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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, August 20, 2017
The 25th for 45?:
'BradCast' 8/18/17
Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris; Plus: BANNON IS OUT and more than 1.5M Chicago voter registration records exposed (again), by nation's largest e-voting vendor...
Fighting for Free Speech For and Against Nazis, Trump, and Israel: 'BradCast' 8/17/17
Guest: Inst. for Policy Studies' Aniqa Raihan; Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
'Green News Report' 8/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump revokes infrastructure protection; July 2017 hottest month ever; Solar eclipse to challenge power grid; PLUS: Nat'l monuments on chopping block in unprecedented review...
Previous GNRs: 8/15/17 - 8/10/17 - Archives...
After C'Ville, Trump's Presser: Is Something Happening Here?: 'BradCast' 8/16/17
Also: Attorney Ernest Canning on IN vote suppression suits; Callers on Trump's support for White Supremacists...
Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana's Wildly Disparate Voting Site Laws
Legal analyst Ernie Canning on suits filed against years-long, blatant voter suppression in Mike Pence's Indiana...
Path to Peace w/ NK? Also: CBO Undercuts Trump Threat: 'BradCast' 8/15/2017
And Trump keeps digging deeper on C'Ville, despite newly revealed FBI, DHS warning of violent RW extremism...
'Green News Report' 8/15/17
Deadly Sierra Leone mudslide; Largest Gulf 'dead zone' ever; 'Super heat waves' on rise; Fossil fuel ind's $5T in subsidies/yr; PLUS: Sea rising faster in Southeast...
Making America Hate Again: From C'Ville to OK to White House: 'BradCast' 8/14/17
Guest: Former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer; Also: U.S., N. Korea remain on edge of World War...
Sunday Toons of the 'Superior Race/Arms Race' Moment
At this rate, between N. Korea, C'ville and climate crisis, it's unclear if America can survive more "greatness", as the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection illustrate...
More Trump Admin Sabotage of ObamaCare Revealed: 'BradCast' 8/11/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: Trump continues NK threats, experts worry, diplomatic solutions remain...
'Fire and Fury': Overblown Bluster or Time for Real Alarm?: 'BradCast' 8/10/17
Guest: VOA's WH House Bureau Chief, 26-yr Asia journo Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in voting rights case; Trump still ignoring MN mosque attack...
'Green News Report' 8/10/17
Fed scientists leak climate report; Admin wants to stay in Paris accord?; EPA finds regs don't hurt economy; PLUS: Obama climate policies save billions...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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...

By Ernest A. Canning on 8/16/2017 10:35am PT  

In two separate federal lawsuits, Common Cause v Marion County Board of Elections (May 2, 2017) and Indiana NAACP v. Lawson (Aug. 9, 2017), both challenging restrictions on voting rights in Indiana, civil rights organizations have sought to block what they describe as unconstitutional Republican schemes that, with "surgical precision", seek to depress the vote in large minority, Democratic-leaning counties while contemporaneously enhancing voter turnout in white, Republican-leaning counties.

The lawsuits entail two sets of laws. One of the lawsuits seeks to block a law that specifically targets Lake County --- and only Lake County --- for precinct consolidation and/or elimination. Lake County sports the state's second largest African-American population and its largest Hispanic population. The other lawsuit challenges a voter suppression scheme that significantly reduces early absentee voting sites for a significant number of African-American (Democratic) voters in Marion County, even while mostly white (Republican) voters in neighboring counties benefit from a significant expansion in the number of available early absentee voting sites.

Both sets of laws, as observed by Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, are part of the still-ongoing Republican response to the 2008 Presidential Election in which Barack Obama narrowly defeated John McCain 49.85% to 48.82% in long-Republican Indiana. That narrow victory was secured, in part, because, in the two populous counties that are the subject of these lawsuits, Lake and Marion, Obama received 66.7% and 63.8% of the vote totals, respectively.

That was a bridge too far for many Republican officials in the Hoosier State...

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




The Peach State faces yet another contested election following more than a decade of election failures, vulnerabilities and repeated warnings...
UPDATE: Georgia will strip Kennesaw State Univ. of its election system programming and testing responsibilities...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/14/2017 8:38am PT  

"I worry that what we have here in Georgia is the Titanic Effect," Georgia Tech Computer Scientist Richard DeMillo observed, regarding the myriad security issues revealed during the course of last month's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

"Georgia officials are convinced the state's election system cannot be breached. Shades of the 'unsinkable ship'. They have neglected to give us life boats...a fail-safe system designed so that in case of a catastrophe Georgia voters can easily verify that reported vote totals match voter intent. It is the sort of common-sense approach that first-year engineering students learn. Other states have that capability. Inexplicably, Georgia does not," DeMillo said in a statement quoted in support of a legal challenge filed contesting the 100% unverifiable results of the June 20 contest.

The computer scientist's concerns are hardly the first expressed about Georgia's absurd voting system. In fact, they cap well over a decade of chilling revelations, shocking vulnerabilities and dire warnings issued from the community of experts who have examined the Peach State's voting system, including a number of those who installed it in the first place back in 2002.

For election integrity advocates, the allegations set forth in the July 3 complaint (Curling II) --- filed by the Coalition for Good Governance and a multi-partisan (Republican, Democratic and Constitution Parties) group of electors --- should be enough to make their hair stand on end. That's especially true as it relates to official intransigence and even outright hostility towards computer scientists and researchers who revealed critical vulnerabilities within the state's 100% unverifiable and Orwellian-named Diebold "AccuVote" TS touch-screen voting and tabulation system.

Curling I involved an earlier unsuccessful effort, filed just prior to the election, to secure a temporary restraining order that would have compelled Georgia to use paper ballots during what had become the most expensive U.S. House race in American history.

With the exception of a relatively small number of verifiable paper absentee ballots, Georgia 6th Congressional District electors were forced to cast their votes into electronic black holes. The result: an "election" in which Republican Karen Handel reportedly defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 51.9% to 48.1%, despite almost all pre-election polls predicting an Ossof win, with some surveys finding the Democrat with a 7 point lead over his Republican opponent. The touch-screen "victory" for Handel, the state's former Secretary of State, is now being contested in Curling II precisely because the reported results were produced by a wildly vulnerable and 100% unverifiable e-vote tabulation system.

As Brad Friedman accurately reported in his first BradCast following Election Day, the results "may be absolutely right or completely wrong...Nobody knows for certain either way...[What we] do know, according to the state's reported results, [is] that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots"...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/10/2017 8:35am PT  

[This article was supposed to run last week, just after this video was released. But, alas, I dropped the ball in publishing it for Ernie before leaving town for the week! My apologies. But, of course, it's never too late to call out the "terrorist enabling" NRA. So, here ya go. - Brad]

By way of this deeply troubling recruitment video, Dana Loesch, the unhinged spokeswoman for the "terrorist enabling" National Rifle Association (NRA), may have crossed the line between protected free speech and unlawful incitement aimed at producing imminent violence against the many non-violent demonstrators who've taken to the streets as part of the resistance to the Donald Trump/GOP fascist-like, anti-egalitarian agenda.

In the video, Loesch, a former Breitbart "News" editor, who once equated feminism with advocacy for "female genocide," attempts to erect a picture of an ominous, violent leftist threat to "law abiding citizens," by which she means mostly white, often well-armed NRA card-carrying Trump supporters...

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After concerns of a 'hacked' 2016 Presidential race and an unverifiable 'loss' in Georgia that again defied pre-election polling, Dems, the media and the American people are still missing the verifiable facts...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/26/2017 10:08am PT  

There are several basic election integrity truths that have escaped the attention of most Americans, even as they confront the scope of alleged Russian cyber intrusions into America's disparately run, local elections systems.

[Despite repeated assurances from U.S. officials that hackers didn't go so far as to alter vote counts, Department of Homeland Security officials concede that they failed to run an audit in order to determine whether the 2016 vote count had been manipulated by anyone, be they hackers, foreign or domestic, from Russia or anywhere else, or by election insiders whose direct access could facilitate a malicious, or even accidental, manipulation of vote totals. The mainstream U.S. media has also raised concerns that the United States, under the Donald Trump administration, is not doing enough to prevent hacking or manipulation of the 2018 and 2020 elections.]

The first basic election integrity truth is that, as The BRAD BLOG reported in 2009, following a stark presentation by a U.S. intelligence officer to the nation's only federal agency devoted to overseeing the use of electronic voting and tabulation systems, all electronically stored and/or processed data --- registration records, poll books, ballot definition scripts and, most importantly, computerized vote tabulators --- are vulnerable to malicious cyber intrusions.

"I follow the vote," CIA cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall warned members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in a 2009 field hearing in Florida. "And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that’s an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to…make bad things happen."

The second basic truth is that election system vulnerability is not confined only to malicious hackers, who may or may not be Russian. All electronic vote tabulation systems are vulnerable to election insider manipulation.

The third is that paper registration forms, poll books and hand-marked paper ballots are not, in and of themselves, vulnerable to electronic manipulation. (Paper ballots, of course, are not entirely risk free. Even before the advent of e-voting, there had been cases of ballot box stuffing. But it was the advent of central computerized/electronic tabulation that created a vulnerability to wholesale electoral theft by a "conspiracy" as large as one person, with little possibility of detection.)

The fourth is that the only way to ensure a transparent and verifiable count, one that can be overseen and confirmed the public, is to deploy what Brad Friedman aptly describes as "Democracy's Gold Standard": hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted with the verifiable results posted at each precinct on Election Night before ballots are moved to any other location.

The fifth is that the core issue in election integrity is not whether a given result is or is not the product of election fraud. Instead, as recently observed by Austria's Supreme Court, the issue is whether election officials have complied with procedures that are designed to ensure the integrity of a transparent and verifiable result.

Unfortunately, these basic democracy-sustaining truths, which have been judicially recognized in other nations, have been largely ignored by the U.S. mainstream media, the political leadership of both major U.S. political parties, and, critically, by our courts --- a point that truly came into focus with respect to the recent U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District...

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But justice may soon be at hand due to a governmental realignment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/15/2017 10:05am PT  

In his April 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lamented: "Justice too long delayed is justice denied". No case underscores the civil rights icon's assertion better than the years long fight by North Carolina Republicans to keep unlawfully gerrymandered state and Congressional district maps in place, long after they've been repeatedly found by courts to be in violation of the law and the Constitution.

The tortured history of Covington v. North Carolina --- a "successful" challenge to the illegal racial gerrymandering of 28 of North Carolina's state House and Senate Districts --- exposes the injustice occasioned by Republican tactical delays. It is a strategy that, thanks to those racial gerrymanders, permitted Tar Heel State Republicans to retain overwhelming majorities in the legislature following last November's General Election –- 34-16 in the state Senate and 74-45 in the House --- even though, in the very same statewide election Democrats Roy Cooper and Joshua Stein were respectively elected governor and attorney general.

But a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court should finally result in new maps, and Special Elections under them, in the Tar Heel State, where the maps have been in place for elections since 2012. Recent legal precedent and a political realignment are on the side of those seeking to force the state to finally carry out those new elections in 2017, rather than waiting for the 2018 mid-terms...

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Long road, many questions, battles lie ahead...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/5/2017 10:59am PT  

Late last week, the California state Senate adopted a proposal for a state-run, single-payer, "Medicare for All" style healthcare system. That's just the latest encouraging news to suggest that, on the surface, single-payer healthcare advocates have the wind at their sails in the Golden State.

Buoyed by a public opinion poll that showed that 70% of Californians support SB-562 ("The Health California Act") --- the state Senate measure that aspires to provide publicly-funded quality healthcare to all California residents --- and a newly released Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) Study, which concluded that the measure would save California $37.5 billion in annual healthcare expenditures while covering millions of additional residents, single-payer advocates have encountered smooth sailing in the California State Senate. Last Thursday, that legislative body approved the bill by a 23-14 vote with three members not voting.

The measure now moves to the state Assembly, and irrespective of whether it is similarly approved there, the good ship Single-Payer is about to encounter choppy waters and a stiff headwind.

SB-562's authors, Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Baldwin Park) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), deferred questions about the new taxes needed to fully fund their proposed, state-run single-payer healthcare system. A separate tax measure would have to be approved by a 2/3 vote in both Houses of the California legislature. Democrats hold super majorities in each chamber. However, 2/3 passage is by no means a given.

The landmark single-payer initiative and tax measure to fund it would then have to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jerry "Budget Miser" Brown, who has already expressed concerns about how a single-payer system could be financed.

Moreover, as evidenced in recent days, the otherwise popular measure also faces a hostile corporate-owned media...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/22/2017 9:35am PT  

Faced with his own inept inability to control the antics of his American prisoners, the only defense for bumbling Luftwaffe POW camp guard Sergeant Schultz was to pretend he had no knowledge of events. Confronted with what he saw and was told in this classic Hogan's Heroes clip, Schultz proclaims: "I see nothing! I was not here! I did not even get up this morning!"

Last Thursday, we witnessed a version of the Sergeant Schultz defense. But it wasn't for laughs. It came from a source said to be "close to the [Trump] administration". According to an NBC News report (later echoed by a number of other outlets), the source claimed that "Vice President Mike Pence has been kept in the dark about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's alleged wrongdoing"...

Earlier this year, Pence said he was not made aware of Flynn's discussions with Russian officials until 15 days after Trump and the White House were notified.

The source close to the administration, who requested anonymity as the White House denies the story, is now saying that Pence and his team were not made aware of any investigation relating to Flynn's work as a foreign agent for Turkey.

"It's also a fact that if [Flynn] told [Trump Transition attorney, now White House Chief Counsel, Don] McGahn that during the transition, it's also a fact that not only was Pence not made aware of that, no one around Pence was as well," the source said. "And that's an egregious error — and it has to be intentional. It's either malpractice or intentional, and either are unacceptable."

The source's claims are offered despite the fact that Flynn himself also served as one of Pence's vice-chairs on the Presidential transition.

The NBC report offers a plausible sounding explanation for Pence's seeming ability to be everywhere, yet know absolutely nothing about what happened, particularly given the number of occasions where Trump has swiftly thrown those defending his actions under the bus: e.g., when, one day after Pence said the President had simply complied with Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein's "recommendation" when he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, Trump acknowledged he'd made the decision to fire Comey before Rosenstein wrote the memo.

But there are a multitude of reasons why the "I know nothing!" defense doesn't really wash, particularly given Pence's penchant to quietly lie with a straight face, even when directly confronted by contradictory information and instances in which Pence has denied all knowledge of otherwise broadly publicized information...

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Critical vulnerabilities remain on state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/5/2017 12:54pm PT  

Two things occurred last Thursday that should bolster the chances of Democrat Jon Ossoff in the June 20, 2017 runoff special election for the U.S. House in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. One thing --- one big thing --- remains in place that could help to derail those prospects.

The first helpful item entails the removal of an obstacle to casting a vote at all in the upcoming election, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge yesterday. The court has effectively blocked an effort by Georgia election officials to prevent any otherwise eligible voter in the 6th District who had not been registered prior to March 20, 2017 from casting a vote in the run-off election between Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

A Georgia statute treats a run-off election as a "continuation" of a primary election. Thus, Georgia election officials had asserted that, under state law, only those timely registered before the April 18 primary election could vote in the run-off. The GA State Conference of the NAACP and other voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit alleging that the state's restriction on new voter registrations is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which mandates that any qualified voter who submits a valid registration form more than 30 days prior to a federal election must be allowed to vote.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr., a George W. Bush appointee, agreed with the NAACP plaintiffs. On Thursday he issued a Temporary Restraining Order mandating the state "extend the voter-registration deadline for the June 20, 2017 special runoff election to no earlier than May 21." Any "eligible resident" who has "registered to vote" on or before that date is entitled to cast a ballot "that will count in the June 20 special runoff election."

Prior to the ruling, Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp had contended that only voters registered by March 20th would be eligible to vote in the run-off election, three months later(!), on June 20.

The second issue that could enhance the Democrat's chances for filling the U.S. House vacancy in an otherwise Republican-leaning district --- a vacancy created when Rep. Tom Price became Donald Trump's Sec. of Health and Human Services --- is related to yesterday's narrow passage in the U.S. House of the so-called "American Health Care Act" (AHCA, or what many have referred to as #wealthcare, since the legislation includes, among other things, a massive tax cut for the top 2% at the expense of healthcare coverage and other benefits for the poor and middle class).

A Congressional Budge Office scoring predicted that the original version of the ACHA would result in the loss of health care coverage for 24 million Americans over the next 10 years. Not surprisingly, the Ryan/Trump wealthcare initiative has proved immensely unpopular according to a Quinnipiac poll in March, finding just 17% of Americans support the measure. The Center for American Progress described the amended version of the bill, that was rammed through the House yesterday without an updated CBO score, as far worse than the original bill. It is expected not only to "explode premiums," they find, but also allow states to negate ObamaCare's most popular feature --- the prohibition on health insurance companies discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions.

While both of these factors could serve to aid Ossoff's chances in June, there's no escaping the fact that the runoff will be conducted using the same 100% unverifiable, easily-manipulated, oft-failed Diebold touch-screen voting system that may have cost him an outright win on April 18...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/26/2017 12:09pm PT  

I couldn't help but burst out laughing while reading White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's description of U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick's late Tuesday decision partially blocking a Presidential Executive Order on funding to so-called "sanctuary cities" as an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge."

(All federal judges are nominated by a President and confirmed by the Senate. None are "elected.")

Not to be outdone by his Press Secretary, Trump via Twitter described the ruling to enjoin the enforcement provision of his January 25 Executive Order as "ridiculous."

In that Executive Order, Trump threatened to withhold and/or recapture all federal funds and grants from any local jurisdiction that did not assist the federal government in its newly aggressive efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.

Trump vowed to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

Hilarious!

In the forty (40) years that have passed since I was first admitted to the California State Bar, I can scarcely recall a more one-sided "contested" case --- one in which I actually felt sorry for the Justice Department attorney who had been assigned to defend this indefensible Executive Order...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/14/2017 9:05am PT  


"Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind" - President John F. Kennedy

By recklessly following up on his unconstitutional decision to commit an act of war (Syrian missile strike) with a reckless exercise in nuclear brinksmanship (North Korea), President Donald J. Trump has brought us to the edge of a precipice.

Unless Congress, currently on an 18-day holiday recess, immediately acts to Censure him for his dangerous usurpations of its exclusive Constitutional power to decide whether we are at war or at peace, our nation, indeed the world, could be plunged into a nuclear abyss...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/3/2017 8:35am PT  

In August of 1822, James Madison, one of this nation's Founding Fathers, famously argued: "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

On the other hand, on January 6, 2017, a joint Intelligence Community Report ("IC Report"), entitled "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" explained: "The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future."

There is a core conflict seen in those two quotes. What we see proclaimed in the IC Report is a direct collision between self-proclaimed national security interests and the public's right to know.

There is no question that Congress has both the Constitutional right and obligation to investigate "Russia-gate". It does so in accordance with its exceedingly broad powers of oversight that include the ability to "provide new statutory controls over the executive," executive accountability and to exercise its exclusive power of impeachment.

It is really not controversial to suggest, as did The Chicago Tribune, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Adam Schiff (D-CA), that Congressional hearings be conducted either by an independent or select committee. But even if a reasonable level of investigative objectivity and integrity is achieved, the thorny question remains as to the extent to which such hearings, and testimony from witnesses, should be carried out in public.

It is a difficult issue that pits the public's right to know against (a) avoiding disclosure of classified information, and (b) compromising the ability of federal prosecutors to secure criminal convictions in their own parallel investigations...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2017 9:54am PT  

The never before utilized Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (full text posted below) may provide the most efficient lawful means to facilitate a swift end to the madness brought on by the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

The real issue is not whether Donald Trump --- an utterly dishonest raging authoritarian narcissist and "pathological liar" --- should be removed from office. Instead, the focus should be on which of two alternative constitutional means for removing this miscreant from office has the best chance of ultimately succeeding.

Impeachment is a cumbersome process that, assuming the GOP-controlled Congress would permit it, entails lengthy investigative hearings, and the introduction of Articles of Impeachment alleging High Crimes and Misdemeanors --- Articles that must be approved by a majority of the House. This would be followed by a trial in the Senate. Trump would then be removed from office only if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict. Tall orders for both Republican-majority chambers, to say the least.

Throughout the length of those protracted proceedings, Trump would remain in office with access to the nuclear codes.

In his recent New York Times op-ed, Nicholas Kristof, quoting Harvard's renowned Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe, opined that the 25th Amendment offered a viable means for removing Trump from office. Per the language of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump's own cabinet transmitted to the leaders of the House and Senate "their written declaration that [Trump] is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President." The burden would then shift to Trump to submit "his written declaration that no inability exists." If he submits a declaration contending that he is able to carry out the duties of his office, Trump would not be permanently removed unless two-thirds of both Houses of Congress upheld the Vice President's declaration.

Irrespective of the legal bases for impeachment --- such as Trump's corrupt and remarkably overt violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses --- it is unlikely that a GOP-controlled Congress would be willing to entertain, let alone vote to impeach a Republican President. This would especially be true if, as is likely, the Articles of Impeachment were introduced by Democratic members of the House.

By contrast, as observed by Lawrence O'Donnell during a Feb. 20 airing of The Last Word (see video below) --- if successfully invoked, the 25th Amendment would pit Republicans against Republicans: to wit, Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet against Trump and a minority of the cabinet. If the chaos that is the Trump administration continues and potentially threatens GOP majority rule in either or both houses of Congress in 2018, there's a distinct possibility that, as predicted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the dynamics within the GOP could undergo a significant change. If he could overcome loyalty to the man who named him as his running mate, Pence and a majority of the cabinet could legally initiate a swift end to the Trump presidency.

That's a lot of "ifs"...and even if they all came to pass, there is more to think about regarding this path...

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Court loses sight of fundamental right to verifiably accurate count...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/10/2016 3:04pm PT  

If allowed to stand, the reasoning behind U.S. District Court Judge Mark A. Goldsmith's December 7, 2016 decision [PDF] in Stein v. Thomas to halt the Michigan presidential "recount" is flawed, at best. Issued, ironically enough, on the day we commemorate what President Franklin D. Roosevelt described as "a date which will live in infamy", it is by no means an exaggeration to suggest that Judge Goldsmith's reasoning could inflict greater harm on the very foundations of our constitutional form of democracy than that inflicted by the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The halt to the "recount" came just two days after Judge Goldsmith issued a temporary restraining order ("TRO") directing the MI Canvassing Board to immediately commence the "recount" and one day after a U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal decision, upholding that TRO.

Under that 6th Circuit appeals ruling, Judge Goldsmith was obligated to revisit the issue if "the Michigan courts determine that Plaintiffs' recount is improper for any reason." Separately, on Dec. 6, the Michigan state appellate court ruled that, under MI law, only a candidate who has a reasonable chance of winning has a right to initiate a post-election count. But that state court ruling, by three Republican judges, did not justify Judge Goldsmith's decision to halt a "recount" that had been predicated on Dr. Jill Stein's rights under the U.S. Constitution.

As he acknowledged in his original decision, the Green Party Presidential candidate did not base her federal claim on state law. To the contrary, in his initial finding, Goldsmith held that the Plaintiffs had shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the two-business day waiting period mandated by state law "would likely violate their right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments." Judge Goldsmith, in that first decision, added, "the [federal] right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately" [emphasis added] is not merely "fundamental" but serves as "the bedrock of our Nation."

State law, whether directed at the timing of the recount or to the aggrieved status (standing) of the candidate seeking the count, should not be allowed to infringe upon a fundamental right that every citizen has to a verifiably accurate count of their votes.

The truly damaging aspect of the decision to dissolve the TRO lies not in the question of standing but in Judge Goldsmith's upside-down reasoning as to who should bare the burden of establishing the integrity of the vote. That reasoning is directly at odds with the rulings made in two landmark cases in Germany and Austria, to the effect that the need for election integrity and transparency are paramount in any nation that values democracy...

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




By Ernest A. Canning on 11/3/2016 9:05am PT  

Irrespective of whether a citizen favors or opposes adult recreational marijuana consumption, a "yes" vote on California's Proposition 64, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, is a no-brainer.

The measure would legalize possession and use for adults 21 and older, create a new Bureau of Marijuana Control charged with the regulation and licensing of non-medical marijuana businesses, permit cities and counties to require licenses and restrict the locations of marijuana businesses, and provide for taxation on both cultivation and sales. As is the case with alcohol, there is nothing in the measure that would prevent criminal penalties for driving under the influence.

Setting aside the well-documented history of complicity in the global drug trade both by U.S. covert agencies and by the global banking industry, the plain and simple fact is that prohibition, whether applied to alcohol or to other "narcotics" has, at best, repeatedly proven to be an inordinately expensive abject failure that is destructive of the lives of those who partake of the forbidden fruit and, all too often, has a devastating impact upon their families and finances...

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




Uneven playing field underscores needed media, campaign finance reform...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/31/2016 8:05am PT  

California's Proposition 61, "the Drug Price Standards Initiative", is simple and straightforward. It mandates that any California state agency that provides funding for prescription drugs may not pay more than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

PhRMA, the powerful drug industry lobbying organization, opposes the measure, and is using blatantly dishonest television ads, such as this one featuring Marine Corps Veteran Lamont Duncan, to claim that the measure will increase the price the VA pays for prescription drugs, harming veterans in the bargain...

The ad leads viewers to the same erroneous assumption presented by the state's Legislative Analyst (emphasis added) --- that "drug manufacturers might choose to raise VA drug prices" in response to passage of Prop 61. Worse, the ad erroneously suggests that veterans themselves could be forced into higher co-pays.

As Senator Bernie Sanders, the former chairman of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Committee, noted in an LA Times op-ed in support of Prop 61, "pharmaceutical companies cannot unilaterally raise the price of drugs it sells to the VA." Those prices, he explains, are fixed by federal law.

Conservative economist Greg D'Angelo, from Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies confirms Sanders point in this explanation published some years ago: "The VA's discounts are mandated by [federal] law." Drug manufacturers lack the power to so much as "negotiate" a higher VA price, according to D'Angelo, let alone unilaterally raise them. And, as Sanders adds, "veterans' drug co-payments are fixed and do not rise even if drug prices go up." In cases where their treatment is for a service-connected condition, veterans "pay no out of pocket costs whatsoever for prescription drugs," the Senator notes.

While Prop 61 is subject to valid concerns, as explained below, under existing federal law, a betrayal of the right for affordable pharmaceuticals to Veterans is not one of them...

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




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