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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, December 9, 2018
Sunday 'Painted Into a Corner' Toons
In this week's toon collection, 'PDiddie' offers a few fine illustrations of what happens as a party and its President swirl toward utter collapse...
Trump Appointment Spree; Cohen 'Deserves' Prison Time: 'BradCast' 12/7/18
Guest-Host Angie Coiro with a slew of Mueller news and new Trump noms; Revisiting the Bush Legacy; Huawei as spy?; And guest Lara Bazelon on justice for the wrongly imprisoned...
Dem Unconcedes NC-9 U.S. House Race Tainted by GOP Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/6/18
GOP knew about NC fraud, ignored it; Also: GOP election fraud in NY; 82 Walker noms approved in WI lame duck; Lame duck 'GOP smash and grab' in MI...
'Green News Report' 12/6/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Global carbon emissions on the rise again; France suspends fuel tax hikes; Greenland ice melt in overdrive; PLUS: World's largest shipping co. targets 100% zero emissions...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/18 - 11/29/18 - Archives...
GOP Death Throes?: Govt by Chaos, Elections by Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/5/18
Trump tariff idiocy; Runoff results and contest in GA; Good news in AR; More on NC-9's GOP election fraud scandal; WI Repubs muscle through their brazen power grab...
GOP Lame Duck Power Grabs in NC, MI and Especially WI: 'BradCast' 12/4/18
Guest: OneWisconsinNow's Analiese Eicher; Also: Updates on GOP absentee ballot election fraud probe in NC-9 U.S. House race...
'Green News Report' 12/4/18
Trump isolates US at G20; UN climate summit begins w/ a warning in Poland's coal country; PLUS: The environmental legacy of President George H.W. Bush...
In Wake of Bush's Death, a Thousand Points of GOP Corruption: 'BradCast' 12/3/18
Assessing 41's legacy; Also: AK House control determined by one vote; GA agrees to count 'late' ballots; Criminal record for GOPer in NC-9 fraud case...
Sunday 'Tough Calls' Toons
In fact, none of these are tough calls at all, at this point...as detailed in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Every. Single. Vote. Matters.:
'BradCast' 11/30/18
One vote KY contest; One 'mystery ballot' in AK; GA runoff lawsuit; GOP Election Fraud in NC-9; Also: Pam Vogel on Sinclair's latest abuse of our public airwaves...
'Green News Report' 11/29/18
World not doing enough, U.N. warns; Amazon's new HQ is in flood zone; House Dems introduce price on carbon; PLUS: Australia grapples with fires, heat wave, flooding...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Cites violations of Constitutional First and Fifth Amendment rights
UPDATED: Court temporarily reinstates Acosta press pass citing 'due process' rights...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/14/2018 10:05am PT  

On Tuesday, CNN, along with its Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta, filed a federal complaint alleging President Donald J. Trump and high level White House personnel, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the U.S. Secret Service, violated their First Amendment free press rights to access White House press facilities.

They also allege the Trump administration violated their Fifth Amendment rights to due process when, without notice or a compelling reason for doing so, the White House rescinded Acosta's press credentials and seized his "hard pass" following a contentious November 7 Presidential press conference.

The complaint goes on to charge that the news organization's First Amendment rights were violated a second time on November 9, when Acosta traveled to France to cover the President's visit and to interview French President Emmanuel Macron during the centenary events commemorating the end of World War I. "The Secret Service refused to allow Acosta to attend an allegedly 'open' press event whose attendees included journalists from around the world," according to the CNN complaint. They did so even though "the French government issued credentials to Acosta." (Ironically, as they also note, Trump did not attend the event "due to inclement weather.")

Citing both facts and case law, the CNN complaint sets forth the argument that the President's actions against both Acosta and the news outlet amounted to an unlawful "attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge or dispute the President's point of view". However, that compelling argument, which is now supported by the White House Correspondents' Association, the ACLU and even by Fox "News", may not carry the day at the District Court level given that the case has been assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee...

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Even former Congressman disenfranchised when his ballot was rejected...
UPDATED 11/15/2018: Federal court orders county election boards to provide slightly more than 4,000 voters with an opportunity to cure mismatched rejections by Nov. 17...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/9/2018 4:27pm PT  

On Thursday, Florida Democrats filed a federal lawsuit in which they alleged that the Sunshine State's, county-by-county, subjective signature match procedures for rejecting vote-by-mail (VBM) and provisional ballots are arbitrary, lacking in standards, and, over several election cycles, inconsistently applied so as to have a disparate impact on minority and young voters. This, the complaint alleges, deprives those voters of Equal Protection under the law as mandated by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

As explained by the Democrats' attorney Marc Elias to WLRN Miami:

These laws, when taken together, condition the right to vote of millions of Floridians who vote-by-mail, or wind up voting provisionally, on the untrained opinions of canvassing boards or elections officials as to whether or not signatures match. The problem is that voters in one county are subject to different standards for reviewing signatures than others and there is no uniform standard or even sufficient training for this, and it's highly error prone.

Studies have shown that laypersons conducting signature matching are more likely to reject legitimate signatures as inauthentic than the other way around. This serves as an outright disenfranchisement and burden on the right to vote.

Elias' assertions about the arbitrary and erroneous nature of signature mismatch rejections appeared to be partially born out via a Nov. 9 Tweet published by former Rep. Patrick Murphy, after he learned on Election Day --- too late to remedy the problem --- that even his "absentee ballot wasn't counted due to 'invalid signature' match"...

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In successive rulings, federal court sides with taxpayers and student-victims of predatory secondary 'educational' institutions...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/22/2018 9:35am PT  

Borrowing from President Donald Trump's self-description as the "King of Debt", Forbe's Derek Newton, over the summer, dubbed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as the "Queen of Debt".

DeVos is the billionaire sister of Erik Prince, founder of the murderous private mercenary firm, Blackwater, Inc. Like the President, whose foreign policy decisions are compromised by his conflicting foreign financial interests, DeVos has significant financial interests that conflict with her obligation to serve the public interest as the nation's top education official.

Citing paperwork released by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE), the Center for American Progress notes DeVos "has [substantial] investments in companies that hound students to pay their federal loan debts." Unfortunately, DeVos was not confronted with that blatant conflict-of-interest during her Senate confirmation hearings because, according to the Center, Senators were not given access to the OGE records until after her confirmation process was completed.

In his August 2018 article in Forbes, Newton bestowed the "Queen of Debt" title after the Secretary of Education pursued policies that facilitated a rise in the level of U.S. student debt to an alarming $1.5 trillion.

One of the principle means utilized by the conflicted DeVos to inflate her own wealth, while burying an entire generation of defrauded students in insurmountable debt, was to indefinitely postpone the "Borrower Defense Regulations" that had been adopted in 2016 by the Department of Education under President Obama. Those regulations were supposed to have gone into effect in July 2017.

The "Borrower Defense Regulations" were enacted in the wake of the collapse of privately-held, for-profit colleges and universities --- worthless diploma mills, like the now defunct Corinthian Colleges and the infamously fraudulent Trump University. The scam artists of those private, ostensibly "educational" institutions rake-in exorbitant tuitions paid via direct loans their students are encouraged to obtain from the federal government. Unable to secure employment after graduating with their worthless diplomas from the disreputable private institutions, the students are left facing insurmountable debt, as taxpayers pick up the tab to cover the loans those former students are unable to pay back.

According to an October 28, 2016 Department of Education formal announcement, the Obama-era regulations were expressly designed to protect students and taxpayers from predatory institutions. The 2016 regulations included provisions for debt relief for victimized students and the elimination of contractual provisions by which predatory private schools compel students to waive their right to class action lawsuits and which force students to submit to private arbitration.

In successive rulings, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss has now sided with defrauded student borrowers and against DeVos and the predatory "educational" institutions she invested in prior to becoming the U.S. Education Secretary --- a position that placed her in charge of overseeing regulations meant to clean up this fraudulent mess...

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




Long overdue re-enfranchisement of former felons and a progressive Democrat, both on the 2018 ballot, could result in a sea change for 2020...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/8/2018 10:41am PT  

Given the pivotal role Florida and its 29 electoral votes have played in recent Presidential elections, November's midterms could prove to be pivotal in the state, and not only for Florida. November 6th, 2018 could prove to be a landmark moment for democracy, helping to determine the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.

The combination of a win by Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum, along with passage of the state's Amendment 4, could be a death knell to right wing voter suppression schemes which have long plagued the Sunshine State.

Amendment 4 is a ballot measure "designed to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completing of their sentences including prison, parole and probation". As observed by the Intercept's Rachel Cohen, Florida's "draconian" felony disenfranchisement law --- "passed in 1868, after an unsuccessful attempt by Florida and other [former Confederate] states to reject the 15th amendment" --- has served to disenfranchise "more than 20% of otherwise eligible black voters in Florida."

If adopted by voters next month, the new Constitutional measure would automatically "restore voting rights to an estimated 1.5 million Floridians who have fully completed sentences," Cohen reports. If added to the 13 million currently registered Floridian voters, Amendment 4 could potentially increase total voter rolls by more than 10%.

Only 3% of African-Americans identify themselves as Republicans. Thus, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to calculate the potential impact of increasing, by 20%, the number of black Florida voters who would be eligible to vote in 2020.

But, felony convictions are not the only means by which Republicans have sought to suppress turnout of the "wrong" voters over the past two decades during which the GOP has occupied the Governor's mansion and exercised the Chief Executive's right to appoint Florida's Secretaries of State...

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Good government groups file 'emergency petition' to stop him
UPDATE: FL Supreme Court finds Scott exceeded his authoriry, grants emergency petition...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/24/2018 9:35am PT  

The U.S. Supreme Court is not the only court where Republicans appear more than willing to steal seats that don't belong to them.

Rick Scott, Florida's Governor and Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, must not have much confidence in his own party holding onto control of the state's Executive Mansion after the November elections. He's now busy working to swipe the next Governor's power to make judicial appointments to the Sunshine State's Supreme Court, no matter who that Governor may be.

The terms of three of Florida's seven state Supreme Court Justices, Barbara J. Pariente, Peggy A. Quince, and R. Fred Lewis --- all originally appointed by Democrats, leaving four GOP-appointed Justices on the bench --- will end on January 8, 2019. Scott's term in office ends two days earlier, at midnight, on January 6, 2019. Nonetheless, he wants control of who will fill those upcoming vacancies, even after he has left office.

On Sept. 11 this year, Scott directed the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission (FSC JNC) to make its nominations to fill the prospective vacancies by November 10, 2018. The Commission has set an October 8 deadline for the filing of applications by prospective nominees.

That, even after Scott's own concession, in an earlier FL Supreme Court proceeding, that a governor's power to fill a judicial vacancy does not arise until after the vacancy occurs. The Governor's order also flatly defies the Florida electorate which, in 2014, rejected a GOP ballot initiative that would have amended the Florida constitution to permit outgoing governors to fill prospective vacancies before they actually occur.

The League of Women Voters, along with Common Cause, have now filed an emergency petition [PDF] with the Florida Supreme Court, seeking to prevent Scott from usurping his successor's power to fill prospective vacancies on the court.

While Scott is in a very tight "toss up" race for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, his state directive hints at what may be an attempt to stave off the potential impact of a possible blue wave at the polls this year. In Florida, that could result in Scott's party losing control of executive power in Tallahassee. Recent polling suggests a significant prospect that Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum could become the next Governor of Florida. Gillum currently leads Republican Ron Desantis, according to the RealClearPolitics average by 3.4% in polls taken between August 29 and September 16.

* * *

UPDATE 10/15/18: The Florida Supreme Court issued an order [PDF] in which it granted the emergency writ. It expressly ruled that the next governor will have the sole authority to fill the vacancies and that Gov. Scott "exceeded his authority by directing the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission to fill these vacancies by November 10, 2018."

When they go to the polls on November 6, Florida voters will not only decide who will serve as their next governor. They will also indirectly determine who will be nominated to serve next three FL Supreme Court Justices.

More from Mark Joseph Stern, including a few caveats, here...

* * *
Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968) and a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. He has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing




Recognizing the 'gravity and importance' of right to an accurate count, court directs parties in lawsuit to focus on 'practical realities' of converting to hand-marked paper ballot system within 3 months...
UPDATE: Court schedules hearing for Sept. 17; rejects defense motions to dismiss...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2018 10:46am PT  

Plaintiffs in a Georgia lawsuit seeking to force the state to move to a hand-marked paper ballot system in time for this year's midterm elections, promise to produce expert testimony to the court, demonstrating that "Georgia's voting system is a catastrophically open invitation to malicious actors intent on disrupting our democracy."

The Coalition for Good Governance and a group of multi-partisan individual plaintiffs filed a motion [PDF] on July 31, seeking a preliminary injunction in the federal case, to prevent Georgia from conducting this year's midterms on the state's notorious Diebold AccuVote TS (touchscreen) Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. Instead, plaintiffs seek an order that Georgia's election officials utilize, for in-person voting, the same already-certified, Diebold paper ballot-based optical-scan system currently used for tabulation of the Peach State's absentee ballots.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg ordered an expedited briefing schedule on plaintiffs' motion to compel the State of Georgia to adopt this simple method for conducting a verifiable paper ballot election on November 6, 2018.

The plaintiffs cite a massive body of scientific evidence finding the 100% unverifiable Diebold touchscreen systems as essentially electronic black holes, prone to unintended systemic failures and vulnerable to all manner of undetectable malicious manipulation by insiders or anyone else who acquires minimal access to the system or any of its machines. They also point to evidence that the statewide system was previously compromised via the Internet. Plaintiffs argue the 16-year old system deprives the electorate of their constitutional right not only to cast a vote but to have their vote accurately counted.

Recognizing "the gravity and importance of the constitutional issues," the court directed the parties (principally GA Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state's GOP nominee for governor), as well as the plaintiffs to address "the practical realities surrounding implementation of the requested relief in the next one to three months." Judge Totenberg asks defendants to address the "practical realities" issue in a response by August 14. Plaintiffs' reply is then due by August 20.

The question before the court is monumental and could help set a precedent across the country in other jurisdictions where voters are forced to use unverifiable touchscreens on Election Day, rather than a paper ballot system that is already available via the absentee systems used in all 50 states.

As we documented last year, in "Why Do Georgia Election Officials Insist on 100% Unverifiable Elections?", if the court issues the preliminary injunction, November 6, 2018 would mark the first time in more than a decade and a half that the State of Georgia will have held an election in which it will be possible for human beings to verify or refute the accuracy of an electronic vote tally, thanks to the use of hand-marked paper ballots...

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A compromised Russian asset, even if the President of the United States, cannot be guilty of treason unless we are 'at war' with Russia...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/23/2018 10:47am PT  

Of all of the reactions to the July 16 joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland in which Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump responded to reporters' questions, perhaps the harshest assessment came in a Tweet by former CIA Director John Brennan.

Trump's "performance", Brennan contended, "rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous."

Brennan may have been uniquely positioned to offer that assessment since he was amongst the intelligence officials, who, on Jan. 6, 2017, showed President-Elect Trump emails and texts between high-level members of Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, that purportedly establish that Putin had personally ordered the cyberattack on the 2016 election.

Various half-hearted walk-backs aside, Trump's continued refusal to accept that Putin personally ordered Russia's alleged cyberattacks on the 2016 election and denial that any such attacks might have even taken place, is at odds with (a) the bipartisan conclusions offered by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee; (c) an extraordinarily detailed, 37-page speaking indictment in February, setting forth how 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies allegedly carried out an illegal foreign influence campaign, and (d) the more recent, 29-page, July 13 indictment filed against 12 members of the GRU, laying out the dates and specific manner in which named individuals are said to have carried out cyberattacks on the DNC, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair and many others.

The July 13 indictment also details the manner in which Special Counsel investigators say emails --- purloined information --- from several of those attacks were weaponized for release during the campaign and that, for the first time, the GRU had targeted Clinton's "personal office" emails on the very same day that candidate Trump publicly called for Russia to find her "missing" emails during a July 27, 2016 campaign rally.

Ironically, as observed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Trump's decision to cast aside the unanimous conclusions of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement after the Helsinki summit was promptly followed by a "Perry Mason moment" when Putin was questioned by Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason at the joint press conference of the two Presidents:

Mason: "Did you want President Trump to win the election, and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?"

Putin: "Yes, I did. Yes, I did."

Early-on, as we reported last February, after accepting an assignment to conduct a human-sourced intelligence investigation into Trump's ties to Russia, Christopher Steele, a former British MI-6 intelligence officer, informed Glenn Simpson of research firm Fusion GPS that he, Steele, had a professional responsibility to report his findings to the FBI. He explained his reasoning at the time. Steele believed he'd uncovered a "crime in progress" and that there was a chilling prospect that the man who might become the 45th President of the United States was and is a compromised Russian asset.

Hillary Clinton appeared to share Steele's concern. During a debate, she not only described Trump as "Putin's puppet," but also presciently added: "You encouraged espionage against our people, sign up for his wish list: break up NATO, do whatever he wants."

The very notion that a Commander-in-Chief could be a compromised foreign asset is so unprecedented that it is difficult to comprehend. Just think how history would have turned out if it had been George Washington instead of General Benedict Arnold who had committed treason.

Yet, the factors that suggest Trump is indeed compromised include, but are not limited to, (a) the retention of Michael Flynn for 18 days after Acting AG Sally Yates warned the White House that the DOJ believed Flynn was a compromised Russia asset, firing him only after Flynn was publicly exposed by the Washington Post; (b) the disclosure of highly classified information to Russia's ambassador during an Oval Office meeting; (c) the continuing refusal to impose Congressionally enacted sanctions against Russia --- a refusal that violates the President's duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed --- and (d) Trump's performance at and after the Helsinki Summit.

If Trump is, indeed, a compromised Russian asset, it would represent a monstrous betrayal, a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and grounds for his removal from office. But, as Brad Friedman correctly observed during a July 16 BradCast, the question as to whether that betrayal amounts to "treason" entails a difficult, unsettled and far murkier legal issue as to whether the U.S. and Russia are at war...

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If Gina Haspel, Trump's nominee to lead CIA, were subjected to the same standards that were applied by the Allies after WWII to those who tortured my father, she would now be languishing in prison...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/2/2018 12:36pm PT  

Three years ago, in "Torture: A War Crime Then And Now", I described the legal principles that led to a conviction and life sentences of those who were responsible for my father's torture during WWII. I argued that, if applied now, the architects of the Bush/Cheney torture regime would be languishing in prison.

While it is troubling that none of those individuals were prosecuted for war crimes, it is beyond disturbing that President Donald J. Trump has seen fit to nominate Gina Haspel, the current Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to be the CIA's next chief.

Given that Haspel not only oversaw torture at a CIA "black site" in Thailand but was also later involved in the destruction of videotaped evidence of CIA torture, such as the water-boarding of Abu Zubaydah 83 times in a single month, it seems appropriate to revisit several segments of that previous article, which had been initially published in response to a long, very well researched U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on U.S. torture...

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An entire new decade of government control hangs in the balance...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/26/2018 11:23am PT  

Don't get me wrong. The bold move by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in adopting a Congressional map that, according to an analysis cited by the Wall Street Journal, could see PA Democrats picking up as many as six Congressional House seats now held by Republicans, bodes well for those of us who value small "d" democracy and the rule of law.

So does the recent mind-boggling 85-point swing from "red to blue" in Kentucky, where Democrat Linda Belcher, in a Special Election, defeated her Republican opponent by 36 points in a state House district that Donald Trump carried by 49 points in 2016.

There are multiple indices of a public revulsion in response to Republican overreach that is much greater than that displayed in 2008 when Democrats rode a "Blue Wave" to victories that placed them in control of the White House, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

Last year, polls revealed as little as 12% support amongst the American electorate for Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Another poll revealed that only 24% of Americans supported the GOP tax cut measure. (Though more recent polling suggests it's growing in popularity.) This year, a Quinnipiac poll, taken in the wake of the massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school, suggests that 2/3 of Americans have finally lost their patience with NRA-funded Republicans and their feckless "thoughts and prayers".

These surveys suggest a likelihood that Democrats in 2018 can recapture a majority in the U.S. House and potentially even the U.S. Senate --- a result that is critical to fending off the threat to democracy, political and economic equality and the rule of law now posed by the Trump/GOP oligarchic/kleptocratic agenda.

But a number of recent court rulings on extreme partisan gerrymandering reveal that the 2020 election will ultimately be of far greater significance than 2018, and not simply because it will be a Presidential election year…

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Separating fact from defamatory Republican myth about the 'Steele Dossier' and Fusion GPS research...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/12/2018 10:38am PT  

The significance of the previously concealed transcripts of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's unclassified Congressional testimony far exceeds the narrow, albeit accurate, observation that the transcripts blew a huge hole in one of numerous conspiracy theories about the so-called "Steele Dossier" floated by the President, his Republican allies in Congress and by right-wing propaganda outlets such as Fox "News".

Contrary to earlier GOP spin, the FBI initiated its Trump/Russia investigation before the Bureau was first contacted by Christopher Steele, the former British MI-6 intelligence agent and author of the 16 field memos collectively known as the "Steele Dossier".

Indeed, even Republicans now concede that point, as detailed by the feckless Nunes memo, which notes that the Trump/Russia probe was initially triggered by the loose lips of Trump campaign foreign policy aide, George Papadopoulos.

That timing issue, however, is but a tip of the iceberg.

We now know why Congressional Republicans sought for so long to keep the Simpson transcripts under wraps. They had hoped to erect a patently false narrative that depicted the 'Steele Dossier" as a groundless and politically-motivated exercise in character assassination; a "poison" that so tainted everyone at the FBI who touched it, that it called for, in the words of Jeannie Pirro at Fox "News", a "cleansing" and subsequent jailing of the individuals at the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) who have undertaken to investigate Trump/Russia.

By detailing both the sound investigative techniques applied by Simpson and Steele, and, most importantly, by explaining the real reasons why Steele reported his disturbing, yet entirely unanticipated findings to the FBI, the now public Simpson Congressional transcripts expose the mendacity behind a vicious right-wing assault on the integrity of the Trump/Russia probe and upon our federal law enforcement institutions. In the process, the Simpson transcripts raise even more deeply unsettling questions about the man now serving as the 45th President of the United States...

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What Democrats and their voters must do in 2018, and beyond, to restore a progressive vision to the American political landscape...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/27/2017 11:53am PT  

"We must become the change we wish to see in the world" - Mohandas Gandhi

In a recent article, I explored the question as to whether California Congressional Republicans should now be looked upon as an endangered species.

The article touched upon the declining numbers of registered California Republican voters, the fact that no Republican official has won a race for statewide office since 2006, and the fact that the Trump/GOP oligarchic agenda is so immensely unpopular, especially in "deep blue" California, that no incumbent Congressional Republican seat in the state should be considered a lock as we head into 2018.

But, political transformation cannot be accomplished by simply sitting back and waiting for the GOP to self-destruct, as hard as they seem to be working toward that goal. Instead, the great masses of the American electorate, who's economic survival has been threatened by the greed of the privileged few, must coalesce into an active and overwhelming political force prepared to make 2018 the year of democracy's revenge...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/11/2017 9:25am PT  

Last week, at the behest of the "terrorist-enabling" National Rifle Association (NRA), the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act [PDF] (CCRA or HR-38), by way of a mostly party-line vote, 231 to198.

Under the provisions of this proposed federal statute, anyone who has a right to carry a concealed handgun in their own state --- such as "Wild, Wild West Nevada" where everyone is entitled to open or conceal carry all manner of firearms --- must now be permitted to carry a concealed weapon inside any other state that allows citizens to apply for, but not necessarily receive, a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

According to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., "Someone from Vermont, where there are no permit requirements, could come into New York City with a loaded gun, come to Times Square, go to the subways." This, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill added, "will make New York City less safe and our job as law enforcement much harder."

Organizing for America's Jesse Lehrich similarly observed in a tweet, that where Massachusetts "has a rigorous process to obtain a Concealed Carry permit, Vermont has no requirements. Under HR-38, a guy from MA could just buy a gun in VT & bring it back & override MA laws."

As a practical matter, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for local law enforcement to determine whether an individual sporting a concealed weapon has a permit from another state without first "detaining" them long enough to check their ID. That, as Lehrich notes, could also get them sued, because HR-38 allows someone with a permit from another state to sue law enforcement for simply detaining them.

The legislation, if adopted, would also appear to override states' rights in gun safety conscious states, like California, where both open and concealed carry is generally prohibited, though residents may apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm. The NRA's proposed federal statute would prohibit CA law enforcement from "arresting or detaining" a NV resident with a permit, even though CA residents who could not meet the criteria for a concealed carry license under state law could be prosecuted for the same offense.

Fortunately, if the life-endangering CCRA is enacted into law, there's a good chance it will subsequently be struck down as unconstitutional, even by our current U.S. Supreme Court...

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CA GOP could be left with zero U.S. House Reps after 2018...
UPDATE: 13 of 14 CA Congressional Repubs voted 'yes' on final version of tax bill...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/4/2017 9:41am PT  

A month ago, the notion that every one of California's fourteen (14) Congressional Republicans could be voted out of office in 2018 would have been dismissed as little more than a utopian dream for the Democratic Party.

If we've learned anything, however, from November's "Tidal Wave" off-year elections, which saw a diverse group of Democrats defeating Republicans in deep red districts in Virginia and elsewhere, it's that no Republican seat should be considered an absolute lock in 2018.

That proved to be the case in another special election, a week or so later, when a 26-year-old lesbian, Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman narrowly defeated an incumbent Republican state senator in a "deep red" Oklahoma district that Trump carried in 2016 by nearly 40%.

There are a multitude of factors, some unique to California, that suggest that no Golden State Republican --- not even House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) who trounced his 2016 Democratic opponent by nearly 39 percentage points --- should take their seat in the state's 53-member U.S. House delegation for granted...

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When needed to prevent catastrophe and preserve the rule of law, impeachment is both a necessity and a superior political strategy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/18/2017 2:44pm PT  

Earlier this month, billionaire Democratic Party donor Tom Steyer unleashed his $10 million nationwide "Need To Impeach" campaign (1-minute video ad is posted below). He recently purchased another $10 million in ad time, bringing the campaign total to $20 million.

In targeting Donald Trump for accountability, according to the Los Angeles Times, Steyer "raised the ire of both President Trump and the president's Democratic nemesis, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi."

"The president," the Times reported, "lashed out at Steyer in a tweet, deriding him as 'wacky & totally unhinged'." Trump also appears to have managed to convince Fox "News" to stop running the ad on his favorite channel, which claimed it was banning the spot "due to the strong negative reaction...by our viewers."

Trump's distain for the ad is understandable. Pelosi's opposition, however, while consistent with her historical record, should be regarded as unacceptable.

Avoiding real accountability for this President --- and calling on others in her party to do the same --- is deeply flawed and misguided political calculus, calling to mind the admonition of Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".

In this case, impeachment is needed to preserve the rule of law and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Contrary to Pelosi's calculations, it is both a necessity and good political strategy...

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




The President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria must be added to the list...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/20/2017 11:25am PT  

"This storm [Hurricane Maria] is no longer killing Americans," an exasperated Rachel Maddow exclaimed on MSNBC in mid-October. "The federal government's response to this storm is now killing Americans."

Setting aside Donald Trump's own self-assessment that his government's response was a "10" out of 10 --- that it couldn't have been better --- actual facts reveal otherwise.

Congress need not await the outcome of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in the 2016 election, before determining if President Donald J. Trump should be impeached.

The phrase "high crimes" that appears in the Impeachment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, according to the Constitution Society, "refers to those punishable offenses that only apply to high persons, that is, to public officials, those who, because of their official status, are under special obligations that ordinary persons are not under, and which could not be meaningfully applied or justly punished if committed by ordinary persons."

It is an impeachment threshold that can be found in President Trump's reckless and callous disregard of his special obligation to protect the lives and safety of the 3.6 million American citizens who reside in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico --- a U.S. territory that the President formally recognized, as early as September 21, as the site of a "major disaster"...

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