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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Trumpwreck: The First Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 9/27/16
Smart and, at times, hilarious coverage of the Trump/Clinton Hofstra debate, with journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
'The Most Audacious Political Heist of Our Time':
'BradCast' 9/26/2016
David Daley on 'RatF**ked' and how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
Sunday Toons of the First Debate Moment
The final stretch for the general election begins and so do the Presidential Debates, as documented in PDiddie's collection of the best political toons of the week...
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn of Charlotte Spirituality Center was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. climate pact reaches crucial threshold; White House orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/20/16 - 9/15/16 - Archives...
Caller Debate Questions
for Trump and Clinton:
'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings and protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in new national poll...
Trump Charity Scam; Warren v. Wells CEO; TX Defies Court: 'BradCast' 9/20/16
A whole lotta liars, cheats and scam artists on today's show! (So what else is new?)...
'Green News Report' 9/20/16
AL pipeline spill; Court reprieve for Dakota Access; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
Terror Attacks in NY, NJ, MN; Massive Pipeline Spill in AL: 'BradCast' 9/19/16
What we know (and don't) in both cases. Guest: Alabama Media Group's natural resources reporter Dennis Pillion...
Sunday Toons of the Slightly Queasy Moment
'Slightly'?! ... 'PDiddie' may need a moment to see if it passes...
Trump's (Latest) Trap; Voting Rights Rulings in KS and OH: 'BradCast' 9/16/16
Also: Nat'l polls tied; Trump leads in OH; Sanders warns against 3rd-party voting; Colbert cheers us up...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs on Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods U.S. 3rd costliest disaster...
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 9/12/2016 11:35am PT  

It's not for nothing that North Carolina Republicans are working so hard to keep certain people out of the voting booth this November.

North Carolina's Republican Governor Pat McCrory's chances for re-election took a direct hit after the U.S. Supreme Court recently denied his emergency request to stay a unanimous decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. The 4th Circuit three-judge panel struck down a massive NC GOP voter suppression law that, the court found, had targeted Democratic-leaning African-American voters "with almost surgical precision."

McCrory now faces a reelection bid against a strong Democratic opponent who is not shy about calling the longtime Duke Energy CEO turned Governor to task for an environmental scandal (Ash-gate) that likely ranks second, in recent times, only to the poisoning of Flint, Michigan's drinking water.

McCrory's Ash-gate vulnerability was previously touched upon by Desi Doyen in a February 2015 Green News Report. After covering both a massive spill of 39 tons of toxic coal ash into North Carolina's Dan River in February 2014 and criminal charges leveled by federal prosecutors against Duke Energy for violations of the Clean Water Act in relation to the company's North Carolina projects dating back to 2010, Doyen quoted a report from WRAL-TV Raleigh (emphasis added):

The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who worked at Duke for 29 years, then proposed what environmentalists derided as a "sweetheart deal" under which the Charlotte-based company worth more than $50 billion would have paid fines of just $99,111 to settle violations over toxic groundwater leeching from two of its plants. That agreement, which included no requirement that Duke immediately stop or clean up the pollution, was pulled amid intense criticism after the Dan River spill.

McCrory's Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, has served as NC's elected Attorney General since 2001. He is not only well-positioned to appeal to those whose very right to participate in our democracy had been threatened by McCrory's failed, Jim Crow-like voter suppression scheme, but has also launched a powerful TV ad (video posted below) highlighting the latest revelations concerning whether the McCrory administration may have fraudulently concealed the dangers to public health posed by the presence of Duke Energy's toxic coal ash in their drinking water...

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




Plaintiffs seek emergency relief after state officials use deception, intimidation against voters. Should AG Ken Paxton be held in contempt?...
UPDATE: Court schedules Sept. 19 hearing on plaintiffs' emergency motions...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2016 11:15am PT  

Following a recent court-approved agreement entered between the state of Texas and challengers to its unlawful Photo ID voting restriction, the plaintiffs are now back in court after state Republicans, including the state's Attorney General, appear to be skirting the remedies they had previously agreed to.

Both the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the private plaintiffs in Veasey v. Abbott are now seeking emergency relief to prevent the state from utilizing a deceptive scheme that plaintiffs believe will serve to intimidate and disenfranchise voters despite the court-ordered remedies agreed to by all parties just weeks ago.

The remedies, which promised to restore voting rights to hundreds of thousands of Texans this November, were an encouraging sign for voting rights advocates. The outlook for the Presidential Election was suddenly much brighter for Lone Star State voters. At least until now.

Two separate motions, one filed by the DoJ and the other by the private Veasey plaintiffs, allege that Texas Republicans, including the state's Attorney General Ken Paxton, have resorted to deception and intimidation in what appears to be a bad faith effort to prevent or at least discourage those who lack state-approved photo IDs from casting a regular vote on November 8. Both motions seek emergency relief from the District Court, but stop short of what may be an appropriate request that the AG be ordered to show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt of court...

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




By Ernest A. Canning on 9/5/2016 9:14am PT  

On November 8, every Californian who steps into a voting booth will face a momentous decision --- life or death?

It is an awesome responsibility that cannot be avoided. To fail to cast a vote on one of the two competing death penalty ballot measures is to passively accept a California death penalty system that U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney aptly described as so "dysfunctional" and "irrational" in its application that it "serves no penological purpose" whatsoever.

Of the more than 900 human beings who have received death sentences in the Golden State since 1978, only thirteen (13) have been executed. During that time, California's death penalty system has operated at a cost of $5 billion or $384 million per execution. At present 748 men and women remain on death row, waiting to die.

The first of the two ballot measures, Prop 62, is backed by a wide array of political, educational, religious and civil liberties organizations. It is also supported by well-known politicians like California's Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newson and former President Jimmy Carter. The measure is simple, direct and straightforward. A "yes" vote "repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole." Prop 62 would apply "retroactively to existing death sentences," and it would increase "the portion of a life inmate's wages that may be applied to victim restitution."

The second competing measure, Prop 66, the "Death Penalty Procedure Regulation" initiative, has been offered primarily by the same District Attorneys and law enforcement personnel who are currently responsible for the enforcement of the existing dysfunctional death penalty system. The object of Prop 66, they tell us, is to "mend not end" the death penalty system by severely curtailing the rights of the condemned both with respect the timing of direct appeals and subsequent collateral challenges by way of what are known as petitions for habeas corpus.

Where the death penalty repeal measure (Prop 62) can be readily understood by the average voter, the procedural changes reflected by Prop 66's wonky text are such that only those attorneys and judges who are actively engaged in death penalty appellate litigation can be expected to fully comprehend their true significance.

Prosecutors glibly assure voters that Prop 66 is a safe means to speed up the appeal process. Former DC public defender Stephen Cooper, on the other hand, describes Prop 66 as a "dubious," "arbitrary" and "macabre" proposal to turbo-charge "California's 'machinery of death'" --- a measure whose "cataclysmically-bad provisions" increase the ability of overzealous prosecutors to literally bury their mistakes...

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




Court cites State promise to make free IDs available without restriction, opponents remain dubious, concerned about disenfranchisement...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/29/2016 10:35am PT  

Despite being found a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act by multiple federal courts reviewing several challenges to Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting restriction, the law will stay in place this November, as per a new federal court ruling issued Friday. The court's reasoning is based on an assurance by the state that free Photo IDs will be made more readily available and easier to obtain than they have been in the past.

Late last week, by way of a unanimous decision [PDF], the full U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal denied competing appeals and cross appeals filed in the two cases challenging Wisconsin's restrictive voting law.

Earlier this month, the plaintiffs in these two cases, Frank v. Walker and One Wisconsin Institute v.Thompsen, sought emergency relief from the full 7th Circuit because it appeared, based on a decision by a conservative three-judge 7th Circuit panel, that nearly ten percent of Wisconsin's electorate was at risk of disenfranchisement via the Republican-enacted statute.

However, as the full court noted in its Friday decision, subsequent to the filing of those emergency petitions, the state of Wisconsin assured the court that it "has enacted a rule that requires the Division of Motor Vehicles ('DMV') to mail automatically a free photo ID to anyone who comes to DMV one time and initiates the free ID process." The court added:

Given the State's representation that "initiation" of the IDPP [Wisconsin's process for obtaining a free photo ID] means only that the voter must show up at a DMV with as much as he or she has, and that the State will not refuse to recognize the "initiation" of the process because a birth certificate, proof of citizenship, Social Security card, or other particular document is missing, we conclude that the urgency needed to justify an initial en banc hearing has not been shown. Our conclusion depends also on the State’s compliance with the district court’s second criterion, namely, that the State adequately inform the general public that those who enter the IDPP will promptly receive a credential for voting, unless it is plain that they are not qualified.

The ruling did not sit well with ACLU senior staff attorney Sean Young, who, pointing to Wisconsin's failed record over the past five years to "get IDs into the hands of voters who need them," said "there's no reason to believe that the state's latest eleventh-hour 'emergency' procedures will work any better than its past failed policies"...

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Stephen Bannon doubles-down after revelations, joins long list of prominent Repubs flouting laws designed to prevent voter fraud...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/28/2016 1:05pm PT  

In an epic rant on Friday's BradCast, Brad Friedman eviscerated the hypocrisy revealed, once again, by the apparent voter registration fraud of Donald Trump's newly appointed top campaign boss.

Following the show, and the The Guardian's initial revelations of Stephen Bannon's improprieties, the former chairman of the Alt-right Breitbart "News" site has seemingly doubled-down by re-registering at a different residence in the Sunshine State, one at which he also does not seem to actually reside, according to the paper.

Stephen Bannon, recently appointed as chief executive of the Donald Trump 2016 Presidential campaign, has become the latest addition to a significant and seemingly ever-growing list of high level Republicans who appear to have committed false residency voter registration fraud, as initially reported by The Guardian's on Friday. It is a form of voter fraud that cannot be prevented by polling place photo ID restrictions long sought by Republicans claiming to be concerned with fraud at the polls.

The Guardian first reported that, during two separate periods, Bannon, who currently resides in California, works primarily in Washington DC and New York and also stays at the "'Breitbart embassy,' a luxurious $2.4 million townhouse beside the Supreme Court in Washington DC ", registered to vote in Miami-Dade County, Florida by falsely claiming that he resided in homes he'd rented for his ex-wife, Diane Clohesy. The second home where Bannon was registered from 2014 until two weeks ago was "vacant and due to be demolished to make way for a new development."

Under Florida law, an individual must actually live in the county where he or she is registered to vote. "Willfully submitting false information on a Florida voter registration, is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison," The Guardian noted, citing Sunshine State elections code.

Those pesky laws --- even amidst wholly disingenuous and easily-disproven GOP claims of a "voter fraud epidemic" amongst Democratic voters --- haven't kept either Bannon or a host of other well-known Republicans from flaunting them...at least until getting caught...

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




UPDATE: SCOTUS denies Michigan's request to overturn stay blocking its elimination of 'straight ticket' voting...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/19/2016 10:05am PT  

This week, in yet another setback for GOP voter suppression efforts, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a District Court preliminary injunction that prevented Michigan Republicans from eliminating "straight-party" voting in the Great Lake State. It did so because it found that the plaintiffs in Michigan State Randolph Inst. v. Johnson would likely prevail in their contention that the MI GOP's elimination of straight-party voting violated both the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

"Straight-party voting," the appellate panel explained, "allows a voter to vote for all candidates of their desired political party by making a single mark designating the selection of that political party, rather than voting for each partisan candidate individually."

The court does not suggest that all states must make it available. In fact, many states have never made that form of voting available to their respective electorates. But, the court observed, "straight-party voting has...been available to Michigan citizens for an uninterrupted period of 125 years" --- from 1891 - 2016.

Straight-party voting in Michigan is so popular that voters twice rejected efforts to eliminate it via the referendum process --- first in 1964 and again in 2001. And while, overall, half of the MI electorate takes advantage of the straight-ticket option, this swift and efficient alternative to selecting individual candidates from a long-list of offices on a ballot has been disproportionately relied upon by African-Americans ("67% in 2012, and 73.5% in 2014"), the 6th Circuit panel observed.

However, with their own ability to retain power at stake in 2016 --- especially after the scandalous poisoning of Flint's drinking water --- Michigan Republicans were not inclined to permit either efficiency or popularity to stand in the way...

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




By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2016 8:12am PT  

North Carolina has now filed a last gasp attempt with the U.S. Supreme Court to keep a racially discriminatory voter suppression law in place for the November general election. The state's Hail Mary --- or, perhaps, Hail Justice Roberts --- emergency petition is unlikely to succeed.

As we reported late last month, in a sweeping victory for voting rights on July 29, a unanimous panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down North Carolina's massive voter suppression law --- described as the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era. In a stinging rebuke, the court found the statute's provisions were enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

On August 4, that same 4th Circuit panel summarily denied NC's request for a stay of the injunction placed on the discriminatory law enacted by state Republicans in 2013 just after the U.S. Supreme Court had gutted the section of the federal Voting Rights Act that likely would have blocked most of the statute's provisions from ever being implemented in the first place.

In their rejected request for a stay at the 4th Circuit, NC relied primarily on the "Purcell principle" --- the Supreme Court's recently-adopted general notion that changes to election laws, for good or ill, should not be ordered too close to an election due to the risk of chaos and uncertainty the late changes might cause at the polls. NC's claim that there was insufficient time to implement the change mandated by the court's injunction was inconsistent with the assurance state officials provided during oral argument that they "would be able to comply with any order [the 4th Circuit panel] issued by late July." In citing that previous assurance, the 4th Circuit also noted: "the balance of equities heavily weighs against recalling the mandate or granting a stay. Voters disenfranchised by a law enacted with discriminatory intent suffer irreparable harm far greater than any potential harm to the State."

This past Monday, August 15 --- some seventeen (17) days after the 4th Circuit handed down its landmark decision striking down the state's law --- the state filed an Emergency Application to stay the injunction with the U.S. Supreme Court. In a pleading drafted by Paul Clement, who served as the U.S. Solicitor General during the Bush administration, the stay was requested on the basis of the (previously rejected) Purcell principle and because "the 4th Circuit's decision," according to Clement, "renders every [photo ID law in the nation] vulnerable to invalidation as purposefully discriminatory."

Emergency petitions from North Carolina are assigned to Chief Justice John Roberts. However, it is likely that Roberts will assign it to the full Court, where the votes of five (5) of the court's eight current Justices would be needed to grant the stay. As explained by U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen, it is "unlikely" that NC will convince five Justices to do so...

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Action sought as partisan court panel rolls back remedy meant to restore voting rights to nearly 10% of WI electorate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/12/2016 1:51pm PT  

The plaintiffs in One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, one of several long-running court challenges to Wisconsin Republicans' strict Photo ID voting restriction, have filed an emergency petition with the full en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal, asking that it overturn its previous photo ID decision in Frank v. Walker.

The still pending Frank case as well as the One Wisconsin challenge have, to say the least, undergone a circuitous recent history in a number of federal courts that oversee Badger State election law.

In April 2014, after a lengthy trial, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman struck down and permanently enjoined Wisconsin's photo ID law after finding it in violation of both the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Republicans in control of the state naturally appealed that detailed and blistering ruling. The federal appeal was assigned to an all-Republican three-judge 7th Circuit panel, headed by Judge Frank H. Easterbrook. Easterbrook is a member of the radical right wing Robert Bork-founded, Koch Brothers-funded "Federalist Society". The ensuing decision to reinstate Wisconsin's photo ID law, despite Adelman's meticulous ruling in the lower court, was so extraordinarily partisan, factually deficient, riddled with errors and legally flawed that it prompted the ordinarily staid U.C. Irvine election law Prof. Rick Hasen to tweet: "I rarely just rant in my blog posts. But Judge Easterbrook caused me to blow a gasket."

Other members of the 7th Circuit were so troubled by Easterbrook's flawed opinion that they took the unusual move of granting a rehearing en banc on their own motion. Because of prior refusals by Congressional Republicans to fill a vacancy on the 7th Circuit with an Obama nominee, at that time of the court's motion there were only ten (10) jurists serving on the full 7th Circuit --- as opposed to the allotted eleven (11) judges. The ensuing 5-5 en banc ruling --- now referred to as Frank I --- left Easterbrook's horribly flawed ruling in place, effectively disenfranchising nearly 10% of Wisconsin's electorate who did not possess or have easy access to the very specific types of Photo ID now required by state Republicans to cast a vote. .

Last April, however, after a disastrous Presidential primary in Wisconsin, where, most visibly, student voters were forced into hours long lines on Election Day in hopes of obtaining a state approved photo ID that would allow them to vote under the GOP law, the Easterbrook panel handed down a decision that appeared designed to ameliorate the widespread disenfranchisement. The ruling --- now referred to as Frank II --- suggested that disenfranchised voters who lack the ability "to obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort" should be permitted to cast a regular ballot nonetheless.

On July 19, 2016, in what was thought to be compliant with the Frank II directive, the District Court issued a remedial injunction that mandated Wisconsin afford the right to cast a regular ballot to "those who cannot with reasonable effort obtain a qualifying ID", so long as they signed an affidavit to that effect at the polling place. Many, like The Nation's Ari Berman, celebrated, believing that the voting rights of Wisconsin's disenfranchised electorate had finally been restored.

That celebration, it now appears, proved both premature and an underestimate of the level partisan duplicity on the part of the three "radicals in robes" on the Easterbrook 7th Circuit panel...

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While distasteful for many, Clinton may represent progressives best path forward, at least in swing states...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/8/2016 11:28am PT  

After agreeing to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Veterans for Bernie organization over the past year or so, I have refrained from writing articles about the Presidential primaries here at The BRAD BLOG, so as to avoid any potential conflicts of interest for the site. With that disclosure out of the way, those primaries now behind us, and the general election just months away, it seems an appropriate moment to ring in with some personal thoughts, which may or may not be shared by Brad and the site itself, on the dilemma now facing many long-time Bernie Sanders supporters, including myself.

The Sanders-led "political revolution" has arrived at a political crossroad.

Progressive supporters of Sanders cannot go back. The U.S. isn't Austria. There will be no do-over of the Democratic Presidential primaries.

The road to the extreme right (Donald Trump) is unthinkable. It entails the very real and ominous prospect of the very thing so many fought and died to prevent during World War II --- a fascist America. In turn, unabashed Sanders supporters, such as myself, are left with a limited number of options as we struggle with the difficult choice of how to move forward at the ballot box this November in the Presidential race.

Petulantly standing in place (not voting) is akin to the child who takes his football and goes home because the others wouldn't let him play quarterback. It is not a viable option. A boycott of the voting booth by progressives would serve only to reinforce the goal of GOP voter suppression. It would also betray a core tenet of the Sanders-led political revolution --- genuine (small "d") democratic accountability that can only be accomplished via participatory democracy. "I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process," Sanders wrote in a newly published Los Angeles Times op-ed over the weekend, drawing stark contrasts between both the two major political parties and their 2016 nominees, "but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything."

While some may mistake it as progressive, the Libertarian Party ticket, headed by Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, New Mexico's former Republican Governor, does not offer a progressive alternative. To the contrary, libertarianism amounts to an oblique path that is nearly as right-leaning as the now Trump-led GOP.

As I explained in 2010, in "Rand Paul exposes Libertarian Blind Spots", libertarian philosophy focuses exclusively on individual liberty vis-a-vis the government. Many of its proponents fail to appreciate the threat to individual liberty posed by "the tyranny of a corporate controlled economy." Indeed they equate corporate liberties with the liberties of individual human beings. It was that twisted reasoning that led to the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision. Individual liberty without social responsibility, as many supporters of the Libertarian platform ultimately espouse, knowingly or otherwise, is destructive of community, an equitable economy and the environment. In 1980, David Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers, became the Libertarian Party VP candidate. That selection alone speaks volumes about the party's core values.

With those options out of the way, we are left with either turning to the left --- where one can find a far more progressive platform than that offered by the Democrats, with the Green Party's nominee for President, Dr. Jill Stein --- or, moving directly forward with the now Sanders-endorsed Democratic Party Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, a candidate who openly embraced an extraordinarily progressive Democratic Party Platform and many, but not all, of the core goals of the Sanders-led revolution during her DNC Acceptance Speech.

The path that thoughtful progressives choose should be guided by both their understanding of the scope of the Sanders-led political revolution and the wisdom behind Otto von Bismarck's astute observation that "politics is the art of the possible"...

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




Gov. McCrory ignores previous promise, vows appeal to SCOTUS...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/6/2016 3:59pm PT  

As we reported late last month, in a sweeping victory for voting rights on July 29, a unanimous panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down North Carolina's massive voter suppression law --- the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era. In a stinging rebuke, the court found the statute's provisions were enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

Days later, on August 3, as anticipated, North Carolina filed a Motion with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal seeking a stay of the court's injunction that bars enforcement of its "omnibus" election law, pending a petition for a writ of certiorari (essentially, a request for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court). The principal basis for NC's request was based upon what is known as the "Purcell principle" --- the Supreme Court's recently-adopted general notion that changes in election laws, for good or ill, should not be ordered too close to an election due to the risk of chaos and uncertainty the late changes may cause at the polls.

The next day, on August 4, the same unanimous 4th Circuit panel summarily denied the NC's request for a stay, noting that, during oral arguments "the State assured us it would be able to comply with any order we issued by late July." Indeed, a stay, the 3-judge panel noted, would actually violate the Purcell principle because the "State has already notified its voters that it will not ask them to show ID [when voting at the polling place] and that early voting will begin on October 20."

"Finally," the 4th Circuit panel observed, "the balance of equities heavily weighs against recalling the mandate or granting a stay. Voters disenfranchised by a law enacted with discriminatory intent suffer irreparable harm far greater than any potential harm to the State."

On Friday, August 5, North Carolina’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory refused to take "no" for an answer, pretended his state never gave the court its assurances about timing, as cited by the 4th Circuit, and vowed to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Changing our state's election laws close to the upcoming election, including common sense voter ID, will create confusion for voters and poll workers," McCrory explained in a statement. "The court should have stayed their ruling, which is legally flawed, factually wrong, and disparaging to our state. Therefore, by early next week, we will be asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling of the Court of Appeals."

Prior to the 4th Circuit's denial of the stay request, U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen opined that NC's Supreme Court cert petition was likely to be denied because of "the changing composition of the Supreme Court" following the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. At that point, Hasen had rated "the chances of emergency relief only fair, because there is enough time to implement most of these changes before the election." (Emphasis added).

Given the rationale advanced by the 4th Circuit's denial order that included the state's own concession during oral arguments that it had time to comply with any order issued before the end of July, it is perhaps prudent to downgrade North Carolina's chances of obtaining a Supreme Court stay from "only fair" to "unlikely".




Terms allow those without photo ID to cast regular ballots, requires state to spend $2.5M on voter education...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/5/2016 10:29am PT  

This November, Texas voters previously disenfranchised by way of GOP state lawmaker's illicit voter suppression scheme will have the opportunity to deliver payback at the polls.

After a series of elections in which some 608,000 disproportionately African-American and Hispanic lawfully registered Texas voters saw their right to vote imperiled by newly draconian polling place photo ID restrictions, the parties to Veasey v. Abbott, the landmark challenge to Texas' strict polling place photo ID voting law, have agreed upon terms to allow all legal voters to cast their ballots. This week, following a series of crushing court defeats for Texas Republicans, the parties finally submitted a Joint Submission of Agreed Terms for the federal District Court's approval. The terms, a result of rulings by one of the most conservative appellate courts in the nation, contain a fourteen point list of remedial actions that should go a long way towards relieving the damage to democracy wrought by the Lone Star State GOP's illegal voter suppression scheme.

As U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen reminds us, this agreement does not necessarily amount to a total capitulation on the part of Texas Republicans. By entering this stipulation, the state waives its right to appeal the agreed upon remedy. But there's still time for them --- banking on a Donald Trump victory in November --- to launch a Hail Mary effort to have the Supreme Court review the very conservative 5th Circuit's decision, which upheld the U.S. District Court's finding that SB14, the voting restriction by state Republicans, opposed for nearly a decade by state Democrats and voting rights advocates alike, violates the provisions of Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.

The agreed-upon remedies include a much broader and far more reasonable set of potential IDs that voters may use at the polling place when voting, along with the signing of a "reasonable impediment declaration" as to why they cannot obtain a photo ID. Voters who comply with these procedures are entitled to cast regular ballots --- as opposed to provisional ballots which are more easily not included in official tallies. Importantly, the reasons for signing such a declaration "shall not be questioned" by either poll workers or poll watchers, according to the terms of the agreement.

Specifically, the parties agreed on an order containing the following points [emphasis added]...

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




Major wins for voting rights advocates in NC, WI, elsewhere could be reversed by the next appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court
UPDATES: U.S. District Court blocks implementation of ND Photo ID Law; NC Republicans Seeks Stay pending petition to Supreme Court
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/2/2016 11:11am PT  

The good news is that over the past week two federal courts struck down multiple provisions of GOP-enacted voter suppression laws in Wisconsin and North Carolina. The cautionary news is that the rejection of 21st century Jim Crow-style disenfranchisement at the polls, and, indeed, the fate of democracy itself, may well now hinge on the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

The prospect of a Donald Trump presidency does not merely, as suggested on a recent BradCast by The Nation's John Nichols, portend a descent into fascism and "madness." A Trump victory would permit Republican-appointed Supreme Court "radicals in robes" and their anti-democracy agenda to recapture the majority status they lost last February with the passing of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Consider the long term impact of a Trump-selected Supreme Court Justice. A quarter century has passed since the late Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA), during the 1991 Clarence Thomas Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings, observed:

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

In the first voting rights case to see a ruling come down last Friday, North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, the good news is that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down as unconstitutional a comprehensive GOP voter suppression scheme that the court determined had been deliberately designed to have a retrogressive impact on the right of African-Americans to participate in electoral democracy. The state Republican legislature's scheme, the court held, was specifically designed to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

The bad news, however, is that over the past three years --- a period that included the 2014 midterm election and this year's primary elections --- this unconstitutional scheme was the law of the land in North Carolina only because a cabal of five Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices gutted a key provision (Section 5) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section required pre-clearance from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a three-judge U.S. District Court panel before election restrictions of the type enacted by NC could have implemented. In arriving at their decision, the 4th Circuit judges rejected as "clearly erroneous" the factual findings of a George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Court Judge who had previously upheld this racially motivated scheme's constitutionality.

In the second case last week, One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, the good news is that U.S. District Court Judge James D. Peterson, after a full trial on the merits, struck down as unconstitutional eight (8) specific aspects of eight (8) election laws that were enacted after the election of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker and Republican majorities in both houses of its state legislature. The bad news is that a previous decision handed down by Republican appointed "radicals in robes" on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal --- a decision that became final after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case --- prevented Judge Peterson from reevaluating the constitutionality of a strict polling place photo ID law in WI even though his honor acknowledged that, in seeking to remedy the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, Republicans had created "a cure worse than the disease."

The importance of the next Supreme Court Justice was underscored by Judge Peterson's suggestion that both the 7th Circuit and the Supreme Court should revisit the issue given that "the evidence in this case casts doubt on the notion that [photo] ID laws foster integrity and confidence" in the electoral process...

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




Mere possibility that Vote-By-Mail tally could have been manipulated ruled enough to overturn election results...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/11/2016 12:12pm PT  

Erik Kirschbaum of the Los Angeles Times appears to be deeply troubled. According to last May's official count, Austria Green Party presidential candidate Alexander van der Bellen defeated Norbert Hofer of Austria's far-right "Freedom Party" by 30,863 votes. Now, as the result of what Kirschbaum describes as "irregularities in the counting of absentee ballots," Austria's Constitutional Court has ordered a second, nationwide election for the largely ceremonial post.

From a political perspective, Kirshbaum's concerns are understandable. After all, we are talking about providing a second opportunity for a presidential candidate whose "Freedom Party" was founded by former Nazis. But, as Brad Friedman has so frequently urged, election integrity is not about Left or Right. It's about right and wrong.

In that light, the July 1, 2016 decision issued by Austria's Constitutional Court represents a major victory for election integrity --- one that elevates what it describes as the fundamental prerequisite of ensuring "transparency in the establishment of the electoral result."

The court ruled that two individuals in each election district --- a chief and an assistant election officer --- must be personally present during the opening and counting of all mail-in ballots. Anything less opens up the prospect of a manipulated count.

Significantly, the party challenging the electoral result does not have to prove a manipulation of the result. If it was possible to manipulate enough ballots to alter the outcome, the official results must be set aside and a new election scheduled.

If applied by the U.S., the reasoning adopted by Austria's Constitutional Court would produce a fundamental and beneficial change in how our own elections are conducted...

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




By Ernest A. Canning on 6/15/2016 12:22pm PT  

Four years ago, The BRAD BLOG suggested that the "horror that played out during the recent midnight massacre inside a Century theater in Aurora, CO [was] but the latest example of the danger posed to our safety and our very lives by the radical right's expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment."

A few years prior, the narrow 5-4 decision authored by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller) marked the first occasion in which a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a state militia.

In an erudite dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens forcefully argued that the Heller majority had ignored text, history and precedent. We noted that the ruling appeared to elevate "the profits of the domestic small arms industry above the ability of the government to protect our safety, our general welfare, our domestic tranquility and our very lives." More recently, with Orlando on his mind, The Nation's William Greider went so far as to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts (a member of the Heller majority) "has blood on his hands."

Several factors --- Scalia's death, a 9th Circuit en banc decision which upheld the ability of local governments to deny concealed weapons permits absent extraordinary need, and the public's increasing revulsion in the face of escalating carnage --- suggest that we may be nearing the end to the high cost extracted by the Court's willful misinterpretation of the Second Amendment in the landmark Heller decision...

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




Some state Democrats back 'compromise' legislation that leaves otherwise legally registered voters at risk of disenfranchisement...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/17/2016 8:48am PT  

Missouri Republicans hope to work around a series of adverse state court rulings by way of a ballot measure that would amend the Show-Me State Constitution and require that citizens present state-approved Photo ID at the polls before voting.

The legislation to place the issue on the ballot was approved by the state Senate 24-8 last Wednesday. The next day it was adopted in the House 110-39. The wide margin in both chambers, likely enough to override a veto by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, was the product of a purported "compromise" that would permit voters who can't obtain the necessary documentation to sign an affidavit to that effect and cast an otherwise normal ballot. The "compromise" language was struck after days of filibusters in the state Senate by Democrats.

But Republican State Senator Bill Kraus told PBS that the stipulation would be temporary and that Missouri could have "strict Photo ID" in the near future, once the state constitution has been amended to allow for it. It wouldn't be the first "Missouri Compromise" to go awry...

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




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