting hours and imposing new big government regulations and huge fines against voter registration workers --- as seen in the following interview on Al Sharpton's Politics Nation show on MSNBC this week.
Fortunately, most readers of The BRAD BLOG will be able to smell the bullshit of the smirking, democracy-hating Baxley a mile away even without my point-by-point rebuttal. So I'll just run the video here for now without much comment, as it needs to be seen to be believed.
Near the front of the interview, Baxley admits that there's been no voter fraud problem in FL, and by the end he's charging (without a stitch of evidence, naturally) that the non-partisan League of Women Voters, who have been registering voters in the Sunshine State for some 72 years --- but who have now canceled their registration program for 2012 thanks to the onerous new GOP restrictions and fines on registration workers --- is actually a partisan Democratic organization! Who knew?
My loathing towards those who knowingly undermine American democracy is difficult to contain. So consider my restraint today an undeserved favor to you this afternoon, Mr. Baxley.
One thing I'm happy to see this year at least: MSNBC has been covering the GOP War on Voting --- at least the front-end war, the part in which Republicans are trying to keep millions of legal voters from being able to cast their legal vote at all --- very well this cycle, on many of their shows. Hopefully they'll soon begin covering concerns about the accuracy and transparency of the vote count itself, at least the vote counts of those who find themselves able to cast a vote in 2012, in any case.
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If you'd like more details on the above...Earlier on the same show, Deirdre Macnab, President of the non-partisan LWV Florida, explained to Sharpton why they've been forced to stop their registration program in Florida after 72 years. As they note on their web page where the interview is posted...