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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, April 21, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...

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

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

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

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

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

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

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2011 7:52am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Yesterday, The Post & Courier of Charleston, South Carolina reported that a local "Council of Governments [COG] approved a resolution...asking for the state to audit how its voting machines are working."

The "machines" are the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.

The Post & Courier not only mentions the fact that state election officials insist that the "iVotronic machines reliably tally votes," but buys into the canard that "increased skepticism" is based upon [emphasis added] "human errors made during last year's elections." It adds that the COG resolution expressed "a concern [that the] voting machines...do not incorporate a 'paper trail' that could facilitate unequivocal confirmation of election results."

If there is any state in the nation that should realize that casting a vote on the ES&S iVotronic amounts to an exercise in blind-faith, with or without a so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT), it would be South Carolina...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/16/2011 11:16am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Controversial Wisconsin state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has a new special investigator looking into allegations of assault made against him by another sitting Supreme Court Justice.

At the request of Dane County Circuit Judge William Faust, Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett (R) agreed to serve as a special prosecutor regarding the physical assault and battery allegations made by WI Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. Bradley claims that Prosser placed her in a "chokehold" during a contentious argument about the overturning of a lower court ruling on Gov. Scott Walker's controversial and hastily enacted union-busting legislation. The lower court found that it was passed in violation of the state's open meeting law and is therefore null and void. Prosser and his 3 colleagues on the bench who enjoy a 4 to 3 Right-leaning majority on the state's high court, eventually overturned the lower court's ruling. Bradley was in the minority.

According to Tim McCumber, the head of the Sauk County GOP, Barrett is essentially an independent who ran for DA in 1994 as a Republican to get onto the ballot in a GOP-dominated county. Barrett, who is 62 and plans to retire in the fall of 2012, stated that she does not see either the sheriff's or prosecutor's jobs as a partisan one.

Justice Bradley's allegations are also the subject of of an internal investigation by the WI Judicial Commission.

The key question is whether Barrett and the WI Judicial Commission can proceed in their investigations on the basis of the facts and the law? What is at stake is not simply a possible Class A Misdemeanor Battery charge against a sitting Supreme Court Justice. The very survival of the rule of law in the Badger state is spotlighted here. All if this happens with a backdrop of a billionaire-funded, partisan onslaught on fundamental fairness and democracy, not only as it pertains to the electoral process, but in how the state's executive, legislative and judicial branches of government function...

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(Unless you don't read The BRAD BLOG)
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/15/2011 7:00am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Neither the recent claim made by anonymous hacker, Abhaxas, that he/she had hacked into Florida's e-voting database nor the efforts by FL election officials to minimize the breach of its system comes as a surprise to The BRAD BLOG.

In fact, minimization of the vulnerability following the reported hack calls to mind what Roger G. Johnston, Ph.D of the Argonne National Laboratory describes as the Arrogance Maxim:

The ease of defeating a security device or system is proportional to how confident/arrogant the designer, manufacturer, or user is about it, and to how often they use words like "impossible" or "tamper-proof".

One would think that Abhaxas had Johnson's Arrogance Maxim in mind. As reported by Doug Chapin of the University of MN, the anonymous hacktivist responded to the official denials by hacking into the FL voting system a second time; posting "a directory listing of the Florida database with the (sarcastic) observation 'Glad you cleaned up, pretty secure now guys'."

As an encore, Abhaxas then hacked into Montana's government website, where he/she exposed 16 databases.

While Chapin acknowledges the vulnerability exposed by the hack, once again, as is his habit over the years, Chapin draws the entirely wrong lessons in pointing to the need for better training and security procedures...

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

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

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

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

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Panama, Columbia, South Korea next in line for American jobs...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/5/2011 12:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Earlier today, Brad Friedman reported that, despite high unemployment and food stamp usage at an all-time record high, U.S. corporations were experiencing record profits.

Simultaneously, Los Angeles Times reported that Senate leaders have reached an accord to pass three more NAFTA-like "free trade" agreements (Panama, Colombia, and South Korea) when Congress returns from its August recess. The Times stated: "Proponents [e.g., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce] say the trade agreements...will pump as much as $14 billion into the U.S. economy and add more than 250,000 jobs."

The reality was better captured by Ross Perot during a 1992 Presidential Debate when he warned (video reminder below) that NAFTA would produce "a giant sucking sound of jobs headed South"...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 7/29/2011 4:17pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Anti-war sentiments today are strikingly similar to what they had been in March 1968 when Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) challenged fellow Democrat and incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. In March 1968 only 41% of Americans said "no" when asked whether we made a mistake in sending troops to Vietnam. Today six out of every ten Americans surveyed (70% of Democrats) favor an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. Another 59% oppose our involvement in Libya.

While opposition to war is similar, the "democracy deficit" --- what Prof. Noam Chomsky refers to in Failed States as the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their elected representatives --- is much wider today than it had been in 1968.

Medicare, the centerpiece of President Johnson's Great Society, like Social Security, the centerpiece of FDR's New Deal, remains immensely popular with the American people. As revealed by a recent Washington Post poll, 78% of Americans oppose cutting Medicare. 72% favor raising taxes on incomes over $250,000 and only 17% oppose raising taxes on those making more than $250,000.

Yet, the political elites of both major parties, operating, as they did during the Wall Street bailout of 2008, under a contrived crisis mode, are advancing alternative deficit reduction proposals that will, in the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (see video below) "do just the opposite of what the American people want."

While third parties are an option, today we sorely need an option that was available in 1968: a Eugene McCarthy...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/29/2011 12:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Sunday, Los Angeles Times added the name Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to a very long list of wealthy hypocrites who scream "socialism" all the way to the bank.

Bachmann, like most members of the Plutocrat (aka Republican) Party, rails against what she describes as "entitlements" (Social Security, Medicare and just about any other program designed to promote the general welfare of the American people – in her case even going so far as to label the 9/11 Responders bill as a "new entitlement program"). Yet, as the Times revealed, Bachmann not only voted against ending such "corporate entitlements" as subsidies for the oil and gas industry, but personally benefited from some $260,000 in federal taxpayer subsidies paid to her family farm and another $30,000 state subsidy to her husband's counseling clinic, part of which included monies from the federal government.

While Bachmann denied directly benefiting from either subsidy --- she went so far as to say "my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm" --- her financial disclosure form reveals that she received income from the farm during the same period the farm received federal subsidies. Her claim that the clinic's public subsidies went to train its employees rather than her pocketbook provides a typical form of plutocratic denial that fails to acknowledge that the use of public funds to educate private sector employees eliminates the need for private employers to expend their own funds for training.

But the Bachmanns are but bit players in the great American corporate welfare scheme...

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Adding to Robert Reich on 'What’s Wrong with the Economy' and what a real jobs initiative would look like...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/27/2011 12:15pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

"In a time of universal deceit --- telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

Ah, the 2012 election cycle is fast approaching. The Plutocrat (aka 'Republican') Party is in the process of garnering funds from far-right billionaires like the Koch brothers in order to present their usual "jobs, jobs, jobs" propaganda.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs" will come to us not only by way of paid-for political ads, but by way of corporate MSM "coverage" which will conveniently neglect to mention that the GOP-controlled House has not offered a single bill that would create a single job, or that the 2010 GOP "victories" have merely produced an all out assault on the middle-class including an effort to eliminate Medicare, an assault on the fundamental right to engage in collective bargaining, and drastic cuts in programs designed to protect the health, safety and economic well being of the vast majority of the American people at the same time they tirelessly strive to protect subsidies for the oil cartel and tax breaks for billionaires.

Against this backdrop, Robert Reich has come up with this two minute, fifteen second explanation of "What’s Wrong with the Economy..."

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

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

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

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

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

Want to know why?...

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Charlie White's desperate legal maneuver to keep his job...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/19/2011 9:59pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Having failed to prevent Tuesday's scheduled hearing before the Indiana Recount Commission on a Democratic Party complaint that he was illegally registered to vote at the time he declared his candidacy and thus, ineligible to have been elected as Indiana's Sec. of State, Charlie White has filed a motion [PDF] to compel a grant of 'use immunity' in exchange for his and his wife's testimony before the commission.

Separately, White is facing seven felony counts, including three for voter fraud related to his having been registered to vote at a house where he did not live, while serving as a member of a town council in a town where he also didn't live. Trial in that criminal case is scheduled to commence on Aug. 8. The two special prosecutors assigned to the case have declined to provide the Whites with use immunity --- with good reason. They no doubt want to avoid what happened to the Iran/Contra independent counsel when, for example, an appellate court ruled in United States vs. Col. Oliver North that a grant of use immunity to North shifted the burden to the independent prosecutor to "demonstrate an independent source for each item of evidence or testimony."

Granting use immunity to White would make the job of the prosecutors in the criminal case that much more difficult.

White need not testify to the Recount Commission, where he is entitled to invoke the 5th Amendment. He and his wife are attempting to present testimony, however. Granting use immunity for that testimony (which is not likely needed in order to show that he had not been lawfully registered to vote at the time he declared his candidacy) would likely undercut his felony trial. That may well be White's interest in providing such testimony and seeking a grant of use immunity before the commission.

[UPDATED: Late Friday, the IN Supreme Court denied White's motion to stay the Recount Commission hearing pending the outcome of the criminal case. Early today, a Marion County Circuit Court judge denied White's motion to compel a grant of use immunity. Since anything the Whites say could be used against the couple in the criminal case, it is likely that both will invoke their 5th Amendment privilege if called to testify before the Commission tomorrow.]

White is one of several very high-profile Republicans recently facing allegations of voter fraud, though the only one currently facing criminal indictment...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/17/2011 1:44pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On his Tuesday radio show, syndicated over the public airwaves on some 200 stations, Rightwing talk show host Neal Boortz said:

This town [Atlanta] is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are - you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city.

His entire rant, appearing to encourage the vigilante murder of unnamed "thugs" across the major Atlanta metropolitan area, can be heard below.

The question now is: Did Boortz incite murder over our public airwaves and should he be prosecuted for it? Moreover, will complaints be filed by the public at the FCC's website (hit the "Take Action" button there, if you'd like to file your own complaint), demanding an investigation and prosecution for the potential crime and/or sanctions against the affiliate stations who broadcast it to the public?...

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Massive irregularities, e-voting vulnerabilities wholly ignored by corporate media throughout contentious, landmark contest...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/6/2011 5:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

For nearly two months, The BRAD BLOG has furnished in-depth coverage and analysis of the contentious WI Supreme Court election. Our coverage not only focused on the horse race, but, more vitally, on the vulnerabilities of the Badger State's e-voting systems, its lack of transparency, massive violations of basic chain-of-custody procedures revealed during the woeful, nearly-month long "recount" process, concluding with the state Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.)'s certification of the election results as "accurate" despite all of the above, and despite never having received the minutes of the Waukesha County "recount," as mandated by state law.

Beginning with our April 6 article, "WI Supreme Court Election Virtually Deadlocked, According to the Machines Anyway," and ending with the May 31 coverage of WI Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg's description of a "cascade of irregularities" during her concession speech, followed by Brad Friedman's exclusive June 1 interview with Kloppenburg on KPFK, we've offered an extensive and independently verifiable historical record of the extraordinary and exploitable flaws discovered and exposed in the state's electoral system.

Unfortunately, as has repeatedly occurred with thousands of election integrity articles published by The BRAD BLOG over the past seven and a half years, the issues concerning lack of transparency, the potential for insider election fraud, and a reliance upon "faith-based" electoral results, with rare, against-the-grain exceptions, have been greeted by a silence within our hollowed-out, corporate-owned mainstream media that has been so deafening as to call to mind an Orwellian suppression of public consciousness.

"If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say...it never happened," penned George Orwell in his classic 1984, "that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death."...

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Vetoed in MN while significant legal challenges likely elsewhere...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/30/2011 2:21pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Republicans in state after state across the country today, Memorial Day 2011, are remembering those who fought and died to protect our democracy by celebrating recent victories in their renewed effort to remove the right to vote for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of legal American voters.

It's been just days since we filed "GOP Voter Suppression Shifts Into High Gear in State After State as 'Tea Party' Shell Game Exposed" on May 23, detailing new GOP-passed polling place Photo ID restrictions in states like SC and FL, but since then we can report that Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a bill legalizing polling place photo ID restrictions in TX and Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a photo ID restriction bill in WI.

Both of them, as opponents have documented over and over again, will serve to do little more than to disenfranchise far more legal (largely Democratic-leaning) voters than those who will be kept from fraudulently impersonating other voters at the polling place, which, as even most proponents admit when forced, happens almost never --- if it all.

Thankfully in at least one instance since our last report, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) of MN vetoed a photo ID measure passed by Republicans in his state. So there is one case, at least, where the memories of our fallen soldiers might be appropriately honored this weekend, as one governor has remembered to protect the very thing that so many of them died for.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enactment of Indiana's photo ID law in Crawford vs. Marion County Election Bd. (2008), both the new WI photo ID law, which may cost WI taxpayers $7 million to implement, and both the SC and TX photo ID laws, which do not even recognize student photo IDs, may be subject to significant legal challenges...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2011 6:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I don’t want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, said while addressing a right-wing Christian audience in 1980. "[O]ur leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added after he denigrated those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation as people who suffer from the "goo goo syndrome."

Voter suppression has long been a staple of American politics, but the tsunami of new restrictions on the polling place now being rammed through by newly-elected Republican majorities in state after state is unprecedented, certainly since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have been ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While most Americans may think of the poll tax and literacy tests as forms of voter suppression associated the Jim Crow South, the confirmation hearings of the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist included sworn testimony from former U.S. Attorney James Brosnahan and others reflecting that, as an early 60's GOP activist, Renquist intimidated African-American and Hispanic voters in AZ by challenging their ability to read.

1965's Voting Rights Act outlawed both the poll tax and literacy tests. In more recent times, pursuant to a 1987 federal court consent decree, and a subsequent provision of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, another GOP suppression tactic, "caging lists," was banned, though as documented by the BBC's Greg Palast, the Bush administration-led Plutocrats didn't let a little matter like illegality get in the way of their use.

21st Century voter suppression operates under cover. Or it had, until the new wave of legislation being passed by GOP legislatures across the country began hitting its stride. Until FL's then-governor Charlie Crist overturned it, for example, the state banned convicted felons from voting even years after they'd been released from prison. In Armed Madhouse, Palast asserts that prior to the 2000 Presidential election, FL's then Sec. of State Katherine Harris, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of candidate George W. Bush, purged 94,000 "felons" from the state's computerized voter rolls, though the only "crime" at least 91,000 were guilty of was "being Black, Democrat or both."

Over much of the past decade, voter suppression efforts have been bolstered by bogus "voter fraud" claims leveled at groups like ACORN, who aided in the registration of those who might be likely to vote against the GOP (minorities and the working class); "non-partisan" GOP astroturf groups like the phony American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) created after the 2004 election solely to create and spread false propaganda about a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic; laws meant to increase the legal risk to real non-partisan organizations for assisting in registration; draconian polling place "photo ID" restriction laws, and in a reduction of opportunities for early voting.

With the tide of GOP victories at the ballot box last November, those efforts have now been ramped up and are now front and center in some 30 state legislatures across the country...

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